Ripples of reform in Dhaka(Indian express summary-27th June 2018)

www.iasinsights.in ; www.iasgyaan.com posts Indian express summary-27th June 2018 about Ripples of reform in Dhaka.

Ripples of reform in Dhaka

Context:

Water reforms to be learnt from Dhaka.

Facts:

  • Dhaka, with a population of 12.5 million, is the sixth-largest mega city in the world
  • Transform of Dhaka’s water scenario began in 2005
  • Bangladesh per capita income in PPP terms less than 60 per cent of India’s.

Challenges in Dhaka regarding water availability:

  • Polluted rivers with industrial effluents and municipal sewage
  • City remains heavily (80 per cent) dependent on groundwater for its drinking water needs.
  • Using deep tube wells is enormous, particularly since the water quality is good and is potable without any treatment.
  • Water-table is at least 600 feet deep
  • Rapid decline in Dhaka’s water table at the rate of about 2-3mts per year for close to three decades.
  • Indiscriminate suction pumps installed beneath underground tanks in the city tend to reduce or choke off pressure elsewhere in the system causing backwater and stagnation, and hence contamination of water
  • The piped network for distribution of water in Dhaka was in a state of disrepair with innumerable (mostly unidentified) leakages and illegal connections.
  • Loss of water due to physical leakages in the pipes was more than 50 per cent. Less than 60 per cent of the homes had water meters.
  • Half of the water supplied to the networks was ever billed and only 62 per cent of the water bills were actually collected.
  • Surveys showed that many of the slum-dwellers were either using DWASA-supplied water through illegal tapping, or paying local middlemen a much higher price for the water they needed. Only one-third of the water supplied by DWASA was paid for.

Consequence:

10 years ago, the WHO had declared that the entire population of Dhaka was at the risk of cholera

What Dhaka did?

  • The Government of Bangladesh accorded high priority to safe water and appropriate sanitation as part of its National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
  • The Asian Development Bank offered support to the Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) to carry out reforms in the water services sector and build its capacity
  • The World Bank is currently engaged in supporting work on sewerage and sewage treatment for Dhaka.
  • Started connecting the urban poor through community mobilisation.
  • Dhaka has managed to invest enough in its water distribution infrastructure to raise the coverage of water connections in the non-slum areas to close to 100 per cent.
  • The replacement of the old pipes has resulted in reduced physical water losses in the range of 2-14 per cent at commission.
  • In one-third of the city,introduced district metering areas (DMAs), each one hydraulically isolated, independent of the other areas in water pressure, quantity, and quality.
  • Trenchless technology for laying pipes allowed faster execution and reduced inconvenience to the residents, so commonly observed in trench digging works in most Indian cities.
  • Change in leadership, as Taqsem Khan was brought in to head DWASA from the private sector in 2009.
  • DWASA has built a state-of-the art training facility to organize regular training programmes for its staff to use smart water technologies to sustain the efficiency gains.
  • To ensure financial sustainability, there has been tariff increase of 5 per cent every year since 2007 and in 2016 again they raised the prices
  • DWASA has successfully completed computerization of the entire databases of approximately 3,00,000 connections, and monthly water bills are issued from this database.
  • Households living in slums (25 per cent of the population) are also being connected with a piped network, albeit at a much slower pace, and are paying for water without any cross-subsidy.
  • Slum residents organised themselves into community-based organisations and ensured that all water bills were paid on time and were supported by DWASA

Way forward for India:

  • With more mega cities in India, highly inadequate drainage and sewerage networks, and lack of sewage treatment continue to pose major challenges — 70 per cent of the city has no form of sewerage and there is little sewage treatment.
  • It is high time for the decentralized governance to learn from Dhaka reforms and transform our water management
  • Greta initiatives to be started alone and anyways we can expect donars coming in like Dhaka case.

 

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