WASA to source water from Meghna
Staff Correspondent: With waters of four rivers surrounding Dhaka city getting polluted, the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) has initiated a move to supply surface water from Meghna River to the capital. Asian Development Bank (ADB) is likely to finance the project with a fund of $737 million.
This was disclosed at a seminar titled “Strengthening Monitoring and Enforcement in the Meghna River for Dhaka’s Sustainable Water Supply” held at a city hotel yesterday.
Admitting the government’s failure in protecting the four rivers – Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakkhya – from pollution, Environment and Forest Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said now Meghna river has to be protected from pollution through monitoring and enforcement of law.
“We have enough laws, but the only problem is lack of enforcement”, he told the seminar held under the joint aegis of Department of Environment, ADB, Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and Dhaka WASA to discuss a study report on ‘Protecting Water Quality of the Meghna River for Dhaka’s Sustainable Water Supply.’
The seminar was also addressed, among others, by Charge de Affairs and Counsellor of Japanese Embassy in Dhaka Yasuharu Shinto, Environment and Forest secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, ADB country director Manmohan Parkash, Dhaka WASA Managing Director Taqsem A Khan and additional secretary at Environment and Forest Ministry Dr SM Manjurul Mannan.
Team leader of the study team R Hans Aalderink made a keynote presentation on the Meghna River water. Environment and Forest Minister said this has been unfortunate that having been surrounded by four rivers, Dhaka has to move for bring water from Meghna river, about 100 km away from the capital.
He also apprehended that after construction of the Padma Bridge, the Padma river may get polluted too if any action plan is not prepared with strong monitoring and enforcement of law.
The minister said once the Padma bridge is completed, a lot of economic activities like industrialisation will take place alongside the river banks as people always prefer the place suitable to communicate through roads and rivers.
Supporting the study team recommendations for declaring some 10 km areas of the Meghna river at the proposed Bishnondi water intake point as ecologically critical area, he said both the DoE and Dhaka Wasa will work together to implement the recommendations. “Otherwise, such recommendations will not be implemented.”
He mentioned that two of the Saidabad water treatment plants are facing problem due to heavy pollutions at the Shitalakkhya river.
Study team leader R Hans Aalderink discussed various ecological, technical and chemical aspects of Meghna river and said still the water of the river is found to be good.
“But some 10 big industries are contributing pollution to the river which should be prevented by taking measures,” he said.
ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash said the Bank will continue its support for water supply projects in Dhaka city.
Taksem A Khan said the Dhaka Wasa is now implementing projects to ensure piped water for all the areas including slums.
He said the new project will be implemented with the help of donor agencies.