Water crisis in Ctg to deepen

March 27, 2012

Wasa struggles to meet growing demand in summer
Chittagong city will face a deeper water crisis from April when demand for water is projected to peak to a level three times the water supplying authorities are able to supply.
The crisis is already unbearable with Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) supplying just around 200 million litres of water per day against a demand for 500 to 550 million litres.
The authorities said beginning from April, the demand will go up by another 100 million litres.
This means, city dwellers cannot expect to get water supply daily or even once in three days. Based on their last year’s experience, some city dwellers said they might get water supply once in 10 days.
Wasa officials said this situation was created by the negligence of successive governments to set up new water treatment plants in pace with the city’s population growth.
Chittagong Wasa Managing Director (MD) AKM Fazlullah said there is no way to avoid the water crisis this summer. But in the future, implementation of two projects will improve the situation.
“It will take another three to four years to decrease the gap between supply and demand. The crisis will come under control with the completion of the Karnaphuli Water Supply Project in Pomra in 2014, and Chittagong Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project in Modunaghat area in 2015,” he noted.
The two schemes will pump in an additional 226 million litres of water per day — increasing daily water supply level to 426 million litres. The existing crisis will ease, but there will still be a good gap between demand and supply.
To deal with the crisis, the Wasa chief said he sent two proposals to the government for two more new water treatment plants, and both of those are likely to be approved.
“Since 1988, successive governments did not take any initiative to set up water supply projects. Chittagong Wasa has been running haphazardly for a long time. This pushed the agency into a deep crisis,” the MD said.
To make the ongoing crisis worse, the existing deep tubewells that produce more than a half of the daily water supply are regularly under-performing due to various technical problems including power supply disruptions.
Little less than a half of the city’s water is supplied from surface water by Mohora plant at Modunaghat.
Wasa Chief Engineer Abdul Karim Chowdhury told The Daily Star that this year they took preparations to overcome the technical problems related to deep tubewell operation. To ensure continuous power supply to 55 deep tubewell stations, Wasa obtained exclusive power line from the Power Development Board. Besides, they are keeping alternate power generators as backup for 20 deep tubewells.
City dwellers meanwhile are utterly frustrated living without a basic amenity like water. “There are times when we did not get any water supply for up to 15 days,” said Rita Chowdhury of Jaynagar in Chawkbazar area.
She said in normal times Wasa supplies water for three days in a week. “But during summer, they provide us with water once in 10 days. And this continues for at least four months beginning in April,” she added.
In such a dire situation, how does she cope with the need for water for drinking, cooking and washing? “We have to use the same water twice a day for washing things, being fully aware how unhygienic this can be,” Rita said.
“For drinking and cooking, we have to buy bottled water.” She said they informed Wasa several times about the problem, but did not get any satisfactory answer from them. She also complained about the paid water truck service, saying the service is too hard to get.
Bukghona area resident Imtiaz Uddin Chowdhury said though their area is very close to the Wasa head office, they also face water crisis. He said some residents of that area, who are economically better off, set up deep tubewells at their houses. But people who have been using the supply lines of Wasa have been suffering from water crisis during summer. As they do not get the supply water, they have to go to other people’s houses that have deep tubewells to get water, Imtiaz added.
It is not only a crisis in Chwakbazar and Bukghona areas, but also a problem all over the city.

-With The Daily Star input

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