Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)

The Eastern hilly region covers the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and the eastern coast of the country, i.e. the coast near Chittagong and Cox‘s Bazar. CHT and the nearby coast are exposed to landslides, drying up of springs, cyclones and storm surges. All of these have huge impacts on, as well as increase uncertainty in, the lives and livelihoods in the region. The main climate change impact in the CHT region is perceived to be the drying up of streams and water sources due to low rainfall in the dry period (October – May). This affects drinking water and agriculture. Streams are changing due to landslides in the rainy season, largely as a result of overexploitation, as are the declining groundwater levels (for drinking water and irrigation). These pose major problems for the cities and surrounding areas. The region faces water quality issues as well, which may be exacerbated by climate change.

Groundwater degradation due to iron and salinity is a major problem for ensuring safe drinking water in the plain lands near the coast. Besides water scarcity and quality issues, water excess is also an issue in the region. Waterlogging is observed in low lands and plain lands where there are not enough structures (bridges/culverts) to drain out rain water. River siltation in major rivers is an increasing phenomenon due to increasing landslides, and this in turn increases water logging and sedimentation in the Chittagong port.

The vulnerable groups of this region are mostly people in the hills, who face food and water shortages, forcing them to collect water from distant places. People living in valleys near fragile hills face high risk of landslides. Women, children, the elderly and disabled are particularly vulnerable to water borne diseases, and people living in low-lying lands along rivers are vulnerable to flash floods and riverine floods.