Water crisis intensifies on Ramadan eve

Thousands of people in around 30 areas of the city are suffering immensely for severe crisis of pure and safe drinking water since the last couple of weeks.
Consequently, agitation is brewing among the city dwellers over the role of Dhaka WASA. Locals complained that unbridled corruption and anomalies of some unscrupulous officials of the Dhaka WASA are the main reasons behind the disruption of water supply at the beginning of summer, and the eve of the Ramadan.

If WASA was sincere about the issue, such situation would not be created at this time, they claimed. “We are getting scanty supply of water from the WASA’s pipelines once or twice a day. But, the water is mostly unusable due to its filthy and stinky condition. We can’t use it for regular work like washing, cleaning, bathing and cooking. We are being forced to purchase water from outside for regular use, which adds additional cost to our living,” said Bahaz Uddin, 45, a resident at Shewrapara in the capital.

Ramicha Bewa, 35, of the city’s Jurain area said, “We are facing acute crisis of safe drinking water for the last two months. A little amount of water is supplied to us in the morning and evening through the WASA’s supply lines. But, the water carries a lot of dirt and a bad smell that pose a serious health hazard. The dirt and bad smell cannot be gotten rid of, even after filtering with high powered machines. Consequently, regular activities like bathing, cleaning and cooking are being hampered.”

“Many people including children are being affected with different types of diseases like abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, dysentery and skin infection after using and drinking the dirty and smelly water supplied through the WASA pipelines. Sufferings from water have now become a regular phenomenon,” she added.
Brushing aside the allegation, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) said, this problem is temporary. Such situation has been created due to faulty pipe lines and recession of underground water level. But, they are working hard to resolve the crisis.

During a recent visit to different areas including Shewrapara, Jurain, Kadamtoli, Chawkbazar, Nakhalpara, Manikdi, Kachukhet, Bhasantek, Muradpur and Islambag, this correspondent found people facing immense sufferings for want of pure and safe drinking water. They also apprehended that the crisis may take a serious turn during the upcoming Ramadan.

A recent survey of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) revealed that around 44 percent residents of the city are being deprived of proper services from the WASA, while condition of 30 areas including Shewrapara, Jurain, Kadamtoli, Chawkbazar, Nakhalpara, Kachukhet, Bhasantek and Nilkhet is worse. People of those areas are not getting water as per their regular demand.”

The organization also claimed that WASA cannot implement any project perfectly due to internal corruption and anomalies. Since 2014, the organization has undertaken 14 projects with a view to reducing dependence on underground water and removing stagnant water from the city. However, the projects are yet to see light, even though the completion deadlines of some projects have already been exceeded.

According to the sources of WASA, there are around 900 pumps in the city, which are capable to supply 255 crore litres of water a year against the total demand of 240 crore litres. However, WASA fails to cover the demand due to unknown reasons. Under the circumstances, WASA has started District Metered Area (DMA) system to fulfill the demand of city dwellers. In this system, water will be supplied to a community through a specific pump.

Engr Taqsem A Khan, Managing Director (MD) of WASA said, “We are implementing 165 DMA projects at a cost of Tk 200 crore. Meanwhile, the work of 45 pumps has been completed. To complete the rest of the work, our people are working hard.” “After completion of the projects, the crisis will be resolved completely,” he added.