Water Supply in Dhaka: Crisis turns acute

By: Helemul Alam

With the summer approaching, the water crisis in some neighbourhoods of the capital has taken a turn for the worse. Residents of Shekhertek, Kazipara, Islampur, Farmgate, Tejkunipara, Nodda, Badda, Karwan Bazar and even such affluent areas as Gulshan have been going through untold sufferings.

Humayun Kabir, a resident of Gulshan, said, “The toilets in my house have become stinky as we cannot flush our toilets due to the water crisis. “How can we live like this? Tell me.”

Ayaan N Ahmed Faruck Chowdhrury, a resident of Road-116 of Gulshan, said he purchased 15 jars of water every day to meet the basic needs of his family. “It increases our expenses as each jar costs Tk 60,” he added. “Though the owner of our building purchases water from Wasa’s lorry, we get only three to four buckets of water, which is very insufficient,” Ayaan said. The residents of Road-104 to -126 of Gulshan are the worst sufferers as many of them have not got even a drop of water since the last week of February.

Anwarul Hossain Khan Choudhury, former lawmaker and a resident of Road-116 in Gulshan, said the condition is so bad that inhabitants of the area buy bottled water for drinking and cooking and take a bath once a week or fortnight. The situation is even more pathetic in Shekhertek of Mohammadpur.

Amin Chowdhury, a resident of Shekhertek Road-4, has been unable to have a bath or shower for the last 22 days due to the water crisis in the area. “I have skin disease on my head and other parts of my body now,” an angry Amin told The Daily Star on Friday. “What we are doing is just rubbing our bodies with wet towels,” he said.

Another resident of the area, Asgar Ali, said the water crisis took a turn for the worse over the last one and a half months. The crisis has hit around 100 homes on the road.

“We have been purchasing water from Wasa’s lorries every other day,” he said.

Against this backdrop, Wasa has been claiming that it is doing everything to solve the water crisis in the summer. Wasa officials said the water crisis was not so acute this year compared to previous years as they had taken necessary measures early on. The water supply will improve significantly in the summer, they claimed. City dwellers are not convinced. They said if the situation was like this even before summer, what would happen in the scorching heat of summer?

The water crisis took a turn for the worse in Tejkunipara of Tejgaon in the last few weeks. The residents of the area even blocked a street near Bijoy Sarani intersection for two-and-a-half hours on March 26. Taqsem Khan, Managing Director of Wasa, claimed that only one or two percent of the pumps of Wasa, among the 606, were having problems for which some residents had been facing the crisis.

He said on Friday that Wasa had been working to set up a pump on Road 41 in Gulshan, which would be completed within a week and setting up of another pump on Road-123 was also going on. He said with the two pumps up and running, the crisis in Gulshan would be over. Taqsem said the water crisis in Shekhertek was also due to pump issues and those concerned were working to fix the problem.

Source: The Daily Star

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