Water crisis and adaptation strategies by tribal community: A case study in Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati District in Bangladesh


  • Uttam Bikash Chakma Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittaogng-4331, Bangladesh
  • Akhter Hossain Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittaogng-4331, Bangladesh
  • Kamrul Islam Department of Systems Innovation, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
  • G.N. Tanjina Hasnat Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittaogng-4331, Bangladesh
  • Md. Humayain Kabir Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittaogng-4331, Bangladesh




Tribal, Chittagong Hill Tracts, water crisis, adaptation strategies, deforestation


Water crisis under changing climate is one of the major environmental challenges in Bangladesh. Tribal communities of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) have been suffering from water scarcity since long. This study aimed to identify the available water sources, extent of water scarcity and traditional adaptation practices to cope with water scarcity in hilly area of Bangladesh. This study was conducted by face-to-face interview using a structured questionnaire in 6 villages of three union of Bagaichari upazila which were selected through stratified random sampling method. The main sources of water for drinking, domestic use and irrigation were river, streams, dam over streams (Godha), very small stream (Thagalok), well dug on hill bottom (Shillaw hoo), springs, big dug well, tube-well, ring-well, river, and pond. In every year December-April is the dry and water crisis period. To overcome the severity, people built small dams (Godha) to raise water level and use in irrigation and domestic purposes. For drinking water maximum 42% people dependent on shilaw hoo. For domestic purposes 38% households dependent on streams and 65% dependent on Ghoda for irrigation water. Tribal people of the study area have to walk a long hours to collect water from sources located about 1-2.5 kilometers away from the settlement with earthen or plastic buckets sized 10 to 15 litters. Water crisis was found in severe condition since last 5-10 years. Before that water was available in hilly region. Maximum people (89%) reported deforestation as the main reason of water crisis. This study suggests both government and non-governmental professionals to foster local communities’ adaptation capacity against the water scarcity in Bagaichari upazila. This study will play a vital role to take relevant adaptation policies both by the policy makers and practitioners.


Alam, M.F. and Mong, N. 2004. Indigenous people in CHT face worst water crisis.The Daily Star, June 18, Vol. 5 Num 22
Bangladesh 2007: At the mercy of climate change, 19/2/2007 www.independent.co.uk

CA (Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture). 2007. Water for food, water for life: A comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture. London, UK: Earthscan; and Colombo, Sri Lanka; IWMI

Clegg, J. 1986. The news Observer’s Book of Pond Life. Frederick Warne. P. 460. IABN 0723233381

Connor, R., Faures, J.M., Kuylenstierna, J. 2010. Evaluation of water use: Water in a changing world, World Water Development Report 3, 2009. Accessed June 21, 2010, available at: http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr3/pdf/18_WWDR3_ch_7.pdf

De, A.K. 2003. Environmental Chemestry. Wiley Eastern Limited, New Delhi. India, pp. 211 - 219.

Dow, K. & Edward, R. 2005. Linking Water Scarcity to Population Movements: From Global Models to Local Experiences. For the Poverty and Vulnerability Programme Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Stockholm, Sweden.

Hiscock, K. 1994. Groundwater pollution and protection. In: Riordan, T.O. (Ed). Environmental Science for Environmental Management. Longman. UK, pp. 246-262.

Hossain, G.M.A. and Islam, M.N. 2000. Water Resources Management in Bangladesh, presented at the Joint Conference on Water Resources Engineering and Water Resources Planning and Management, Minneapolis, MN, 30 July – 2 August 2000, Available at: http://ascelibrary.org/ doi/abs/10.1061/40517%282000%29233

Kabir, M. R. and Faisal, I. M. 1999. Indigenous practices for water harvesting in Bangladesh

Kooten, G.C.V. and Bulte, E. H. 2000. The economics of nature: managing biological assets. Blackwells

Mbugua, A. and Snijders, J.M. 2011. Study Report on Water Scarcity in Northern Bangladesh. Parbatipur, Dinajpur: VSO International volunteers and Gram Bikash Kendra (GBK).

Mbugua, A. and Snijders, J.M. 2012. Study report on water scarcity in Northern Bangladesh.

Mirza, M. M. Q. 2011. Climate change, flooding in South Asia and implications, Regional Environmental Change 2(11): 95-107.
Newsbangladesh, 2015. Died of diarrhea in Rangamati, Friday 28 August 2015, newsbangladesh.com
Population Reference Bureau, 2010. Distilled Demographics Video: The Death Rate. Accessed July 6, 2010, available at: http://www.prb.org/Journalists/Webcasts/2010/distilledde mographics4.aspx

Protos, 2009. “3rd UN-World Water Development Report 2009,” Protos. Accessed July 6 2010, Available at: http://www.protos.be/protosh2o/water-in-the-world/3th-un-world-water-development-report

Rahman, M.M. 2005. Bangladesh- From a country of flood to a country of water scarcity sustainable perspective for solution. Seminar on Environment and development, Hamburg, Germany, entwicklungs forum Bangladesh. Retrieved February 3, 2012, available at: http://users.tkk.fi/~mizanur/Rahaman_Hamburg.pdf

Sheram, K. 1993. The Environmental Data Book. The World Bank, Washington DC.

The World Water Organization, 2010 “Water Facts & Water Stories from Across the Globe,” Accessed June 16, 2010. http://www.theworldwater.org/water_facts.php
UNEP (United Nations Environment Programmed). 2008. “Vital Water Graphics, An overview of the state of the world’s fresh and marine waters: 2nd Edition,” Accessed June 15, 2010. http://www.unep.org/dewa/vitalwater/article186.html

UNFPA, 2001. “Chapter 2: Environmental Trends: Water and Population,” State of the World Population 2001, Accessed June 16, 2010, available at: http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2001/english/ch02.html

USDESA, 2012. International decade for action ‘water for life’ 2005-2015: Water scarcity. UNDESA. Retrieved April 19, 2012 from https://www.un.org/ waterforlifedecade/ scarcity.shtml

World Water Assessment Programmed, 2009. “Water in a Changing World,” UN Water Development Report 3, (World Water Assessment Programmed, 2009), Accessed June 21, 2010. http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr3/pdf/WWDR3_Facts_and_ Figures.pdf




How to Cite

Chakma, U. B., Hossain, A., Islam, K., Hasnat, G. T., & Kabir, M. H. (2021). Water crisis and adaptation strategies by tribal community: A case study in Baghaichari Upazila of Rangamati District in Bangladesh. International Journal of Disaster Risk Management, 2(2), 37–46. https://doi.org/10.18485/ijdrm.2020.2.2.3