Staff Correspondent, NewAge, August 7, 2008. Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority is contemplating increasing the price of piped water by about 20 per cent. The WASA authorities plan to increase water price came in the wake of increased fuel cost, inflation and to minimise the system loss.
‘We are seriously thinking of rising the price of water price by nearly 20 per cent and will make a proposal in this regard to the ministry soon,’ Abdullah Haroon Pasha, chairman of Dhaka WASA, told a seminar, styled ‘Integrated management of urban water cycle: Singapore’s experience’ organised by the Dhaka WASA in its conference room.
Shaikh Khurshid Alam, secretary of local government division of the LGRD ministry, was present as the chief guest at the seminar presided over by Haroon Pasha. Justifying his proposal to hike the price of water, Haroon said the increase would make the people cautious about proper use of water and help further reduction in the system loss.
He said the system loss of the water supply agency had come down to less than 35 per cent from 45 per cent in 2005. The Dhaka WASA claims that it supplies an estimated 180 crore litres of water a day against the demand of more than 200 crore litres for domestic as well as industrial consumption. The domestic consumers are now paying Tk 5.50 per thousand litres and the commercial and industrial consumers pay Tk 18.25 for the same.
An official of the utility service agency said there would be more than 3 lakh holdings under the Dhaka City Corporation of which only 2.55 lakh are authorised consumers. ‘The Dhaka WASA is able to collect less than 60 per cent price of its total supplied water due to huge number of unauthorised connections,’ the official added. He said the Dhaka WASA could not afford waiting for raising the price of piped water as it had to keep pace with the increased fuel cost as well as the increase in inflation.
Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority as well as experts asked the government to take immediate and realistic steps to make the alternative sources of water useable to mitigate the water crisis of the capital. ‘The government should take immediate measures to use the alternative sources of water like rainwater, constructing sufficient water reservoir around the capital and setting up of wastewater and effluent treatment plants,’ the Dhaka WASA managing director, Raihanul Abedin, said while presenting the keynote paper in the seminar.
‘The groundwater level has been dropping alarmingly in the city due to excessive dependence on it. Currently, 86 per cent of total water is coming from the groundwater,’ Abedin said, adding, ‘The groundwater level is declining by about three metres every year.’