The challenges facing communities that live within Bangladesh’s coastal polders are complex. Communities share a collective desire to prevent the breaching of polders during natural disasters, but often their common interests end there. Communities must prioritize water use across different sectors (water for agriculture vs. water for shrimp cultivation, pond fisheries) or within the same sector (drainage vs. irrigation, low land vs. high land). The efficient use of water is of chief priority as communities also frequently cope with prolonged periods of land submergence and drought.
Conflicts regarding water use often involve issues of equity; unequal power dynamics present a challenge to achieving adequate representation of women and other marginalized members of the communities in polder water governance and management decisions. The area’s vulnerability to environmental change—in the form of sea level rise, increased salinity, changes in land use pattern
International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Unlocking the potential of coastal Bangladesh: Improving Water Governance and Community-Based Management. International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka (2014) 8 pp. [WLE Briefing Series No. 01]