Private solution for a public good
12:00 AM, March 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:47 AM, March 22, 2019

Private solution for a public good

The Daily Star talks to Ruhi M Ahmed, AGM, CSR, BSRM, about BSRM's initiatives to reduce water wastage and provide clean drinking water in water-scarce regions of the country.

What are the ongoing water-related initiatives of BSRM?

Providing fresh drinking water in disaster-prone and remote areas is one of the top priorities of BSRM CSR desk. We work in partnership with various local NGOs such as TMSS, GBS, GUK and NDP. We want to contribute towards Bangladesh's effort to achieve the SDGs.

Our first project was in Jainta Pahar Hill Tract, Sylhet. There we established a water pump for people living in the hill tracts. This initiative not only solved the water crisis but also saved enough time for the children there to attend school. Now these kids are going to school, have a happy and safe childhood, and are poised to build a meaningful life.

In our Mirsarai Water Treatment Plant, every day we draw around 30 lakh litres of water of which 9 lakh litres are wasted due to backwash or blowdown. To prevent this wastage, instead of draining the water, we draw it back to our lagoon which is an artificial water reservoir. We treat the water once again and make the water re-usable. We have established 100 tubewells for 100 households in eight to ten villages of Gaibandha. We are also working with supply of pure drinking water in Kurigram, Khulna and Barisal. So far, the number of our beneficiaries is 30,000.

Besides setting up water facilities, we provide training to local people on the usage of these machineries so that regular and efficient functioning of the water supply system can be ensured.

Overall, our interventions have helped prevent water-prone diseases leading to reduction in medical expense and absenteeism in school. Easy access to safe drinking water has also lessened the burden on women of collecting water from far-flung areas and thus increased their employment and productivity.

What is your plan for the future?

At present, we have a plan to supply safe drinking water to 1,000 households and 7,000 people in five villages of Satkhira. We will try to reach more hard-to-reach and disaster-prone areas in the future.

The private sector should come forward to support the government's initiatives to supply freshwater in water-scare regions of the country.

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