80pc Wasa water being misused


About 80 percent of the supply water in the city is being misused simply for lack of awareness of the users, experts told a discussion here yesterday.

They said the city dwellers consciously or unconsciously misuse 80 percent of the supply water, which is nearly pure or could be used with simple purification.

The discussion titled “Water Problem of Dhaka city: Citizens’ Views” was jointly organised by two NGOs –ActionAid and Nagorik Sanghati –at the National Press Club.

Advocate Rahmat Ali, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on LGRD ministry spoke at the programme as chief guest with Nagorik Sanghati President Prof ASM Atiqur Rahman in the chair.

The speakers said a comprehensive water management policy is needed to resolve the city’s water crisis, especially drinking water, emphasising on public-private partnership programme and building rainwater reserve bodies.

Rahmat Ali, however, said it is unlikely that the water supply problem would be solved any time soon but the government has taken effective plans to tackle the crisis.

He said the government would solve the water problem in the city in phases by 2013 and water would be brought from the Bay, if necessary, by setting up desalination plants.

Engineer Sardar Amin said lack of coordination among different ministries and officials concerned has made the water supply even more fragile. “The government should take an inclusive step so that industrial wastes cannot pollute the rivers nearby Dhaka city.”

The government should form an inter-ministerial committee involving water resources, foreign, food, agriculture, river, industries and other ministries concerned and Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution and other establishments concerned to deal with the problem, Sardar said.

In his presentation, ActionAid theme leader Tawhid Ibn Farid said Dhaka Wasa suffered a loss of Tk 2.3 crore in its ‘Shanti Water Project’ in the last two fiscal years although other private companies are making huge profits by selling water. “But, the authorities concerned are reluctant about it.”

Advocate Sanzida Khanam, MP, Shaheda Tareq, MP, former Wasa chief Engineer Qazi Muhammad Shish, Prof Shahidul Islam and water expert Prof Moniruzzaman Mia, among others, spoke at the discussion.

Source: The Daily Star, 05 April 2009

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