WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN DHAKA CITY: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
Keywords:WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Bangladesh is blessed with abundant fresh water from its natural water bodies, downfall from upstream through rivers and canals, monsoon rainfall and aquifers within few hundred feet throughout the country. Similarly the capital of the country Dhaka along with the mentioned blessings, is also surrounded with extensive wet lands, lakes and famous rivers. The annual rainfall at Dhaka is also higher than average rainfall in Bangladesh. Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is primarily responsible for fresh water supply for the dwellers of capital Dhaka city. The city in last four decades has grown many folds and now comprises of population over 15 million. The haphazard growth of Dhaka city, specially in terms of residential and industrial mix ups, caused the filling up of low, wet lands and natural canals, causing serious pollution of all the surrounding rivers. As a consequence, in one side, surface water runoff capability has decreased tremendously causing floods and water loggings; on the other hand DWASA is unable to use surface water from polluted rivers, thereby remained over dependent on ground water for supplying huge demand of water for city dwellers. In fact, due to over extraction of groundwater, the water table in-and-around Dhaka city has already gone down and the annual rate of groundwater table drop is 7-10 ft depending on the recharge phenomenon. If the drop of water table continues in similar rate DWASA will be unable for sustained water supply through existing system. More so, dependence on existing system would cause serious ecological unbalance and would force polluted and salt water ingestion underground, threatening the existing aquifers. The construction of Dhaka western embankment has improved the flood situation at western side but the planned Dhaka eastern embankment has not yet been constructed in last 25 years. As such during flood, and heavy rain, the eastern Dhaka mostly get inundated. An integrated master plan, comprising all the related stake holders or agencies, needs to be executed for effective water runoff system for Dhaka City. Accordingly, all concerned need to be aware of the situation and strict compliance of the rules must be materialized for sustainable water management for capital Dhaka City.
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