In rural Bangladesh, the responsibility for managing drinking water infrastructure and water safety is allocated to individual schools and healthcare centres. In response to uneven service delivery performance and increasing climate and environmental risks, the Government of Bangladesh has published its first National Operation and Maintenance Guidelines for Water and Sanitation. The guidelines recognise the role of professional service delivery models working at scale to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water services for all public schools in a defined service area. We estimated the annual costs of professional water services for 1,700 primary and secondary schools and 300 healthcare centres1 in Khulna district, based on observed data from a pilot in 171 schools and 33 healthcare centres in eight unions. The estimated cost is Tk 33.5 million2 (c. USD 350,000) per year for a district population of over 320,000 students and thousands of daily patient visits, equating to less than USD 1 per person per year.
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