• Advisian

    Providing Clean Water to 750,000 Refugees

    Teknaf Peninsula, Bangladesh

Project Summary

Struggling to Provide Refugees with Water

When nearly 750,000 Rohingya refugees fled human rights abuses in 2017 and arrived in the Teknaf Peninsula of Bangladesh from a neighboring country, they faced a new threat to their well-being. Since the dry season in this area of Bangladesh is five months long, shallow boreholes had to be dug to provide water, but 80% of them became contaminated by overflowing latrines. Engineering consultant Advisian had to determine how to improve the availability of clean water in the area quickly to improve conditions at the refugee camps.

Challenging Conditions during the Arid Season

Advisian’s specific goal was to support the refugees during the most arid time of the year in Bangladesh. The ideal solution would be to create aquitard-protected, high-yielding aquifers that could supply a sustainable source of clean drinking water. Though Bangladesh is a low-lying country that experiences seasonal monsoons, the hydrogeological conditions proved challenging, as any rainfall during the dry season has a negligible impact on both surface water reservoirs and groundwater aquifers. To determine how to produce clean, productive wells, Advisian had to undertake detailed geotechnical analysis.

Determining Aquifer Conditions with Geophysical Visualization

Advisian turned to Seequent applications to characterize the water resources available. With Seequent’s powerful, detailed geophysical 3D visualization and modeling, Advisian determined that geology of the refugee camps was quite different from the conditions presupposed for the peninsula. The analysis revealed that continuous aquifers found elsewhere in Bangladesh did not exist near the refugee camps, and the aquifers present were actually small and relatively discreet. This helped Advisian determine that to succeed, they needed to dig deeper wells.

Producing More Effective Water Wells

As a result of Advisian’s analysis, the United Nations adjusted its strategy. To accommodate the area aquifers, they dug a smaller number of water wells, but each one penetrated deeper into the ground. These new wells provided an abundant source of clean water, enabling the UN to provide vital humanitarian aid to the refugees. Additionally, since they were able to produce more water from fewer wells, they reduced the need for drilling, reducing the environmental impact of excavating the wells.

Project Playbook: Leapfrog, View

  • The United Nations faced a humanitarian crisis when the scarcity of clean potable drinking water threatened the well-being of nearly 750,000 Rohingya refugees arriving in the Teknaf Peninsula.
  • Engineering consultant Advisian used Seequent’s Leapfrog and View to undertake geophysical analysis and determine the best way to provide water to the refugee camps.
  • They found that digging deeper yet fewer wells would provide more abundant, cleaner water than previous methods.
  • They’re all looking at the same datasets, all having questions and queries, but perhaps have different interests. With View, everyone has control of the scale, and they can highlight the particular model features they’re interested in.”

    Paul Bauman Advisian