Bangladesh national drinking water quality survey 2009
The Bangladesh National Drinking Water Quality Survey (NDWQS) of 2009 was produced as part of the 2009 Multiple Cluster Indication Survey (MICS) and aims to provide disaggregated data at a district level on access to arsenic-safe water.
While most other surveys on the issue have tested water at the source, this survey collected drinking water samples from 15,000 households across Bangladesh and analyzed the results. When arsenic levels are disaggregated by water source, the survey found that 14.4% of shallow tube wells did not meet the Bangladesh national standard for arsenic. The survey also detected arsenic in dug wells, surface water, piped supplies, public taps/standpipes, and springs although only at low levels. Deep tube wells showed an occurrence of 7.5%.
There are an estimated 22 million people in 2009 consuming drinking water which does not meet the Bangladesh national standard for arsenic. Of those, 5.6 million are exposed to more than 0.2 milligrams per litre and are at a very high risk of developing health problems.
Arsenic mitigation requires a holistic approach that includes health, agriculture, water supply and water resource sectors. Strengthening local testing capacity is crucial, although urgent attention still needs to be provided to villages where more than 80% of wells are contaminated with arsenic.