The right to safe water is recognised as a foundation of all other human rights.
Bangladesh has made significant progress regarding universal access to improved water sources, with more than 97 per cent of the population having access in 2013.
But access to safe drinking water is still low at 34.6 per cent.
Between 2000 and 2012, the proportion of the population drinking arsenic-affected water dropped from 26.6 per cent to 12.4 per cent. Yet Bangladesh is still the country with the largest proportion of people exposed to arsenic contamination in the world.
Despite progress, 19.4 million people are still drinking water with a level of arsenic above national health standards.
The presence of manganese, chloride and iron contamination also reduces the quality of drinking water. A third of the water points in Bangladesh has manganese levels above WHO guidelines.
Also, more than 41 per cent of people drink water from sources with faecal contamination. This rises to 61.7 per cent at the point of consumption. In this matter, urban dwellers with limited education are at the highest risk, according to the 2013 MICS survey.
Almost a third of the drinking water used by these urban households has high counts of E.coli bacteria that causes diarrhoea.
This manner of microbial contamination worsens as the water is transported from source to households, confirmed the MICS survey.
Two out of five households, that is 38.3 per cent of the population, in Bangladesh drink water from sources already contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses. But due to poor hygiene practices at households, the number of people drinking water with microbial contamination jumps to 99 million.