Waterlogging in Dhaka has deteriorated to the point where a mere hour of rain is enough to flood a considerable part of the city.
Roads in various places including Mirpur Kazipara, Shewrapara, Ibrahimpur, Azimpur, Kalabagan, Matuail, Jatrabari, Jurain, Demra, Shanir Akhra, Dania, Shyampur, Motijheel, Rampura, Dhanmondi, Karwan Bazar, and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar were waterlogged on Sunday morning due to a storm that continued for slightly over an hour.
Traffic in these areas was stalled for hours, causing immense inconvenience to commuters.
Despite such unbearable sufferings, commuters and residents do not know how long they will have to wait to see the waterlogging problem solved as the authorities concerned have never been successful in their efforts to find a permanent solution.
Given the severity of the problem, some organizations, including both private and public ones, have conducted several studies to identify the major causes of waterlogging in the city.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) have recently jointly carried out such a study, the findings of which will be released around the middle of next month.
The Dhaka Tribune obtained a copy of the study report that describes the causes and possible solutions at length.
The draft report says sewage makes its way into nearby rivers, but the authorities are constructing a system of sewers that is not properly connected to the main streams or canals.
“If a drain or a sewer pipe is not properly linked with another drain or pipe, water will never drain away. Most of the drains in Dhaka are not correctly connected with one another, causing flood and waterlogging in the city,” said Mobasher Hossain, a renowned architect.
Causes of waterlogging
The sewerage system, water pumps, canals and rivers are maintained mainly by seven government bodies. Experts said there is a serious lapse of coordination among the organizations. As a result, the proper maintenance of the city’s drainage system cannot be ensured, they added.
“There is a lack of coordination among the organizations responsible… Development work is going on, unplanned and uncoordinated. Waterlogging will never be solved unless the bodies coordinate their efforts and work in tandem,” said Mobasher, former president of the Institute of Architects Bangladesh.
Echoing him, Shyfun Naher, project coordinator at the Social and Economic Enhancement Programme, said: “We always see the authorities are busy developing and repairing the drainage system all over the city. Their work never ends, as there is no coordination among the organizations.”
She also stressed the need for reclaiming canals that have been grabbed over the years.
In 2016, Annisul Haq, the late mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), took numerous measures to address the problem. As a result, the situations in such areas as Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara have noticeably improved.
However, people living in other areas including Mirpur, Mohammadpur, and Kuril are still reeling from the problem.
“Our work to mitigate the crisis at Mirpur, Mohammadpur, and some other places is in full swing. I hope the drainage development work will be completed before the monsoon,” Osman Goni, a DNCC panel mayor, said.