Availability of safe drinking water is considered a key challenge in the coastal region of Bangladesh. High concentrations of salinity, iron and arsenic, and the unavailability of suitable aquifers, have deterred the exploitation of groundwater resources. In addition the cyclonic storm surge is a major threat to this system. Cyclones accompanied by storm surges in the coastal area cause significant deterioration of drinking water supply and sanitation. Water professionals have launched some initiatives to promote small-scale, alternative safe water sources (e.g. rainwater harvesting, pond sand filters and piped water techniques) to provide sustainable solutions to the problem. However, a systematic evaluation of the alternatives that considers social, technical and economic criteria has not been carried out so far. The present study is an attempt to evaluate the alternative options for drinking water supply in a cyclone-prone area. The authors conducted a multi-criteria analysis and reached the conclusion that rainwater harvesting is the most suitable option for the area. Moreover, the final result was shared with the users to obtain their feedback to ensure sustainability of the water source.

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