Water Productivity Journal (WPJ) Quarterly Publication

Document Type : Original Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of Geography and Environment, Jagannath University, Dhaka 1100, Bangladesh

2 Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)

10.22034/wpj.2021.270875.1031

Abstract

Drought poses significant environmental and economic threats in northwestern parts of Bangladesh. It results mainly due to uncertainty in rainfall and long-dry weather pattern. Scientists predict that less rainfall, characterized by climate change, will increase water scarcity and lead to severe hydrological and agricultural drought with a long-term impact on life and livelihood. We aimed to identify the coupled socio-hydrological systems in Sapahar Upazila of Naogaon District to understand the consequences of prolonged drought. We also explored the socio-hydrological resilience and capacity of the households to cope with the situation. We identified the social subsystems of the household members that assist in facing the challenges posed by drought. The research identified that household members are increasingly susceptible to water scarcity, crop failure, food insecurity, and unemployment due to recurring drought events. Farmers have been adopting strategies, including changing traditional agricultural patterns, cultivating drought-tolerant species, introducing rainwater harvesting systems, re-excavating pond and canal to store water, and sometimes farmers are changing their conventional occupation and migrating to nearby cities. Long-term transformation in land use and land cover change is also identified employing GIS analytical tools. It has identified the decline of paddy fields and the increase of mango cultivation and fish farming over twenty years. Based on the findings, the study recommends increased institutional cooperation among different stakeholders. It also suggests taking measures like innovating drought tolerant and less water consuming crops and supporting farmers to strengthen human-water coupling to achieve resilience against drought.

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