Tuesday, 26 September, 2023

Triple whammy for city dwellers

Acute water crisis hits many areas amid scorching heat, frequent power cuts

Triple whammy for city dwellers
People queue to collect water from the Buddhist Monastery at Basabo on Wednesday as an acute water crisis has hit many areas of the capital. – SUN PHOTO

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Amid sweltering heat coupled with frequent power cuts, residents of many areas in the capital have been facing an acute water crisis for the last few days, throwing their lives into complete disarray.

Locals said there is no water at all in a number of areas while the supply is inadequate in other areas.

Due to the water crisis, people are unable to meet their basic needs, including cooking, bathing and washing.

Many were meeting their everyday works buying water jars and water from Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) tankers for which they have to pay more than the fixed price.

However, most of the people are unable to fetch water, which has made their lives a misery.

Some even go to relatives' houses to take their bath and wash clothes. The elderly people are the worst sufferers as they are unable to move.

The residents of Mirhazirbagh in Jatrabari took to the streets on Wednesday and staged demonstration blocking road for nearly an hour demanding supply of water.

The water crisis has turned acute in a number of areas, including Vatara, Badda, Mirpur, Shewrapara, Uttara and Jatrabari.

People in several areas of Mirpur, Vatara and Uttara said they have been suffering from the water crisis for the last one week.

They lamented that they have to spend additional money beyond the WASA charge every month on water.

“We didn’t get a single drop of water on Tuesday,” said Rabeya Begum, a resident of Anandanagar.

Altaf Hossain, a resident of Kuril Biswa Road area, said, “We have been facing shortage of water supply for the last several days. Due to the water crisis, I couldn’t take my bath for a couple of days,” he said.

Anindita Naheen of Vatara also alleged that they have been facing an acute water crisis for the last several days. “If the crisis prolongs, it’ll be very difficult for us to survive. Like me, many of the residents have spoken to the WASA authorities regarding the issue but to no avail,” she said, demanding an immediate solution to the problem.

Al-Amin, a resident of Mirpur-6, said people in their neighbourhood had been having a water crisis for the last four days and they are unable to do their everyday works -- bathing, cooking and washing-- multiplying their sufferings.

“We now receive water only for 15-20 minutes a day. The caretaker of our house has told us to preserve water when it’s available… we save water in buckets and pots for essential uses as much as we can. But the quantity is far inadequate for my family,” he added.

Many alleged that the price of water they buy from WASA went up due to the huge demand amid the crisis.

“We've been purchasing water jars at Tk 60 each though the price was Tk 50 just two days back,” said Shahed, a resident of Shewrapara.

People living in other areas, including Mugda, Hazaribagh, Manda, Demra and Postagola, also complained about dirty and stinky water.

According to WASA sources, the ongoing load shedding, depletion of ground water and equipment malfunction of deep tube wells are the main reasons behind the water crisis.

The water consumption has gone up due to the hot weather, they said, adding that though the production of surface water comes down in summer in the absence of rain, the problem is not widespread and serious.

Dhaka WASA spokesperson Mostafa Tarek attributed the limitation in water management to power shortage in recent days. “We have 1,035 pumps for water management in Dhaka while the number of generators is only 400. It’ll take a few more days to become normal.”

They are utilising their 37 mobile generators to serve the areas where there is water shortage, Mostafa Tarek, deputy chief public information officer, said.

He said Dhaka Wasa has maintained ‘supervisory controlled data acquisition’ system to assess the area-based rationing for water supply.

At present, Dhaka WASA manages 60 percent water from underground and 40 percent from surface level. “The authorities concerned are working to reduce dependency on underground water by sourcing 70 percent surface water next ten years,” said the WASA official.