Sufferings added due to water crisis amid scorching heat

The crisis has emerged mainly due to the fall in the groundwater level, increasing demand and an inadequate number of deep tube wells

Dhaka WASA buildingFile photo

During this time of extreme heat a crisis in supply of Dhaka WASA’s water has emerged in several areas of the capital city. The crisis is acute in Adabor, Sheikherek, Jurain, Muradpur, Nandipara, Badda and Banasri areas. The Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority says the crisis has emerged due to the fall in the groundwater level, increase in demand due to extreme heat and an inadequate number of deep tube wells.

The water crisis has been lingering at Adabar Baitul Aman Housing Society for long. Speaking to Prothom Alo, Khairuzzaman, a dweller of the housing society said they have been suffering because of the water crisis in this Ramadan. They are being forced to buy water for Sehri and Iftar from the shops. If WASA is called, they provide water the day after the phone call, he added.

Baitul Aman Housing Society is included in the Dhaka WASA’s mods (Management, Operation and Development) zone-3 (Lalmatia Zone). Dhaka WASA sources said the water crisis in Adabar area is due to shortage of deep tube wells. Two more deep tube wells are required in the area but the WASA authority is not getting any place to set up them.

Consumers made 404 complaints to Dhaka WASA on Monday. Of them as many as 300 are from MODS Zone-3. That day the WASA received 1,224 requests for a vehicle to come and supply water, but the authority could meet only 723 demands. That means the Dhaka WASA is not being able to fully supply water to the houses of the crisis-hit areas.

The Dhaka WASA provides water by vehicles through its 10 MODS zones if any request is made. The request for such vehicles has increased as the water crisis has intensified in different areas of the capital but the WASA is not being able to meet that demand. As a result, the sufferings of the people have intensified.

It costs Tk 600 for every 6000-litre water vehicle of Dhaka WASA. But many consumers complained that they are not getting the supply despite putting in their requests in advance. At the same time, one needs to pay some “extra” money to get the water supply through vehicles, jumping the serial.

As per the Dhaka WASA’s daily water production report, the body has 1061 pumps. Among them, 914 regular pumps and 142 stand-by pumps have been operating while several stand-by pumps are not in operation. These pumps have been producing 2.9-2.93 billion litres of water every day.

Dhaka WASA claims it produces more than the required amount of water. But the crisis emerges in several areas as it has not a “rationing” system for all areas. Rationing system is when WASA meets demands of water in any area if it faces crisis or a deep tube well in that area becomes inoperative.

There is a water crisis in Nandipara-Banasri areas that fell within the MODS Zone-6 of Dhaka WASA. The demand for water vehicles from that area on Monday was 226 but the WASA could provide only 61 vehicles.

The people of Alifnagar area in Merul Badda have been facing acute water crisis for the last seven days. Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md. Sohel from Puraton Masjid of Alifnagar area said they have been suffering the most due to water crisis in this extreme heat this Ramadan. None of his family members could take a shower for the last three days. He said he asked to WASA for a vehicle of water but it did not reach to him even in two days.

Speaking to Prothom Alo about the ongoing water crisis, Dhaka WASA’s deputy managing director AKM Sahid Uddin said the water crisis has emerged in some areas temporarily. The use of water has increased due to heat. The production of water through deep tube well has also decreased in some areas. The situation will return to normalcy when it will rain.

He further said they are not getting the place to install deep tube wells in Adabar, Shekhertek and Baitul Aman Housing Society.

Dhaka WASA requested the consumers to contact hotline no. 16162 if water crisis emerges in any area. It also said the crisis will be addressed within 24-72 hours.

Nearly 80 per cent of water Dhaka WASA supplied in 2010 was from groundwater while 20 per cent was from surface water. WASA announced an increase in supply of water to 70 per cent from surface water sources by 2021. But it could not meet the goal. Nearly 70-75 per cent of the water it produces every day is still groundwater.

* The report was originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza