IT IS very unfortunate that although the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, as its managing director is quoted in a New Age report on Thursday to have claimed, currently has the capacity to produce on average 217 crore litres of water a day against the demand for 220 crore litres, a significant portion of the city dwellers still have to face severe water crisis. According to WASA officials, the authorities’ failure to supply adequate fuel to run the generators installed recently at the water pumps in different areas to avert any disruption in water production due to power cuts that frequently hit the city is to blame for all this.
As mentioned in the report, out of 612 water pumps, 204 have dual power connections while 433 have permanent generators. Additionally, it has 60 mobile generators as well. Regrettably, however, due to fuel crisis, all of them have to sit idle during at least half of the load shedding hours. According to WASA’s system, operation and control division, while the areas experienced 1,883 hours of load shedding from 6:00am on April 23 to 6:00am on April 24, the generators were active for 904.5 hours.
Shortage of water has become a perennial problem for city dwellers over the years so much so that they have taken to the street on several occasions in demand for its redress. Whenever such public protests take place, the authorities come up with a host of pledges that they hardly implement.
Indeed, following repeated hikes in the price of fuel oils ever since the incumbents took office in 2009, diesel has become costly. However, it is also true that people can hardly pass a day — and, that too, in a sweltering summer, without water.
The government needs to realise that its inability to allow WASA to continue with its water production during power outage by supplying fuel as per its requirement provides another pointer on its failure to ensure basic amenities for the citizens, in violation of its electoral pledges. Of course, WASA needs to ensure strict monitoring in order to stem misuse and pilferage of fuel, which has already been alleged by some quarters.
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