Every day, 30-year-old Ruposhi Chakma has to walk three kilometres to reach a well, to fetch water for her five-member family. In Chela Chhara village in Rangamati's Kawkhali upazila where she lives, there isn't a nearby water source anymore. An increasing number of families in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are facing the same problem. Over the last five years, countless springs and streams that were once reliable for water are now dry.
Chela Chhara is home to around 150 Chakma families and once had no less than seven springs to rely on for water. “They all dried up,” says one villager. “We dug a 15-foot well in a stream bed to access water but it is quite some distance from our houses.”
In nearby Upor Para village the situation is similarly bleak. “During the dry season even our well has no water,” says housewife Suchona Chakma. “To fetch water in these months involves a difficult two kilometre trek through hilly terrain.”