• Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Enough water for everyone

  • Published at 05:48 pm January 23rd, 2018
  • Last updated at 12:01 am January 24th, 2018
Enough water for everyone
The day was November 15, 2017. The weather was hot and sunny, and there was hardly any chance of rain. I went to one of the most densely populated slums of Dhaka -- Kallayanpur Pora Bosti regarding some research activities. After having breakfast at a local restaurant, I ordered a cup of tea. While sipping tea, I noticed a group of women standing in a queue to collect water for their daily household chores. But after some time, I noticed that some of the women were leaving the place without any water. Their face was filled with anxiety. Upon speaking to one of them, the woman uttered: “This is a regular case here. Water is not available all the time. If you want to get it, you have to stand in a queue early in the morning. You have to use the specific water point which is authorized by the local authority. About 10-12 families use a single water supply point. Otherwise, it would be difficult to collect water when you need it.” The scarcity of water in Dhaka city is no news, but that day I got to see the real picture. It isn’t just this slum that is suffering from a lack of water -- this problem is city-wide. Statistical evidence shows that, between 1970 and 1990, there was fast growth of groundwater exploitation in most portions of the developing country due to unplanned urbanization. Despite enormous groundwater resources, the development of water sources has not advanced, and has not kept pace with the high population growth. In Dhaka, city-dwellers depend largely on groundwater in order to meet their daily water demand. The central part of Dhaka city is especially vulnerable, as the highest depletion rate has been recorded here. For example, according to Bangladesh Water Development Board, in 2010, the depth of groundwater table in the Dhanmondi area was recorded approximately 66 meters below the earth surface, whereas in 1980, 1990, and 2000, the number was estimated to me 10.12m, 15.4m, and 40.12m respectively. Such fluctuation of groundwater table is caused by over-exploitation of water resources, consumed by the huge population of Dhaka, and lack of recharge facilities. As water shortage is considered to be one of the most crucial issues afflicting the capital, immediate steps should be undertaken to solve this vital problem and not to procrastinate. To minimize the water crisis, rainwater harvesting might be an effective technique to employ. It could be implemented by using streets, pavements, rooftops, and parks. Recycling waste water could be another effective technique to mitigate this problem. In addition, scientific research using geo-spatial technologies should be increased to understand the hydro-geological conditions and rainfall patterns of our country. Enhancing public awareness and capacity building programs could be other efficacious options. In order to have a continuous supply of groundwater for the dwellers of this mega city, joint collaboration between government and non-government organizations is imperative to ease the present scenario of groundwater. SM Saify Iqbal is a Research Assistant at Centre for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD).