Avoiding the Water-Poverty Trap: Insights from a Conceptual Human Water Dynamical Model for Coastal Bangladesh

Authors: Dr. Edoardo Borgomeo, Prof Jim Hall, and Prof Mashfiqus Salehin

Water-related risks impact development opportunities and can trap communities in a downward spiral of economic decline. In this paper, the dynamic relationship between water related risks and economic outcomes for an embanked area in coastal Bangladesh is conceptualized. The interaction between flood events, salinity, deteriorating and poorly maintained water infrastructure, agricultural production and income is modelled. The model is used to test the effect of improvements in the reliability, operation and maintenance of the water infrastructure on agricultural incomes and assets. Results indicate that interventions can have non-marginal impacts on indicators of welfare, switching the system dynamic from a poverty trap into one of growth.

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UK Department for International Development Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

'Access to water is a defining challenge for the 21st century. The UK has already helped 43 million people to access clean water, but there is far more to be done.'

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