Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) has outright rejected the recently published Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) report on quality of service rendered by the capital’s water supplier organisation. Terming the TIB report as an unscientific and below-standard professional reporting, WASA Managing Director (MD) Engr Taqsem A Khan on Saturday said, “It’s not a professional research report as it didn’t collect data in a scientific way. This is a fabricated, ill-motivated and one-sided report.”
The WASA boss said this at a press conference organised by Dhaka WASA at Sagar-Rooney auditorium of Dhaka Reporters Unity on the day to express its reactions over the TIB report.
In a recent report titled “Dhaka WASA: Challenges for Good Governance and Way Forward”, TIB informed about 37.5 per cent users expressed dissatisfaction over Wasa’s water supply and sewerage treatment services while 44.8% do not get water as per demand. According to the report, TIB found deficiency in WASA’s efficiency to meet the growing demand of water, lift water in sustainable and eco-friendly ways and ensure sewerage treatment.
Of the users, who participated in the TIB survey, 20.6 per cent said they face water shortage throughout the year while 94 per cent said they suffer the same in summer.
Replying to a query about TIB’s statement that WASA has failed to supply the adequate water, Engr Taqsem said, “We have achieved water production capacity more than daily demand in Dhaka Metropolitan area. In 2009, daily water production capacity was 1,880 million litres per day (MLD) against daily demand of 2,120 MLD. But now, the production capacity has increased to 2,500 MLD against daily demand of 2,350 MLD.” The TIB report mentioned massive irregularities and corruption in WASA’s operation and customer services.
In reply, the WASA chief said, “There is no scope of irregularities or corruption as WASA has made application for water connection and setting up of deep tube-wells online while our billing system has been brought under automation.”
About revenue income, he said, “In fiscal year 2007-08, the revenue of Dhaka WASA was about Tk 3 billion while it has now increased to Tk 11.70 billion in 2017-18 fiscal.” In its report, TIB also mentioned about 51.5 per cent respondents said water supplied by WASA is unclean while 41.4 per cent said they get stinking water. In this regard, WASA MD said, “The water supplied by WASA is 100 per cent drinkable.” When asked about whether the WASA MD can drink water from any house of the city, Engr Taqsem said, “I will not drink tap water from your house. But I agree to drink from WASA pipeline. The problem is in reserve tank of households, as house owners do not clean theirs.”
“Our water is clean and fresh, but there are some problems in pipeline as some of our pipeline is very old”, he said, adding that WASA is working to change their old pipeline.
He also said, “Development partners like Asian Development Bank (ADB) has introduced Dhaka as a ‘role model’ to other developing countries of South Asia.” Mentioning a book published by ADB, Taqsem A Khan said, “Two researchers after their one month investigation at different areas of Dhaka city wrote a book that praised WASA’s contribution in connecting slums, water saving, raising revenues and becoming one of the best public water suppliers in South Asia. It is a world class report that contradicts TIB’s report.” He said, “By December 2019, all low income communities (LIC) of Dhaka city will be covered with legal water connection,” adding that biggest LICs of Dhaka City named Korail slum, Sattala slum and Bhasantek slum have already been brought under legal water connection.