Water Crisis of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Water scarcity in the capital city Dhaka has worsened in the past few weeks due to frequent load shedding and fall in groundwater level. The people of Lalbagh, Kamalbagh, Islambagh, Nawabpur, Khilgaon, Mirpur, Hajaribagh, some parts of Mirpur and Mohammadpur, all part of Badda, Shewrapara, Kazipara, Paikpara, Kalabagan, Nayapaltan, Khilgaon, some parts of Moghbazar and Basabo alleged that they were acutely facing water crisis in the areas for the last couple of weeks. Recently Gulshan, Dhanmondi, Badda, Rampura and Bonhasri are facing water crisis.
Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) said they are producing 160 to 165 crore liters of water a day against a demand of 205 liters, WASA officials said, which is about 25 percent less than demand. Managing Director of WASA Raihanul Abedin, said: “We hope to solve the water problem in the next four years as some WASA projects including setting up a water treatment plant and replacing old pipelines will take some time.” On emergency basis, the WASA is supplying water by tank lorries in different areas including Kajipara, Dhanmondi, Nakhalpara, Rampura, Badda, Shahjadpur, Basabo, Mohammadpur, Monipuripara, Rajabazar, Gulshan, Uttara, Mohakhali and others parts of Dhaka Metropolitan Area. But people claimed “to get water from WASA lorry, we usually have to wait for 10 days.”
Blaming load shedding for the current deficit of water supply, Abedin said if smooth supply of electricity is ensured, WASA could nearly meet the city’s total need. Of the 505 water pumps of WASA, only 274 have generators, and the rest remain idle during load shedding. Also “A substantial quantity of water is wasted everyday due to leakage,” said the WASA chief. “Replacing old pipes and setting up new ones of around 3,800 km length will start soon and end by 2012.” To reduce dependence on ground water, they have already taken initiative for setting up, Abedin added.
Morsheda Akhter, a resident of Rampura, said, “When necessary, we have to use dirty water for bathing and cooking. When we complained to the landlord, WASA told us to buy purifying filter.” “Stinky, dirty water is our great problem. WASA officials said that they would try to solve our problem but the solution never came,” the commissioner of Rampura added. The commissioner also said “Our water is dirty because Buriganga and Shitalakkha rivers are polluted. The government is not taking any step to clean up these rivers.”
The WASA has 478 deep tube-wells in the city to meet 75 percent of the demand, which is also 86 percent of its supply. The rest 14 percent comes from surface water sources, said a WASA official.
WASA said load shedding is the main reason for water crisis in Dhaka; because WASA cannot operate pumps for about 9 to 10 hours every day.