Dhaka's severe water problem
AT a time when we observed the World Water Day, ironically a large section of the city dwellers has been undergoing tremendous suffering due to lack of water. Everyday greater number of people of the city is being affected by shortage of potable water. And it seems that Dhaka WASA is capable of doing very little to end the misery. The situation has been worsened by the hot and murky weather.
We would suggest the government go public on the matter immediately. People must be informed about the actual state of the problem, and why that is defying resolution. For all we know, 13 percent of the water supply in the city is drawn from surface water i.e. river water while the remainder 87 percent is pumped out ground water piped through a network. An investigative study shows that the treated river water gets mixed up with deep tubewell water; that is where the crux of the problem of pollution lies.
Besides, the purification capacity of the treatment plants having to do with 13percent of surface water cannot cope with the sheer level of contamination in the river water. The government should analyse the situation and come up with what it intends to do to ensure supply of safe water to the citizens and within what time period.
We cannot reiterate more strongly the parliamentary standing committee's advice to WASA officials that they stop resorting to rhetoric and proffering excuses and, instead, deliver to the people the much needed water and thus deliver them from the suffering. We are concerned that WASA will not be able to do anything before the month of May, according to a highly placed WASA official.
As medium to long term plan is under taken to resolve the water crisis on a durable basis, immediate investment in capacity building for WASA is called for insofar as obtaining an adequate fleet of transport is concerned to be able to reach water through tanker lorries to the water -starved segments of the capital city.
The acute scarcities have been a seasonal annual issue for a long time. To top it off, this has continued to exacerbate serving sufficient notice on all concerned for bracing up to it with some contingency planning. How long are we to be caught napping without a level of preparedness in place to mitigate the seasonal suffering.