Water management and livelihood choices in southwestern Bangladesh

Quinn Bernier, Parvin Sultana, Andrew Reid Bell, Claudia Ringler

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Coastal Bangladesh faces an increasing number of challenges including cyclones, tidal surges, floods, drought, saline water intrusion, waterlogging and land subsidence, which pose substantial threats to the livelihoods of the coastal inhabitants. In addition to these threats, profound social and land-use changes are complicating the livelihoods of resource users in the region, including the introduction of aquaculture and increasing competition for ground and surface water sources. The government of Bangladesh has targeted this region for investment with irrigation expansion. This paper uses a sustainable livelihood lens to understand the role of investments in water management and irrigation in driving and shaping livelihood changes and transitions over the past ten years and offers recommendations for investments. We find that while water infrastructure development has greatly enhanced the role of agriculture in coastal livelihoods over the last 10 years, further development of irrigation infrastructure should only be prioritized after issues of water governance and inequity across agricultural and aquacultural livelihoods are addressed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)134-145
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Rural Studies
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


    • Bangladesh
    • Governance
    • Irrigation
    • Livelihoods
    • Water management

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Development
    • Sociology and Political Science


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