Living with dirty, stinky Wasa water | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 26, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 26, 2007

Living with dirty, stinky Wasa water

(From L-R): A girl holds a mug full of blackish and stinky water collected from Wasa supply line at Mothertek in Bashabo area. A woman shows a piece of cloth that went black after being used as a filter in a tube-well which pumped water from the supply line of Wasa. Photo: syed zakir hossain/Star

Many inhabitants of the eastern part of Dhaka are getting contaminated water from the Wasa supply line that poses a threat of serious health hazards for lakhs of people.
The residents of Rampura, Ulan, Goran, Sipahibagh, Basabo, Madartek and Nandipara areas complain that the Wasa water they get is blackish and stinky.
FM Nazmul Haque, a resident of Madartek, said, “Wasa water is not usable at all. For the last couple of months we have been buying water jar and bottled water for drinking, which has increased our living cost. For other purposes we collect water from neighbouring places. The situation has deteriorated as soon as the Ramadan began.”
RJM Rabiul Kaiser, Wasa executive engineer of MODS Zone-6, said he has been getting complaints from several areas and taking immediate actions to resolve the problem.
Explaining the reasons behind the contamination of water, Kaiser pointed out that dirty reserve tanks of the individual subscribers, illegal leakage in pipelines done by the locals and lack of pressure in the Wasa pipeline might have caused the problem.
Kaiser further said that after getting complaints from the subscribers they have examined the samples of underground reserve tanks and in most cases they have found that the water of the supply line is quite normal but the water at the reserve tank is contaminated.
“The reason is the subscribers do not clean their reserve tanks regularly,” he said.
However, in an application to the executive engineer of MODS Zone-6, Dhaka Wasa, people from some mohallas of Madartek said after the recent flood each and every resident of the area has cleaned their underground reserve tanks as per the instruction of Wasa, but they still get contaminated water from the supply line.
Kaiser said whenever Wasa finds any problem in the supply line, immediate actions are taken for repairing the leakages. During the Ramadan Wasa is supplying water in small containers at mosques and bazaars at the time of Sehri and Iftar.
On the Madartek issue Kaiser said, “I personally visited the area. We have repaired many leakages in the supply lines, which is not an easy process as we do not have modern equipment to find out the exact spot of such leakages.”
“But, the major problems that I found in the areas are lack of pressure in the pipelines and open drains on roads. Filthy water from these drains can easily mix with the pipeline water through the leakages,” the Wasa engineer said.
About the possible solution to the problem, he said a new pump will be installed on the Madartek Government Primary School premises to increase the pressure in the supply line. “We are ready to set up a new pump, but influential locals are not allowing us.”
Asked about the matter, Headmistress of the school Hasina Aktar said school authorities have no problem to set up a pump for the welfare of the people of the area. She suggested that Wasa can set up the pump at three decimals land of her 12-decimal school compound that are at present illegally possessed by influential locals.
Local Ward Commissioner (No 27) Golam Hossain also said he would try his best to demolish the illegal structures on the school premises as soon as Wasa sends the new pump at the place.
On the other hand, Wasa Executive Engineer Kaiser said that first the place must be freed from illegal occupancy, unless Wasa cannot send any pump. “We will need more than Tk 60,000 for carrying the total pump set to the spot. Who will bear the carrying cost if they fail to evacuate the place after sending the pump?”
One resident of the area on condition of anonymity said they will complain the problem to the joint forces to remove the illegal structures so that Wasa can set up the pump.
About the need for developing sewerage system in the area, the Wasa engineer said DCC has to come forward, especially the local ward commissioner should take initiative to develop the system. Asked, the ward commissioner could not give a clear answer.

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