State of Cities 2018: Water Governance in Dhaka

The Government of Bangladesh aspires to be a model country in terms of achieving the targets of SDG 6: Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Achieving this goal will critically depend on how to sustainably meet the demand for water of our fast-growing urban population, as half our population are expected to live in the cities by 2050. For this reason, the issue of water was chosen for the State of Cities 2018 study. It particularly focused on the water governance issue in Dhaka as it is the largest, most densely populated and fastest-growing city in the country.

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) launched a study report titled ‘State of the Cities: Water Governance in Dhaka’ at an event at the BRAC Inn Auditorium. Honourable Minister, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Mr Md Tazul Islam, MP was present as the Chief Guest in the launching. Dhaka WASA Managing Director Engineer Taqsem A Khan was present as the special guest. BIGD Executive Director Dr Imran Matin chaired the event while Mr Mohammad Sirajul Islam, Program Manager of BIGD presented study findings. Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Executive Chairman, BELA, was present as an expert panellist. BRAC WASH Program Director Dr Akramul Islam, Professor Tofail Ahmed, and representatives of many local and international agencies spoke in the event.

The study found that per capita usage of water in formal settlements is 310 litres per day, which is more than twice the DWASA estimate of per capita water demand – 150 litres. The study shows that the sources of water supply in Dhaka are becoming alarmingly limited. Over-excretion of groundwater has already depleted the underground water. Surface water sources are fast-dwindling and becoming extremely polluted. BIGD research suggested that to promote efficiency in water use, progressive billing, as well as separate billing system for the flats, can be an effective tool.