Wastage and pollution of water are major barriers to achieving sustainable development, said experts at a seminar yesterday.
With rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, the demand for water will drastically increase in the next decades, but the current rate of depletion and pollution of water will lead to its scarcity in the years to come, they added.
The seminar titled "Securing Sustainable Water for All" was organised by the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), Policy Support Unit, United Nations Information Centre, Unicef, The World Bank, Oxfam, Bangladesh Wash Alliance and NGO Forum for Public Health at the DPHE auditorium in the capital in observance of World Water Day.
Stating that 10 litres of water is required to make one sheet of paper and 91 litres for 500 grams of plastic, Prof Mujibur Rahman of Buet said, "The global demand for water for manufacturing is expected to increase by 400 percent by 2050."
Meanwhile, at another discussion on Water Day, Water Resources Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud said the four billion dollar Ganges barrage project is a top priority for the government.
"We will ensure proper utilisation of water of the Padma river before it flows to the Bay of Bengal," he said addressing the discussion at the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Centre (BARC) auditorium.
He added that a feasibility study has been conducted and the government is trying to settle some issues with the neighbouring country to implement the project.
The discussion titled "Water and Sustainable Development" was jointly organised by BANCID (Bangladesh National Committee of ICID), Bangladesh Water Development Board, Institute of Water Modelling, Bangladesh Water Partnership and BARC.
Prof Mujibur Rahman said the country needs to reduce its water use for irrigation by at least 20 percent and strictly enforce environmental laws to contain industrial pollution of freshwater sources.