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Dhaka Tribune

Wasa rebuffs water crisis in Dhaka

  • Crisis began before Ramadan
  • 10 deep tubewells fixed in one month
  • Jurain, Malibagh, Gulbagh badly hit
  • Wasa yet to increase use of surface water
Update : 02 Apr 2024, 10:00 AM

The water shortage in Dhaka is a regular phenomenon every year. The crisis increases at the end of winter, specifically in April and May due to lower extraction, triggered by depletion in groundwater levels, and higher demand as the temperature keeps rising.

This year, some deep tubewells became dysfunctional before the beginning of Ramadan, triggering crises in many areas of the capital and causing sufferings for residents, especially those who are fasting.

Experts fear that the shortage may increase with the rise in temperatures till July.

While the situation has improved in some areas after the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) took steps to repair the pumps and supply water via trucks run with generators, hundreds of thousands of residents of Jurain, Malibagh and Gulbagh areas were yet to see any progress in the month that has gone by.

Dhaka Wasa officials, however, term the allegations absurd and claim that there is no shortage of water anywhere in the capital. There may be some temporary problems, which will be resolved within a day or two. Officials say problems may be there, but no one should exaggerate the crisis.

Apart from the shortage, Wasa is embattled by allegations of supplying bad-smelling substandard water and is criticised for planning to raise the price. Earlier, between 2009 and 2021, Dhaka Wasa hiked water prices 14 times.

According to sources, water shortages have been reported since the beginning of Ramadan in some areas of Dhaka South City Corporation, including Lalbagh, Dholaikhal, Wari, Rayerbagh, and Jurain, and Malibagh, Gulbagh, Mohammadbagh, Shyampur, Agargaon, Shewrapara, Kuril, and Azampur of North City Corporation.

Lalbagh is under the jurisdiction of Dhaka Wasa Mods Zone-II (Regional Office). Mohammad Nazrul Islam, executive engineer of this zone, said: "A deep tubewell was shut down in Lalbagh. As a result, the amount of water withdrawal dropped. Wasa’s technical team has fixed the tubewell, and the problem is solved now.”

The pump in Shewrapara, under the southwest zone of Wasa, was damaged before Ramadan. Wasa says the tubewell has been repaired and so there will be no shortage for now.

Anwar Hossain, a resident of Jurain, was outraged about the water shortage. “There has been a shortage for the past one week. Moreover, the colour of the water is very bad. No one will want to use this water. I filed a complaint with the local Wasa office two days ago. But still there is no solution.”

Locals in Malibagh and Gulbagh have been facing shortages for the past two weeks. However, Wasa officials assert that they have resolved the crisis by repairing the pump.

A Wasa official, who did not want to be named, said that there was a crisis in Agargaon, Rayerbagh, “T” Block of Mirpur Section 6, Nama Shyampur, Mohammadbagh, Azampur, Jurain, and Kuril. But this is a temporary problem.

Sometimes, the crisis is seen in some areas due to a lack of a “rationing” system. It means if there is a water shortage in one area or if a deep tubewell is dysfunctional, water is brought from a nearby area to meet the demand.

Officials of the Urban Service that repairs the tubewells say it takes seven to eight days to fix a unit. They have repaired tubewells in at least 10 places in Dhaka in the last month.

Wasa Deputy Managing Director AKM Sahid Uddin told Bangla Tribune that there is no shortage of water anywhere in the capital.

“However, there may be local temporary problems. We will resolve that issue within a day or two. We have also resolved the issue in Malibagh and Shewrapara. Power cuts temporarily halted the water lifting operation in Lalbagh. Now that too has been fixed.

“People sometimes talk nonsense about the water shortage.”

He asked people to call 16162 and make a complaint and get their problem solved within 24 to 72 hours.

Dhaka Wasa claims that production in Dhaka is greater than demand. Currently, demand for water in Dhaka is 26 million litres per day, against a production capacity of 29 million litres.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Wasa has yet to achieve its goal of increasing surface water production to at least 70% by 2021.The reality is that 70% of its production comes from underground sources. In 2010, around 80% of the water came from underground sources, drawn through deep tubewells.

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