One of the most serious resource and health issues in coastal communities of Bangladesh is the scarcity of safe drinking water, triggered by the combined effects of salinity, arsenic, and drought. This article explores community perception of vulnerabilities in daily life, livelihood, and environment, and investigates how communities and institutions cope with or adapt to drinking water scarcity. ... [Show full abstract] This study outlines community expectations for support from government and non government organizations to overcome this problem. The findings reveal that nearly all respondents from the drinking water scarcity area perceive that salinity is the primary reason for the lack of safe drinking water compared to arsenic and drought hazards. Despite a number of socioeconomic factors and a geographical location that aggravates the coastal communities’ vulnerability, these communities have established their own adaptation mechanism to cope with this crisis.Government and non government organizations have also supported community efforts to cope with the problem. By emphasizing both community adaptation methods and efforts of institutions, this article illustrates an integrated community-based approach, which would be effective for reducing drinking water scarcity in the southwestern coastal region of the country.