Tuesday, 19 October, 2021

Resolve waterlogging misery of Dhaka dwellers

Resolve waterlogging misery of Dhaka dwellers

The problem:

In the rainy season, Dhaka city residents have to face a lot of miseries because of waterlogging. Even after an ordinary rainfall, Dhaka roads go under knee-to-waist-deep water. Going from one place to another becomes quite difficult as the streets get inundated with rainwater. The city residents go through severe waterlogging from May to October every year, which experts say is a consequence of unplanned and rapid urbanisation in Dhaka city and its surroundings. Many low-lying sites of the city also gets submerged for days together. Sometimes, people have to walk through messy water mixed with sewage, which can cause waterborne skin diseases.

 Future impact of flawed solutions:

Despite various ambitious projects, programs and plans adopted by the authorities over the years, the dwellers of low-lying sites in Dhaka and its surroundings face waterlogging during the monsoon. According to a World Bank research revealed in November 2015, the potential losses from waterlogging between 2014 and 2050 will be Tk 11,000 crore in Dhaka, if climate change is not calculated. In a changing climate with more severe rainfalls, this damage will be Tk 13,900 crore between 2014 and 2050. We have not yet noticed any tangible plans from the respective authorities, although such situations inside Dhaka city have been prevailing for a long time.

Causes behind the problem:

In the last 30 years, urban designers and planners had warned several times that swift urbanisation of Dhaka had resulted in a substantial increase in impenetrable areas, creating a barrier to natural drainage patterns, declining the water retention basins, which led to the compressing of the runoff concentration-time and a rise of the peak flow. If we note carefully, we will find that unplanned construction of buildings, encroachment of water bodies and canals, random littering are some of the leading causes behind this perennial waterlogging problem.

Solution lies within the problem:

The capital city’s drainage network was planned to discharge rainwater to the surrounding four rivers-Buriganga, Turag, Balu, and Shitalakhya through the existing 26 canals. These four rivers are under threat as grabbers are still seizing and occupying various river bank sites. According to WASA the capital used to have 65 canals but over time the number has declined to 43. Of the existing ones, around 20 canals have also nearly disappeared.

Solving waterlogging permanently:

Illegal constructions on the drains and canals must be eliminated to reclaim them. The drains and canals of the city should be excavated and cleared of garbage and debris. The drainage network must be always clear to enable free flow. The authorities concerned should address these problems right away and come forward with a fixed solution so that waterlogging does not remain a problem for our capital city.

Authorities entrusted to solve waterlogging:

We expect the two city corporations, Rajuk, Water Development Board, WASA, and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation will adopt unified actions and devise a master plan to resolve the problem of waterlogging as soon as possible.


Tamim Anowar, student of

Jagannath University, Dhaka.