Rain causes waterlogging in Dhaka

The city must restore its natural drainage system

Published : 07 Aug 2023 08:46 PM

Dhaka is witnessing severe waterlogging as the capital's poor drainage system has not been improved yet. During Bangladesh’s relentless monsoon season, Dhaka is submerged several times a month. It is disconcerting to note that a mere hour of rain plunges Dhaka into an abyss of filthy water on roads caused by poor drainage system and unplanned urbanisation. Also, every time after a heavy rainfall the city’s traffic system collapses, which often lasts  for hours together.

Lack of coordination and planning coupled with slow progress of drainage construction work are the main barriers to sustainable solution of the city’s waterlogging problem. Dhaka’s water-drainage system is only capable of dealing with 20mm of rainfall where in most of the areas the rainfall often exceeds 40mm. Moreover, most of the drains remain clogged with dirt and debris. Hence, a considerable part of our capital city collapses within a few hours of rain. The natural drainage system in Dhaka comprises of several canals and floodplains which have been grabbed or filled up with illegal dumping of waste. On top of that, real estate developers are indulged in a competition to haphazardly fill up low lands through which excess water used to go to the nearby rivers.

We believe Dhaka still 

has not reached the stage

 where it must accept that 

waterlogging is inevitable

Dhaka needs a proper drainage system in which the canals, flood plains and rivers would be connected to carry excess water within hours. In order to mitigate the waterlogging problems; the city must restore its natural drainage system through evicting the illegal grabbers of the city canals. It is time to devise a master plan to end the sufferings caused by waterlogging. 

In 2016, Annisul Haq, the late mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), took numerous initiatives to eradicate waterlogging. As a result, the situations in areas such as Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara have noticeably improved. However, people living in other parts of the city such are still struggling to get rid of the waterlogging miseries.

It is said that Dhaka’s waterlogging problem can be fixed. What is needed now is a concerted and well-deployed move fuelled by adequate allocation of resources. We believe Dhaka still has not reached the stage where it must accept that waterlogging is inevitable. We do not want to learn the way how to live being water-logged rather we want to manage the problem in a way so our life is not disturbed too much because of rain and waterlogging.