A Conceptual Model to be Used for Community-based Drinking-water Improvements

Richard G. Anstiss, Mushfique Ahmed


A conceptual model that can be applied to improve community-based drinking-water in crisis-type situations has been developed from the original general science and technology/development bridging concept and from a case study in Northwest Bangladesh. The main feature of this model is the strengthened role of communities in identifying and implementing appropriate drinking-water improvements with facilitation by multi-disciplinary collaborative regional agency networks. These combined representative community/regional agency networks make decisions and take actions that involve environmental and health data, related capacity factors, and appropriateness of drinking-water improvements. They also progressively link regional decisions and actions together, expanding them nationally and preferably within a sustainable national policy-umbrella. This use of the model reflects stronger community control and input with more appropriate solutions to such drinking-water crisis situations and minimization of risk from potentially-inappropriate ‘externally-imposed’ processes. The application here is not intended as a generic or complete poverty-alleviation strategy by itself but as a crisis-solving intervention, complementary to existing and developing sustainable national policies and to introduce how key principles and concepts can relate in the wider context. In terms of the Bangladesh arsenic crisis, this translates into community/regional networks in geographic regions making assessments on the appropriateness of their drinking-water configuration. Preferred improvement options are decided and acted upon in a technological framework. Options include: pond-sand filters, rainwater harvesting, dugwell, deep-protected tubewell, and shallow tubewell with treatment devices. Bedding in the regional drinking-water improvement configuration protocols then occurs. This involves establishing ongoing representative monitoring and screening, clear delineation of arsenic-contaminated wells with inter-regional linking, and national expansion within national drinking-water policy frameworks.

Key words: Drinking-water; Conceptual model; Arsenic; Arsenicosis; Pathogens; Bangladesh

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