Fresh water woes for city dwellers

Water supply in the city marked a substantial rise with the commissioning of the second Saidabad Water Treatment Plant in December last year, but the city dwellers are still suffering from fresh water woes as the authorities cannot improve its quality.The residents of city’s Maniknagar, Mugda, Moghbazar, Malibagh, Basabo, Khilgaon, Rampura and old part of Dhaka are complaining that the Dhaka Wasa supplies poor quality of water in dry session, and this summer is no exception.
They alleged that Wasa is currently supplying very poor quality of water, which is unusable even for shower, let alone drinking.
Atiqur Rahman, a resident of Maghbazar, said although Wasa faces trouble in supplying adequate water to city dwellers in summer each year, it does not face any water crisis this year. But, Wasa is supplying contaminated water, which is not safe for drinking. “Now we’ve to depend on bottled water, which is pinching our pockets.”
Suraya Akhter Rima, who lives in Old Dhaka, also said the quality of Wasa water falls in dry session every year. “We’re getting contaminated and stinking water…Sometimes we find black substance in it, too.”
“Many people in Old Dhaka are suffering from waterborne diseases like diarrhoea after consumption of contaminated water,” Rima said.
But, managing director of Dhaka Wasa Taksim A Khan denied the allegation and said, “The quality of Wasa water is absolutely fine. All the sources of Wasa water are clean as it’s being supplied ensuring the WHO criteria,” he said.
Khan, however, said about 78 percent of Wasa water comes from underground sources, which is safe to drink, but the water gets contaminated during supply through pipelines.
“Many people in the city’s pocket areas like Old Dhaka leak the pipelines to pilfer water. When the pressure of water in pipelines is come down, the sewerage water enters the pipelines and contaminates the Wasa water.”
He said when the authorities concerned find such leaks, they take steps immediately to repair the pipelines, but a huge amount of money and manpower is needed to put an end to it.
The Wasa managing director said if water reservoirs and tanks are not cleaned after a certain time gap, the water also gets contaminated. “So, people are advised to drink boiled water.”
About surface water treatment, he said Wasa has already installed a pretreatment plant in Saidabad Water Treatment Plant to treat highly chemical-contaminated river water.
Official sources said most of the water that Wasa produces comes from either surface water sources (rivers or lakes) or underground sources. Water from these sources is treated at water treatment plants to remove impurities, reducing the risk of the transmission of waterborne diseases.
Officials said with the commissioning of the second phase of Saidabad Water Treatment Plant, the production capacity of Dhaka Wasa now stands at around 242 crore liter a day against the demand for 213 crore. Now Wasa can stop operation of 100 underground water lifting power pumps. UNB

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