An Overview of Groundwater Quality in Bangladesh

  • Shama E. HaqueEmail author
Part of the Springer Hydrogeology book series (SPRINGERHYDRO)


Groundwater is one of the most valuable natural resources of livelihood and food security of millions of rural people across Bangladesh. Groundwater availability in Bangladesh is governed by its subtropical monsoon climate, aquifer storage capacity, consumption rate along with changes in volume and distribution of groundwater recharge conditions. Groundwater withdrawal from the shallow alluvial aquifer (depth <150 m) is the country’s source of the arsenic-enriched waters. In Bangladesh, millions of people are suffering from severe and chronic arsenic poisoning due to consumption of drinking water from contaminated groundwater sources. The groundwaters with elevated levels of arsenic abstracted from the shallow aquifers are of natural origin, which has likely been present in the groundwater for thousands of years. However, arsenic is not the only water-quality problem in Bangladesh’s groundwater. In many parts of the country, the groundwaters are characterized by elevated levels of dissolved iron, manganese, and boron. Additionally, dissolved uranium concentrations appear to be a water-quality problem in certain areas; however, the nature and extent of the problem is poorly defined due to lack of sufficient data. Furthermore, climate change and rising sea levels will likely contribute to an increase in salinity in the coastal groundwater systems of the country. Consequently, access to safe drinking water is one of the greatest environmental threats in this predominantly rural country.



The author is deeply grateful to Mr. Mahbub Haque for all his help, support and valuable comments that greatly improved the manuscript. The author thanks Messrs. S. M. Habibullah, Md. Ahsanul Hoque, and Md. Alamgir for their assistance with the figures.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNorth South UniversityDhakaBangladesh

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