Saturday, 16 October, 2021
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Ensuring access to safe drinking water

Ensuring access to safe drinking water

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A back-paged story in yesterday’s Daily Sun informs that DWASA inked a Tk 5.18 billion deal with China Geo-Engineering Corporation for installing a 25-kilometre reinforcement pipeline for supplying water to different areas in the capital. The pipeline will be used to supply water from the Gandharbpur water treatment plant which is being set up at Araihazar Upazila of Naryanganj to refine water of the Meghna. The construction of the treatment plant and supply line is going to be an important breakthrough in fulfilling the ever increasing demand for potable water in the city. More importantly, it will reduce our dependency on ground water.

According to an estimate, about 78 per cent of total water consumption in Dhaka is fulfilled by extracting ground water. As a result the city’s underground water table has been sinking about three metres per year. This has long been a cause for serious concern. Moreover, over-extraction of ground water is causing ecological imbalance by creating vacuum beneath the surface which may result in collapse of buildings and other infrastructures.

Therefore, it is imperative for the authorities concerned to explore possibilities for creating more sustainable water resources from the surface. Construction of Gandharbpur water treatment is one such step forward. We hope a national water grid line will be set up by implementing more water treatment projects to purify river water. Apart from river water purifying, the authorities can also set focus on rain water harvesting and water recycling, and regulate how much water can be drawn out of the ground.

However, as the country is implementing large projects to purify river water, taking concrete steps to free the rivers from pollution has become all the more important. There are a number of rivers around Dhaka but pollution has rendered the water of those rivers all but untreatable. Industrial and household wastes that are being discharged into rivers have not only polluted the surface water; those also have a direct bearing on ground water contamination. So if we cannot address water pollution in our rivers right now, the cost of neglect and inaction will be catastrophic for the nation as a whole.