The south-west coastal region of Bangladesh is adversely affected by sea level rise (SLR). To investigate the impacts of SLR on polder-enclosed beel communities, the Beel Dakatia (second largest beel in Bangladesh) region under polder no. 25 is considered as the study area. In the region, six villages named Kalitala, Kalibari, Krishna Nagar, Tolna (south), Baniapukur and Dakatia were surveyed and people's opinion regarding SLR-induced permanent inundation was analyzed. The livelihood parameters are categorized in five social dimensions. Considering present resilience of the people as 100%, the resilience of human, physical, natural, financial and socio-economic capitals are estimated to be reduced by 55%, 53%, 87%, 60% and 64%, respectively against 30.5 cm permanent inundation. For 61 cm permanent inundation, the resilience of people at human, natural, physical, financial and socio-economical dimensions are estimated to be reduced by 72%, 71%, 96%, 73% and 73%, respectively. For the adaptation against 30.5 cm permanent inundation in the area, local people think that they will be able to cope with the adverse effect by applying local adaptation techniques. If 61 cm inundation occurs and the water stands for a long time then they will have to leave the place.

INTRODUCTION

Climate change associated with sea level rise (SLR) is one of the major environmental concerns of today. Climate change is projected to impact tropical countries more negatively than temperate ones. In the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007) the projected rise of sea level from 1990 to 2100 was estimated to be from 9 to 88 cm. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Meteorological Research Centre analyzed sea level changes from 22 years' historical tide data at three tide gauge locations on the coast of Bangladesh. The study revealed that the rate of SLR during last 22 years is many times higher than the mean rate of global SLR over the last 100 years. A study by Ahmed & Alam (1998) mentioned a one-metre change in sea level by the middle of the 21st century; it combines a 90 cm rise in sea level and about a 10 cm local rise due to subsidence. A pilot study of the Department of Environment (DOE 1993) mentioned that the potential future SLR for Bangladesh is 30–50 cm by 2050. An increasing tendency in SLR from west to east along the coast has also been found. Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to SLR, as it is a densely populated coastal country of smooth relief comprising broad and narrow ridges and depressions (Brammer et al. 1993). The World Bank (1998) predicted that a 45 cm rise in sea level may inundate 10–15% of the land by the year 2050 resulting in over 35 million climate refugees from the coastal districts. In another investigation, the World Bank (2000) predicted a 10 cm, 25 cm and 1 m rise in sea level by 2020, 2050 and 2100, affecting 2%, 4% and 17.5% of total land mass, respectively. Milliman et al. (1989; cited in Frihy 2003) reported 1 cm per year SLR in Bangladesh. Agrawala et al. (2003) estimated that climate change could affect more that 70 million people of Bangladesh due to its geographic location, low elevation, high population density, poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and high dependency on natural resources. It is reported that the population living in the coastal area is more vulnerable than the population in other areas. Coastal resources, upon which the majority of people depend, are likely to be affected severely due to climate variability and change (Ahmed 2006).

The main objective of this study was to investigate the impacts of SLR-induced permanent inundation on the livelihood of Beel Dakatia based on local people's perception. The vulnerability of the different livelihood parameters was also estimated and the people's opinion on the local adaptation techniques for the mitigation of the impacts was analyzed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA

Beel Dakatia is the second largest beel (smallest depression in floodplain) in Bangladesh. It stands on the south-west coastal region of Bangladesh with an area of about 17,400 hectares or 174,000,000 square metres under Dumuria, Phultala, and Avaynagar thanas in the coastal districts of Khulna and Jessore. Beel Dakatia includes five unions named Fultola, Gilatola, Raghunathpur, Rangpur and Dhamalia. It lies between longitude 89°29′E and 89°35′E. The elevation of this area is low and topography is almost flat. The surrounding rivers of this area are Solmari, Hamkura and Salta. During high tide, saline water from the sea enters the beel through these rivers, and during the rainy season these rivers are used to drain out the excess rainwater. Figure 1 shows the geographic location of Beel Dakatia in the map of Dumuria Upazila under Khulna District, Bangladesh.
Figure 1

Location of Beel Dakatia.

Figure 1

Location of Beel Dakatia.

Water-logging and inundation in the rainy season is the main factor that affects the livelihood in this area. Based on the people's opinion and survey data, the causes behind the water-logging problem in the study area are identified as: (i) siltation in the nearby river and connecting channel, (ii) lack of maintenance of the sluice gates, and (iii) conflict between fishermen and agro-farmers regarding operation of sluice gates. There are three sluice gates around Beel Dakatia. They are at Salua Bazar, Amvita and Thukla Bazar. Present conditions of the sluice gates are not satisfactory due to lack of maintenance. A large amount of waste has been deposited around and into the drainage canal and river that has blocked the flows through the sluice gates. Water hyacinths have made it their own place to breed. As a result, siltation of the underlying rivers has occurred, causing drainage problems for the three sluice gates. Figure 2 shows the present condition of the sluice gates at upstream and downstream sides. The local people are looking for government intervention regarding the proper maintenance of the gates as well as for dredging the drainage channels for proper discharging of the monsoon water to the river. Awal (2014) reported that riverbed siltation along with the back-water effect due to SLR and high tide has been leading to prolonged water logging in south-west Bangladesh in the last two to three decades.
Figure 2

Condition of sluice gates in the study area (February 2013).

Figure 2

Condition of sluice gates in the study area (February 2013).

Khadim et al. (2013) have addressed the reasons for the southern region to become waterlogged. The Water Master Plan prepared in 1964 introduced a compartmentalized polder or enclosure system in the south-west tidal areas. A total of 37 polders, 1,566 kilometres of coastal embankment and 282 sluice gates were constructed in the coastal area with funding from the United States Agency for International Development to prevent intrusion of saline water from the sea and ‘recover’ more land for cultivation. On completion of the project, paddy production increased, but this was not sustainable. Due to improper management and unplanned establishment of the sluice gates the polder area became affected by water logging, because silt could not be deposited in the tidal plain due to the embankments. Inside the polders, the wetlands subsided due to non-deposition of silt and gradually took the shape of lakes. Thousands of hectares of land have become waterlogged. The embankment decreased the depth and the area of the tidal prism. Salinity of the soil has increased due to capillary action and vast agricultural lands have lost fertility. Many rivers are drying up due to increasing silt on their beds during the dry months, only a very small area of the land can be cultivated since a huge area remains under water. Change to the entrance of the Ganga/Padma river, the death of the Mathavanga river, Farakka embankment, declination of land, unplanned structure development, shrimp cultivation, and loss of drainage capacity of rivers in the region were identified as the main reasons for water logging.

Sara et al. (2013) attempted to review the chronological process of rationalization of the south-west coastal polders based on environmental audit along with national priorities and people's perception. Massive polderization in the region of Bangladesh in the 1960s initially showed intended results through protection of the monsoon crop (Aman) from saline water. However, since the 1960s these polders have become a source of major environmental concern, including increased salinity. Additionally, the polders have caused gradual reductions in the floodplain storage and a rise in channel beds (due to siltation) which, in turn, has resulted in serious water logging. Even with drainage improvement, river training works and tidal river management, the polder did not yield expected results. This is mainly because of the lack of understanding of local hydro-morphological processes, inadequacy in polder operation and maintenance and the absence of community participation in the decision-making processes. On the other hand, the functionality of the polders has been assumed to have changed with time and with the change of external factors (e.g. increase in demand and price for shrimp in the international market). On the contrary, anticipating the increase of future storm surge heights and rise of sea level due to climate change impact, authorities see the need to raise the existing polders as well as to build additional new ones. Ensuring community participation while doing so would result in public acceptance of the decisions.

METHODOLOGY

A questionnaire survey was conducted in six villages of Beel Dakatia region to accumulate the local people's opinion about the effect of SLR-induced inundation on their livelihood, and their local adaptation techniques. To investigate the local people's opinion about their resilience for different livelihood parameters, PRA tools were used. PRA stands for participatory rural appraisal which aims to incorporate the knowledge and opinions of rural people in the planning and management of development projects and programs. Five livelihood capitals named Human Capital, Physical Capital, Natural Capital, Financial Capital, and Social Capital were considered in the PRA process. Here, sub-parameters were chosen based on the recent research of Khan et al. (2010). Table 1 shows the sub-parameters considered for different livelihood parameters. Education and health were considered as sub-parameters of human capital; road networks, housing and access to safe water were considered as sub-parameters of physical capital; water bodies and agricultural land were considered as sub-parameters of natural capital; income was considered as a sub-parameter of financial capital; social security was considered as a sub-parameter of social capital.

Table 1

Livelihood parameters and their sub-parameters (Khan et al. 2010)

Livelihood parameters Sub-parameters 
Human Capital Education and Health 
Physical Capital Road Network, Housing and Safe Water 
Natural Capital Water Bodies and Agricultural Lands 
Financial Capital Income 
Social Capital Social Security, GO and NGO Interventions 
Livelihood parameters Sub-parameters 
Human Capital Education and Health 
Physical Capital Road Network, Housing and Safe Water 
Natural Capital Water Bodies and Agricultural Lands 
Financial Capital Income 
Social Capital Social Security, GO and NGO Interventions 

GO, Governmental organization; NGO, Non-governmental organization.

The questionnaire survey includes two key scenarios: (a) possible future impacts on livelihood parameters if 1 ft (30.5 cm) permanent inundation occurs (Case C1) and (b) possible future impacts if 2 ft (61 cm) permanent inundation occurs in the study area (Case C2). A survey was also conducted to investigate the local people's opinion about the future adaptation techniques for SLR.

The vulnerability of the different livelihood parameters due to permanent inundation of 1 ft (30.5 cm) and 2 ft (61 cm) is estimated using the method suggested by McLaughlin (2001). In this method, three contributing factors, i.e. probability of affecting the selected livelihood parameters due to the hazard, risk that might occur, and preparedness of the local people were considered. The probability, risk and preparedness are also defined with appropriate ratings to obtain vulnerability. Mathematically, 
formula

The probability of affecting the selected livelihood parameters due to 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation scenarios is estimated based on local people's perception and classified into three categories: low, moderate and high. Risk is the potential impact that any given hazard may have on the organization. Issues to consider for risk may include threat to life and/or health, disruption of services, damage/failure possibilities, financial impact and legal issues. In this study, threats to the selected livelihood parameters are classified as: very low, low, moderate, high and severe. A final issue to evaluate in this analysis is the organization's current level of preparedness to manage the SLR impacts. This process involves the opinion of the community agencies. Preparedness of the local people is classified into three categories: poor, fair and good.

As discussed above, the probability, risk and preparedness are defined with appropriate ratings (Probability = 1–3, Risk = 1–5, Preparedness = 1–3). By multiplying the individual ratings for probability, risk and preparedness of different parameters, the vulnerability is classified into three categories based on total score (having a maximum value of 45). For low vulnerability, the rating score is less than 15; for moderate vulnerability the score is 15 to 30 and that for high vulnerability is greater than 30.

The ratings were determined for each sub-parameter and the total values, in descending order, represent the parameters most in need of organization focus and resources for emergency planning.

VULNERABILITY ANALYSIS

Six villages named Kalitala, Kalibari, Krishna Nagar, Tolna (south), Baniapukur and Dakatia under Rangpur, Raghunathpur, Dhamalia, Gilatola and Fultola unions were surveyed to study the impacts of SLR-induced inundation in Beel Dakatia. Percentages of people surveyed at the six villages in Beel Dakatia are presented in Table 2.

Table 2

Percentage of people participating in surveys

Name of the village Union Total population People surveyed No. of families surveyed % of people surveyed 
Kalitala Rangpur 800 88 20 11.00% 
Kalibari Rangpur 1,344 216 54 16.07% 
Krishna Nagar Raghunathpur 1,900 238 51 12.53% 
Tolna Dhamalia 1,200 156 34 13.00% 
Baniapukur Damodar 1,201 135 32 11.24% 
Dakatia Gilatola 1,524 177 44 11.61% 
Total   7,969 1,010 235 12.67% 
Name of the village Union Total population People surveyed No. of families surveyed % of people surveyed 
Kalitala Rangpur 800 88 20 11.00% 
Kalibari Rangpur 1,344 216 54 16.07% 
Krishna Nagar Raghunathpur 1,900 238 51 12.53% 
Tolna Dhamalia 1,200 156 34 13.00% 
Baniapukur Damodar 1,201 135 32 11.24% 
Dakatia Gilatola 1,524 177 44 11.61% 
Total   7,969 1,010 235 12.67% 

Vulnerability of the livelihood parameters

The vulnerability of the different livelihood parameters is determined by using the vulnerability analysis method suggested by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) as reported in McLaughlin (2001). Each of the parameters was analyzed and thus obtained a rating that signifies the level of vulnerability. Table 3 represents the ratings for the probability of affecting the selected livelihood sub-parameters for the surveyed villages. In Table 3, C1 and C2 indicate the 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation cases, respectively. Table 4 shows the calculated ratings for the risks of the hazard on the different livelihood sub-parameters for the surveyed villages. Table 5 illustrates the ratings for the preparedness of the community for the different livelihood sub-parameters against 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation cases.

Table 3

Ratings for the probability of affecting the selected livelihood sub-parameters for the surveyed villages (here C1 and C2 indicate the 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation cases, respectively)

  Ratings for parameters (out of 3, 1 = low, 2 = moderate, 3 = high)
 
Education
 
Health
 
Water Bodies
 
Agricultural Land
 
Road Network
 
Housing
 
Safe Water
 
Income
 
Social Security
 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 1.7 2.2 2.0 2.4 2.9 3.0 2.9 3.0 1.8 1.9 2.3 2.6 2.4 2.5 2.2 2.5 2.3 2.6 
Kalibari 1.8 2.0 1.9 2.2 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.6 2.0 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.3 2.6 2.2 2.7 
Krishna Nagar 1.9 2.3 2.2 2.3 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.1 1.8 1.9 2.6 2.7 2.0 2.3 2.4 2.7 2.4 2.7 
Tolna 1.7 2.1 1.8 2.3 2.5 2.9 2.8 3.0 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.8 2.3 2.7 2.1 2.5 2.5 2.8 
Bania-pukur 1.8 2.0 2.0 2.2 2.5 3.0 2.8 2.9 1.7 2.0 2.3 2.7 2.2 2.5 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.5 
Dakatia 1.7 2.0 1.9 2.3 2.5 2.8 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.1 2.5 2.8 2.4 2.7 2.5 2.8 2.2 2.5 
Avg. Ratings 1.8 2.1 2.0 2.3 2.7 2.9 2.9 3.0 1.7 2.0 2.3 2.7 2.3 2.5 2.4 2.6 2.3 2.6 
  Ratings for parameters (out of 3, 1 = low, 2 = moderate, 3 = high)
 
Education
 
Health
 
Water Bodies
 
Agricultural Land
 
Road Network
 
Housing
 
Safe Water
 
Income
 
Social Security
 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 1.7 2.2 2.0 2.4 2.9 3.0 2.9 3.0 1.8 1.9 2.3 2.6 2.4 2.5 2.2 2.5 2.3 2.6 
Kalibari 1.8 2.0 1.9 2.2 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.6 2.0 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.3 2.6 2.2 2.7 
Krishna Nagar 1.9 2.3 2.2 2.3 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.1 1.8 1.9 2.6 2.7 2.0 2.3 2.4 2.7 2.4 2.7 
Tolna 1.7 2.1 1.8 2.3 2.5 2.9 2.8 3.0 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.8 2.3 2.7 2.1 2.5 2.5 2.8 
Bania-pukur 1.8 2.0 2.0 2.2 2.5 3.0 2.8 2.9 1.7 2.0 2.3 2.7 2.2 2.5 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.5 
Dakatia 1.7 2.0 1.9 2.3 2.5 2.8 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.1 2.5 2.8 2.4 2.7 2.5 2.8 2.2 2.5 
Avg. Ratings 1.8 2.1 2.0 2.3 2.7 2.9 2.9 3.0 1.7 2.0 2.3 2.7 2.3 2.5 2.4 2.6 2.3 2.6 
Table 4

Ratings for the risks of the hazard on the different livelihood sub-parameters for the surveyed villages

  Ratings for parameters (out of 5, 1 = very low, 2 = low, 3 = moderate, 4 = high, 5 = severe)
 
Education
 
Health
 
Water Bodies
 
Agricultural Land
 
Road Network
 
Housing
 
Safe Water
 
Income
 
Social Security
 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 3.5 4.0 3.9 4.0 4.4 4.8 4.4 4.9 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.0 4.0 3.9 4.0 3.9 3.9 
Kalibari 3.8 4.2 3.8 4.1 4.4 4.6 4.5 4.9 3.4 4.1 4.2 4.4 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.0 3.9 4.1 
Krishna Nagar 3.8 4.1 3.9 3.8 4.3 4.8 4.6 4.7 3.9 4.0 3.9 4.1 4.0 4.1 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.2 
Tolna 3.6 4.0 3.7 4.1 3.9 4.4 4.3 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.1 4.3 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.8 4.3 
Bania-pukur 3.6 4.1 3.9 4.1 4.0 4.5 4.2 4.4 3.8 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.0 4.1 3.6 4.0 3.9 4.0 
Dakatia 3.8 4.2 3.8 4.1 4.0 4.2 4.7 4.7 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.3 3.8 4.1 4.1 4.2 3.9 3.9 
Avg. Ratings 3.7 4.1 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.5 4.4 4.7 3.8 4.1 4.1 4.3 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.0 3.9 4.1 
  Ratings for parameters (out of 5, 1 = very low, 2 = low, 3 = moderate, 4 = high, 5 = severe)
 
Education
 
Health
 
Water Bodies
 
Agricultural Land
 
Road Network
 
Housing
 
Safe Water
 
Income
 
Social Security
 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 3.5 4.0 3.9 4.0 4.4 4.8 4.4 4.9 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.0 4.0 3.9 4.0 3.9 3.9 
Kalibari 3.8 4.2 3.8 4.1 4.4 4.6 4.5 4.9 3.4 4.1 4.2 4.4 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.0 3.9 4.1 
Krishna Nagar 3.8 4.1 3.9 3.8 4.3 4.8 4.6 4.7 3.9 4.0 3.9 4.1 4.0 4.1 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.2 
Tolna 3.6 4.0 3.7 4.1 3.9 4.4 4.3 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.1 4.3 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.8 4.3 
Bania-pukur 3.6 4.1 3.9 4.1 4.0 4.5 4.2 4.4 3.8 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.0 4.1 3.6 4.0 3.9 4.0 
Dakatia 3.8 4.2 3.8 4.1 4.0 4.2 4.7 4.7 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.3 3.8 4.1 4.1 4.2 3.9 3.9 
Avg. Ratings 3.7 4.1 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.5 4.4 4.7 3.8 4.1 4.1 4.3 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.0 3.9 4.1 
Table 5

Ratings for the preparedness of the community for the different livelihood sub-parameters

  Ratings for parameters (out of 3: 1 = good, 2 = fair, 3 = poor) 
Education Health Water Bodies Agricultural Land Road Network Housing Safe Water Income Social Security 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 1.9 2.5 2.4 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.9 2.1 2.6 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.6 2.9 2.6 2.9 
Kalibari 2.0 2.2 2.1 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.5 2.3 2.4 2.7 2.9 3.0 2.8 3.0 2.5 3.0 
Krishna Nagar 2.1 2.6 2.6 2.7 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.9 2.0 3.1 3.0 2.3 2.7 2.9 3.0 2.8 3.0 
Tolna 1.9 2.4 2.0 2.6 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.6 1.9 2.4 3.0 2.7 3.0 2.5 3.0 2.9 3.0 
Bania-pukur 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.5 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.8 2.1 2.7 3.0 2.5 2.9 2.7 2.9 2.7 3.0 
Dakatia 1.8 2.2 2.1 2.6 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.1 2.4 2.9 3.0 2.7 3.0 2.9 3.0 2.5 3.0 
Avg. Ratings 2.0 2.3 2.2 2.6 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.8 2.1 2.7 2.9 2.7 2.9 2.7 3.0 2.7 3.0 
  Ratings for parameters (out of 3: 1 = good, 2 = fair, 3 = poor) 
Education Health Water Bodies Agricultural Land Road Network Housing Safe Water Income Social Security 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 1.9 2.5 2.4 2.8 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.9 2.1 2.6 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.6 2.9 2.6 2.9 
Kalibari 2.0 2.2 2.1 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.5 2.3 2.4 2.7 2.9 3.0 2.8 3.0 2.5 3.0 
Krishna Nagar 2.1 2.6 2.6 2.7 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.9 2.0 3.1 3.0 2.3 2.7 2.9 3.0 2.8 3.0 
Tolna 1.9 2.4 2.0 2.6 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.6 1.9 2.4 3.0 2.7 3.0 2.5 3.0 2.9 3.0 
Bania-pukur 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.5 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.8 2.1 2.7 3.0 2.5 2.9 2.7 2.9 2.7 3.0 
Dakatia 1.8 2.2 2.1 2.6 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.1 2.4 2.9 3.0 2.7 3.0 2.9 3.0 2.5 3.0 
Avg. Ratings 2.0 2.3 2.2 2.6 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 1.8 2.1 2.7 2.9 2.7 2.9 2.7 3.0 2.7 3.0 

Table 6 shows the vulnerability ratings for different livelihood sub-parameters of which water bodies and agricultural land seem to be most vulnerable with respect to other sub-parameters. Out of a maximum rating value of 45, water bodies obtained 34 and 40 ratings for 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundations, respectively. Whereas agricultural land obtained 39 and 42 ratings for 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundations respectively. Considering the total score of all the parameters, from Tables 36 it can be concluded that Krishna Nagar, Dakatia and Kalitala are relatively more vulnerable areas than the other villages studied. Figures 3 and 4 illustrate the rating conditions for different sub-parameters graphically.
Table 6

Vulnerability of different livelihood sub-parameters for the surveyed villages

  Ratings for parameters (out of 45 (maximum))
 
Education
 
Health
 
Water Bodies
 
Agricultural Land
 
Road Network
 
Housing
 
Safe Water
 
Income
 
Social Security
 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 12 22 19 27 38 43 38 44 13 16 25 31 26 29 22 29 23 29 
Kalibari 14 18 15 22 36 40 40 44 08 19 23 28 28 30 25 31 22 33 
Krishna Nagar 15 24 23 25 37 43 42 41 13 15 31 33 19 25 28 33 26 34 
Tolna 12 21 13 24 30 39 37 40 14 21 36 25 33 21 30 28 36 
Bania-pukur 13 17 17 22 29 40 35 39 12 17 25 34 22 30 24 28 24 30 
Dakatia 12 18 15 24 30 35 42 42 17 21 29 36 24 33 30 35 21 30 
Avg. Ratings 13 20 17 24 34 40 39 42 12 17 26 33 24 30 25 31 24 32 
  Ratings for parameters (out of 45 (maximum))
 
Education
 
Health
 
Water Bodies
 
Agricultural Land
 
Road Network
 
Housing
 
Safe Water
 
Income
 
Social Security
 
Village C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 C1 C2 
Kalitala 12 22 19 27 38 43 38 44 13 16 25 31 26 29 22 29 23 29 
Kalibari 14 18 15 22 36 40 40 44 08 19 23 28 28 30 25 31 22 33 
Krishna Nagar 15 24 23 25 37 43 42 41 13 15 31 33 19 25 28 33 26 34 
Tolna 12 21 13 24 30 39 37 40 14 21 36 25 33 21 30 28 36 
Bania-pukur 13 17 17 22 29 40 35 39 12 17 25 34 22 30 24 28 24 30 
Dakatia 12 18 15 24 30 35 42 42 17 21 29 36 24 33 30 35 21 30 
Avg. Ratings 13 20 17 24 34 40 39 42 12 17 26 33 24 30 25 31 24 32 
Figure 3

Vulnerability ratings of the different sub-parameters if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs.

Figure 3

Vulnerability ratings of the different sub-parameters if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs.

Figure 4

Vulnerability ratings of the different sub-parameters if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs.

Figure 4

Vulnerability ratings of the different sub-parameters if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs.

Different villages have different topographies and water levels. The height of the roadway system and the livelihood of the local people are also different for every village, and this is why the vulnerability of the different villages varies for each single sub-parameter. Vulnerability ratings are classified into three categories as <15, 15 to 30, and >30, which are marked as low vulnerability, moderate vulnerability and high vulnerability, respectively. Table 7 shows the degree of vulnerability for different sub-parameters due to permanent inundation of 30.5 cm and 61 cm. Table 7 indicates that the water bodies and the agricultural lands are the most vulnerable sub-parameters in the Beel Dakatia region. All the parameters are found to be moderately to highly vulnerable for 61 cm SLR-induced permanent inundation situation. The vulnerability of livelihood capitals is given in Table 8. It is observed that the natural capital is relatively more vulnerable than other capitals.

Table 7

Sub-parameters classification according to low, moderate and high vulnerability

Conditions Low vulnerability Moderate vulnerability High vulnerability 
Classification for 30.5 cm permanent inundation Education and Road Network Health, Housing, Safe Water, Income, Social Security Water Bodies and Agricultural Land 
Classification for 61 cm permanent inundation Nil Education, Health, Road Network, Water Bodies, Agricultural Land, Housing, Safe Water, Income and Social Security 
Conditions Low vulnerability Moderate vulnerability High vulnerability 
Classification for 30.5 cm permanent inundation Education and Road Network Health, Housing, Safe Water, Income, Social Security Water Bodies and Agricultural Land 
Classification for 61 cm permanent inundation Nil Education, Health, Road Network, Water Bodies, Agricultural Land, Housing, Safe Water, Income and Social Security 
Table 8

Ratings for the livelihood parameters

Livelihood parameters Cases Ratings for the livelihood parameters (out of 45 (maximum)) 
Human Capital 30.5 cm inundation 15 
61 cm inundation 22 
Physical Capital 30.5 cm inundation 21 
61 cm inundation 27 
Natural Capital 30.5 cm inundation 37 
61 cm inundation 41 
Financial Capital 30.5 cm inundation 25 
61 cm inundation 31 
Social Capital 30.5 cm inundation 24 
61 cm inundation 32 
Livelihood parameters Cases Ratings for the livelihood parameters (out of 45 (maximum)) 
Human Capital 30.5 cm inundation 15 
61 cm inundation 22 
Physical Capital 30.5 cm inundation 21 
61 cm inundation 27 
Natural Capital 30.5 cm inundation 37 
61 cm inundation 41 
Financial Capital 30.5 cm inundation 25 
61 cm inundation 31 
Social Capital 30.5 cm inundation 24 
61 cm inundation 32 

Impact of SLR on the livelihood of the people of the six villages

Impacts on different livelihood parameters due to possible SLR-induced permanent inundation have been studied for six villages. The impact on Dakatia Beel is calculated as the average stress of these six villages. The result is presented in the next sub-sections for the most and least affected villages as well as the overall impact on Dakatia Beel.

One of the most affected villages: Kalitala under Rangpur Union

Kalitala is one of the most vulnerable areas in the Beel Dakatia region. Generally, the village goes completely under water along with most of the internal roads under an inundation depth of 30.5 to 61 cm during the monsoon period. Figure 5(a) demonstrates the possible reduction of resilience of the people if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs, and Figure 5(b) demonstrates the resilience of the people if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs in Kalitala under Rangpur Union. The survey results show that if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs, the local people's resilience in human capital, physical capital, natural capital, financial capital and social capital are likely to be reduced to 30%, 32%, 16%, 29% and 23% respectively. Note that the present resilience of the people is considered here as 100%. If 61 cm permanent inundation occurs then the local people's resilience in human capital, physical capital, natural capital, financial capital and social capital will be reduced to 10%, 13%, 3%, 17% and 23% respectively. The effects on every sub-parameter are also drawn as bar charts in Figure 6. From the figure it is observed that the natural capital (agricultural lands) is at greater risk than the other parameters for 30.5 cm permanent inundation. For 61 cm inundation, almost all the parameters are highly stressed which causes the reduction of people's resilience for different livelihood parameters.
Figure 5

Reduction of people's resilience if (a) 30.5 cm and (b) 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Kalitala, Rangpur).

Figure 5

Reduction of people's resilience if (a) 30.5 cm and (b) 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Kalitala, Rangpur).

Figure 6

Stress on different sub-parameters if 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Kalitala, Rangpur).

Figure 6

Stress on different sub-parameters if 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Kalitala, Rangpur).

The least affected village: South Tolna under Dhamalia Union

During monsoon, many parts of this village go under water, although the main roads and some elevated parts of the village remain unaffected. Figure 7(a) demonstrates the possible reduction of resilience of the people if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs, and Figure 7(b) demonstrates the resilience of the people if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs in South Tolna under Dhamalia Union. The survey results show that if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs then the local people's resilience in human capital, physical capital, natural capital, financial capital and social capital are likely to be reduced to about 53%, 55%, 12%, 38% and 54% respectively. Note that the present resilience of the people is considered here as 100%. If 61 cm permanent inundation occurs then the local people's resilience in human capital, physical capital, natural capital, financial capital and social capital are likely to be reduced to about 37%, 38%, 4%, 20% and 36% respectively. The effects on every sub-parameter are also drawn as bar charts in Figure 8. It is observed that, like other villages, in Tolna natural capital, i.e. water bodies and agricultural lands, are at greater risk than the other parameters both for 30.5 and 61 cm permanent inundation. On average, the estimated stress on different livelihood parameters in Tolna village is about 20% less than that of Kalitala village, both for 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation cases.
Figure 7

Reduction of people's resilience if (a) 30.5 cm and (b) 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Tolna, Dhamalia Union).

Figure 7

Reduction of people's resilience if (a) 30.5 cm and (b) 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Tolna, Dhamalia Union).

Figure 8

Stress on different sub-parameters if 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Tolna, Dhamalia union).

Figure 8

Stress on different sub-parameters if 30.5 cm and 61 cm permanent inundation occurs (Tolna, Dhamalia union).

Overall impact on livelihood of Beel Dakatia

Combining the survey results of the six villages, the overall impact on the people's resilience capacity of Beel Dakatia is prepared. Figure 9 demonstrates the possible reduction of resilience of the people if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs, and Figure 10 demonstrates the resilience of the people if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs in Beel Dakatia region. The survey results show that if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs then the local people's resilience in human capital, physical capital, natural capital, financial capital and social capital are likely to be reduced to about 45%, 47%, 13%, 40% and 36%, respectively. Note that the present resilience of the people is considered here as 100%. If 61 cm permanent inundation occurs then the local people's resilience in human capital, physical capital, natural capital, financial capital and social capital are likely to be reduced to about 28%, 29%, 4%, 27% and 27%, respectively. Among all the parameters, natural capital is found to be the most affected parameter. From the graphs, it is found that, natural capital's resilience is reduced to 13% for 30.5 cm and to 4% for 61 cm permanent inundation. On average, for 30.5 cm permanent inundation the people's resilience is likely to be reduced from 100% (assumed present resilience) to 36%. The people's capacity will be further reduced by 13% if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs.
Figure 9

Estimated reduction of people's resilience if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs in Beel Dakatia region.

Figure 9

Estimated reduction of people's resilience if 30.5 cm permanent inundation occurs in Beel Dakatia region.

Figure 10

Estimated reduction of people's resilience if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs in Beel Dakatia region.

Figure 10

Estimated reduction of people's resilience if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs in Beel Dakatia region.

The effects on every sub-parameter are also drawn as bar charts in Figures 11 and 12. Figure 11 shows that agricultural land is the most affected with respect to other sub-parameters while water bodies and social security take the second and third positions respectively in reduction of facilities. For 61 cm permanent inundation, it is found that almost all the sub-parameters are highly vulnerable due to SLR-induced permanent inundation. Agricultural land and water bodies are found to be highly affected with respect to others.
Figure 11

Estimated stress on different livelihood sub-parameters for 30.5 cm permanent inundation in Beel Dakatia.

Figure 11

Estimated stress on different livelihood sub-parameters for 30.5 cm permanent inundation in Beel Dakatia.

Figure 12

Estimated stress on different livelihood sub-parameters for 61 cm permanent inundation in Beel Dakatia.

Figure 12

Estimated stress on different livelihood sub-parameters for 61 cm permanent inundation in Beel Dakatia.

PEOPLE'S PERCEPTION REGARDING ADAPTATION AGAINST PERMANENT INUNDATION

The impact of the water-logging and prolonged inundation is not only massive but also widespread. This can destroy significant parts of the private and public physical infrastructure such as houses, homesteads, water and sanitation, roads, market places and embankments. The impact on the household and local economy is also significantly high. People lose their existing crops and agricultural equipment, business capital and other livelihood tools. This also causes immense suffering for the people in accessing food and clean water as well as overall secured environment. In this section, the perception of the local people regarding the adaptation against permanent inundation is presented for different livelihood parameters.

Housing

Housing systems in the Beel Dakatia region are mainly the ‘mud-house’ type. Mud-houses are highly vulnerable as their resistance against water is very low. They can easily collapse if the water level rises from 30.5 to 61 cm. ‘Semi-Pacca’ houses also exist there, which possess relatively more resistance to water and ensure better safety (Figure 13). The numbers of ‘Pacca’ houses are very few in the Beel Dakatia region compared to ‘mud-house’ and ‘semi-Pacca’ houses. Residents of ‘Pacca’ and semi-Pacca houses think that raising the plinth level of their houses can reduce the effects. Residents of mud-houses think that they will have to take shelter in the nearby shelter center or roads until the water has drained out.
Figure 13

Mud-house at Kalitala (left figure) and semi-Pacca House at Krishna Nagar (right figure).

Figure 13

Mud-house at Kalitala (left figure) and semi-Pacca House at Krishna Nagar (right figure).

Similar recommendations are made by Awal (2014). He stated that for removing the water-logging effect, plinth raising and elevating the local habitats and physical infrastructures can be considered as an immediate and short-term measure whereas operation of Tidal River Management (TRM) technology might be considered for a long-term or permanent solution for raising the low lands or beels. However, local experience has shown that due to siltation in connecting canals and lack of maintenance of the polder system, the TRM technology is not working properly in the study area.

Access to safe water

Beel Dakatia region has scarcity of pure drinking water. The suitable aquifer in this zone is around 300–425 m below the ground. Most of the people of Beel Dakatia are poor, they are not able to install their own tubewells. Thus, sufficient pure drinking water is not available everywhere. At present people have to fetch water from distant parts of the village where any deep tube well is installed. Figure 14 shows a typical tubewell in the Krishna Nagar area. In this study, it is found that almost every village has one deep tubewell. Sometimes, two villagers share one tubewell. The study shows that the number of users per tubewell varies from 600 (at Bodhbara) to 165 (at Tolna), with an average of 312 users per tubewell. Therefore the people of Beel Dakatia struggle for drinking water facilities. Moreover, if flooding occurs they face severe scarcity of fresh water. The people of Beel Dakatia think that if a flood hazard occurs they will face scarcity of fresh water and will have to use available contaminated water for drinking and other purposes. They also think that the bases of their existing tubewells need to be raised up to get contamination-free water during flooding.
Figure 14

Collecting water from a tubewell (Krishna Nagar).

Figure 14

Collecting water from a tubewell (Krishna Nagar).

Shamim et al. (2014) studied the usability of drinkable water of the Moralgonj and Kaliganj areas of south-west Bangladesh due to the flooding resulting from natural hazards. They reported that due to the storm surge during a cyclone about 71% of water sources became unusable in Moralganj, whereas, about 55% of water sources became unusable in Kaliganj. During that period, most of the people in Moralganj boiled the flood water before use for drinking purposes. Whereas most of the people of Kaliganj traveled long distances to collect tubewell water.

Road networks

Beel Dakatia region is surrounded by an embankment which is now used as a main road to connect different parts of the region. The road system consists of ‘Kaccha’ roads, brick soling roads (Figure 15) and pavements. The internal roads are generally Kaccha roads which are usually submerged during monsoon and in high tide periods. People think that these Kaccha roads should be raised to improve their present communication system during monsoon. The present status of brick soling roads is not satisfactory as they also go under water in many places during monsoon, although government initiatives have already been implemented to raise this type of road level. Pavements are also used to shelter disaster-prone people during flooding and cyclones. To make all types of roads resistant against permanent inundation, the government should implement necessary initiatives to raise the road level.
Figure 15

Brick soling road (Krishna Nagar).

Figure 15

Brick soling road (Krishna Nagar).

Natural water bodies

Water bodies are one of the most vulnerable parameters of Beel Dakatia. For every surveyed village, this parameter was found to have much lower resilience than the other parameters analyzed. During the high tide period, saline water from the peripheral river enters the low-lying area of the beel. This water has high salinity (more than 7,000 mg/l) which is harmful to crops and trees. Due to inadequate drainage facilities, the saline water cannot go back to the river and causes salinity problems in that area. Table 9 shows the variation of salinity in different locations of Beel Dakatia.

Table 9

Variation of salinity in the water of Beel Dakatia (March 2013)

Location Salinity (mg/l) 
Salta river (during high tide) 7,950 
Drainage canal 6,450 
Waterlogged area 327.5 
Paddy field 100 
Shrimp gher 127 
Deep tubewell (drinking water) 70 
Location Salinity (mg/l) 
Salta river (during high tide) 7,950 
Drainage canal 6,450 
Waterlogged area 327.5 
Paddy field 100 
Shrimp gher 127 
Deep tubewell (drinking water) 70 

Table 9 shows that the river water has high salinity. Salinity greater than 2,000 mg/l, is harmful to all kinds of trees. So, it is necessary to protect the trees and crops of Beel Dakatia from river water during high tide. The salinity of paddy field, shrimp gher, and drinking water remain within allowable limits. The survey result in this study showed that if the water level rises to 61 cm, about 93% of the total water bodies (ghers, ponds) will go under water and the sweet water sources will be turned into saline. People are thinking of raising the banks of the ponds to mitigate the effects. They also urge for proper maintenance of the sluice gates so that excess water can be drained out to the river by reducing water congestion. They think that this will be the most effective way to save the water bodies from long durational inundation.

Agricultural land

Agricultural land is the most vulnerable of all the sub-parameters considered in this research. This study showed that if 61 cm permanent flooding occurs, about 90–97% of all the agricultural land will go under water. This may cause severe loss of agricultural production. Almost all the people said that the only way to solve this problem is to remove the excess water. They urge for the sluice gates to be maintained properly to solve the problem. They think that the government and non-government organizations should implement necessary initiatives to ensure that the sluice gates function properly and are operated accordingly.

Hossain (2010) stated that the southern, south-western and the coastal areas of Bangladesh remain submerged for long periods every year, especially during the monsoon season. People in these areas have been coping with submerged/flooded conditions for generations. They have adopted a method of cultivation, locally referred to as floating agriculture, since the time of their forefathers. This system is similar to hydroponics, which is a scientific method whereby plants are grown in the water and they derive their nutrients from the water instead of from the soil. The production rate is high from this kind of agricultural practice. Floating agriculture is a possible local-knowledge-based technology which would help in attaining sustainable livelihood security in vulnerable areas like the waterlogged areas in Bangladesh. Awal (2014) stated that consequent losses in agricultural production due to the inundation of about 128,000 hectares of crop land were noticed in Jessore, Satkhira and Khulna districts directly affecting the life and livelihood of about one million people. Continuous climate change would put extra burdens on the social and economic challenges that the poorest already face, emphasizing and increasing their vulnerabilities due to the dependence of their livelihoods on climate sensitive natural resources and their weak social protection structures. In the waterlogged area he found that for continuing crop production local people are engaged in floating agriculture, crop production by the Sorjan method, and fish cultivation in lowlands to utilize the waterlogged land around the southern region.

Income level

People in Beel Dakatia mainly depend on fishing and agriculture. In fishing, they make small ponds locally named ‘gher’ and cultivate different types of fish including prawn for exporting. As seen earlier, in a changed condition, the water bodies and agricultural lands are the most vulnerable sub-parameters and it will not be possible for them to remain in the same profession as they are in at present. To maintain the income required to meet daily expenses, they think that they will need to change their profession and they may need to migrate to nearby towns to search for new jobs.

Karim et al. (2014) studied the coping strategies against Cyclone Sidr, in November 2007, which caused widespread damage and death among communities in coastal Bangladesh. He reported that a range of actions or ‘coping strategies' were employed by households to ensure that their families had sufficient food and income resources to survive in the months following the cyclone. Coping strategies adopted by the households were categorized into three groups: (i) food related, (ii) income generated through selling assets, and (iii) income generated through borrowing money. The range of coping strategies adopted did not depend statistically on access to aquaculture assets, indicating that neither group (those with aquaculture assets and those without aquaculture assets) was better equipped to cope with the disaster. Aquaculture ponds were, however, important for supplying food and income in the post-disaster period and 78% of households were willing to re-invest in aquaculture despite the risk of stock losses and damage to infrastructure during recurrent disasters. He concluded that aquaculture ponds are likely to provide a mechanism for coping after a disaster, despite the costs involved in repairing them.

Education system

People in Beel Dakatia are not sufficiently educated to be aware of health, sanitation, social security or the effect of climate change. There is a lack of educational institutions, and due to their illiteracy people are not willing to send their children to school. If permanent inundation occurs and local road networks remain unsubmerged, the present education system may continue. To mitigate the problem pertaining to permanent inundation, local people think that they need to raise the school premises and plinth level. As they use school buildings as shelters during disasters, they urge the government to build more disaster-resistant buildings for using as school cum shelter. A report by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP 2011) described in-depth analysis on children and the overall education situation due to the effect of waterlogging in Satkhira region. Three main points were made. The first point reported related to the closure of educational institutions due to damage in their infrastructures; the second related to damage to education and learning materials; and the third related to the risk of drop-out that is likely to be caused by increased poverty and the demand for unpaid laborers for household farms and enterprises.

Intervention of non-governmental organizations

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are working in the Beel Dakatia region. They are BRAC, ASA, Progati, Mohona, Janata, HYSAWA, Salvation Army, Somokal, Jagoron, etc., of which very few are working on climate change issues. Most of them are involved in ‘micro-credit’ finance systems, and after the flood they provide some money to revive the usual life of the local people. They do not provide any training to the local people about how to minimize the losses during flooding, where to take shelter, how to get pure drinking water and how to improve their sanitation and health systems. Among all the NGOs, only one is found to be working on climate change issues. This one helps the local people with sanitation, health tips and making people conscious about health and sanitation related issues. Another NGO has provided some tubewells and sanitary latrines to the local people of Krishna Nagar to improve their sanitation system and to increase drinking water facilities. However, people think that the initiatives of NGOs are very limited compared to their needs.

CONCLUSIONS

To investigate the impacts of SLR in Beel Dakatia region, six villages named Kalitala, Kalibari, Krishna Nagar, Tolna (south), Baniapukur and Dakatia were surveyed and people's opinion regarding SLR-induced permanent inundation was analyzed. The result indicates that the water bodies and the agricultural lands are the most vulnerable sub-parameters in the Beel Dakatia region. All the parameters are found to be moderate to highly vulnerable for a 61 cm SLR-induced permanent inundation situation. On an average, for 30.5 cm permanent inundation the people's resilience is likely to be reduced from 100% (assumed present resilience) to 36%. The people's capacity will be further reduced by 13% if 61 cm permanent inundation occurs. People are currently focused on ways to mitigate the effects of SLR locally, which is very limited in comparison to their needs. So, development and implementation of adaptation policies and implementation of initiatives for mitigation measures are the right ways to respond to SLR impacts.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

A part of this research was conducted with the financial assistance of research project KUET/CASR/12/37(10) No. 13 of KUET, Bangladesh. The authors would like to acknowledge this financial support.

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