Water crisis turns worse
An acute water shortage has gripped parts of the capital despite promises of smooth water supply from the authority during Ramadan.
The crisis stemmed from power shortages that left many water pumps inoperative, Liakat Ali, deputy managing director of Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), told The Daily Star yesterday.
Residents from several areas have complained that there has been barely any water in their taps for the last few days.
“Imagine my despair when I opened the tap to wash myself for the prayer after sehri last night [Tuesday early morning] and not a single drop came out,” said Anwar Hossain, a Mohakhali resident.
The supply resumed around 10:00am on Tuesday, only to stop an hour later.
At present, the demand is around 250 crore litres compared to the usual demand of around 225 crore litres every day, Wasa officials say.
The production, on the other hand, remains between 205 and 210 crore litres, which has gone down over the last few days as many Wasa pumps could not run due to load shedding, they add.
As a result, there is a daily shortage of at least 40 crore litres.
Areas hit hard by the crisis include Gulshan, Uttara, Lalbagh, Khilgaon, Hazaribagh, parts of Mirpur and Mohammadpur, central Badda, Shewrapara, Paikpara, Kalabagan, Naya Paltan, parts of Moghbazar and Basabo.
Wasa sources say demand for water has suddenly shot up due to scorching heat and rising humidity.
The demand tends to be high during the dry season, which usually extends from March to May. The current scarcity was created by inadequate rain and some dried up surface water sources over the last month, sources add.
“There is no water for taking a shower, so I'm practically drowning in my own sweat,” said Jahid Kamal, a private university student from Uttara.
In his area, he says, water comes once or twice for about an hour during daytime. Things have been like this for one week.
Ahead of Ramadan, Wasa promised a number of initiatives to ensure smooth water supply throughout the month.
Its promises included speedy availability of water tanks and trolleys, plastic water tanks in public places, 24-hour complaint service and special generators to keep its pumps running during power cuts.
However, most of the promises remain unimplemented and unavailable to the city dwellers.
“I called the local Wasa office to complain about the water crisis several times last week, but nobody answered the phone,” said Bashir Uddin, a resident of Uttara sector-16.
Some residents from Azampur, Basabo, Madartek, and old town also complained about filthy water that reeked of sewers.
Wasa has 590 water pumps which meet around 90 percent demand of the water in the city.
The other 10 percent is produced through four water treatment plants, using water from the adjacent rivers.
However, more than 300 pumps remained inoperative over the last few days due to power shortage. When electricity was available, voltage was too low to power the pumps, officials said.