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Deadly Wells in Bangladesh
Debaere, Peter Case GEM-0158 / Published October 1, 2019 / 20 pages.
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This case allows instructors to lay out the challenges of providing universal access to safe drinking water in developing and emerging countries—one of the current UN development goals. This is not to say that all developing countries find themselves in a comparable predicament of widespread exposure to arsenic contamination—although the exposure is on a much larger scale than is often assumed. The implication is also not that there are no water access issues in advanced economies: the crisis in Flint, Michigan, and work in its wake, has shown that there is a water infrastructure crisis even in countries such as the United States, although the scale of the challenge is an order of magnitude larger in developing countries. The common denominator of the access challenge across developing countries is to find long-lasting and sustainable solutions, and to realize that present answers to the challenge may be a far cry from these criteria. At the Darden School of Business, this case is taught in the “Global Economics of Water” class. It is often taught concurrently with a case about a similar situation in Hungary, “Toxic Taps: Arsenic Exposure in Hungary” (UVA-GEM-0201), and the teaching note for that case (UVA-GEM-0201TN) offers guidelines for teaching both cases.




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  • Overview

    This case allows instructors to lay out the challenges of providing universal access to safe drinking water in developing and emerging countries—one of the current UN development goals. This is not to say that all developing countries find themselves in a comparable predicament of widespread exposure to arsenic contamination—although the exposure is on a much larger scale than is often assumed. The implication is also not that there are no water access issues in advanced economies: the crisis in Flint, Michigan, and work in its wake, has shown that there is a water infrastructure crisis even in countries such as the United States, although the scale of the challenge is an order of magnitude larger in developing countries. The common denominator of the access challenge across developing countries is to find long-lasting and sustainable solutions, and to realize that present answers to the challenge may be a far cry from these criteria. At the Darden School of Business, this case is taught in the “Global Economics of Water” class. It is often taught concurrently with a case about a similar situation in Hungary, “Toxic Taps: Arsenic Exposure in Hungary” (UVA-GEM-0201), and the teaching note for that case (UVA-GEM-0201TN) offers guidelines for teaching both cases.

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