Published on: 26/10/2014
The ASTRA decision support tool aims to help mitigate the effects of arsenic and salt contamination of water in Bangladesh. the tool stimulated lively discussion at the 37th WEDC Conference.
Bangladesh faces a growing water crisis, which is further aggravated by population density and climate change. Surface water contamination has led to increasing use of groundwater, but this brings other contamination risks: Millions of the country's inhabitants are exposed to dangerous levels of arsenic in their groundwater. At the same time, salt water intrusion in groundwater is posing an ever increasing threat for people and crops.
The ASTRA tool helps assess low-cost, appropriate water supply technologies (both from Bangladesh and other countries) that can be of use in mitigating arsenic and salt problems. ASTRA is short for Aiding Sustainable Water Technology Realization in Arsenic- and Salt-contaminated Areas of Bangladesh. It is one of the innovative research projects that has been undertaken as part of the BRAC WASH project in Bangladesh.
At the 37th WEDC conference on water and sanitation (September 15-19, 2014) members of the ASTRA-Bangladesh consortium presented a paper which describes the ASTRA decision-support tool. Following the ASTRA presentation, which also discusses strengths and weaknesses of the tool, a lively discussion focused primarily on the severity of the arsenic and salinity problems in Bangladesh and efforts to overcome them.
The paper by Szanto et al 'Decision-support for arsenic- and salt-mitigation in Bangladesh: the ASTRA approach' can be accessed on the WEDC site (see link below).