Demand for water has increased in Chattogram city as more people are staying at home during the lockdown and using water to clean themselves frequently to prevent coronavirus infection.
Currently, the demand for water in the city with more than 60 lakh people is 430 million litres per day, but the Wasa can supply only 370 million litres.
To solve the problem, the Chattogram Wasa has restarted 60 deep tube wells – out of 90 which were shutdown previously – to procure an additional 15 million litres of water daily. Despite that, there is a shortage of 55-60 million litres, and people in different areas of the city are suffering because of this.
This is especially so for people in the Firingi Bazar, Alkoron, Bakolia, Halishohor, Patenga, and Katgarh areas. The shortage in the supply of water might increase in the month of Ramadan.
Maksud Alam, the chief engineer of the Chattogram Wasa said, "We produce 370 million litres of water daily. We use a rationing system to meet the excess demand. Currently we manage the situation by diverting the pressure of water from the areas where it is high to the areas where it is low."
The World Health Organization has advised people to their wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to ward off the novel coronavirus. This requires much more water than at normal times, so the Chattogram Wasa has advised people to use water prudently.
The managing director of Chattogram Wasa AKM Fazlullah said, " An extra 70 million litres of water is used daily for washing hands frequently, bathing more than once and washing clothes to prevent the coronavirus. We have increased production of water by 15 million litres with deep tube wells to meet the extra demand."
Fazlullah also said the ongoing effort will continue to provide a continuous supply of water during the month of Ramadan.
Kazi Mizan Rahman, a resident of the Rahman Nagar area of the city, said the water tank in his house never fills up as the water pressure in the Wasa line is very low. So, he uses a deep tube well to supplement the supply.
Saifuddin, another resident of the area, said, "I do not have a deep tube well so I depend solely on Wasa's water. However, earlier the pressure of water was good at a certain time of the day, now I do not get that. So the tenants regularly complain about water shortage."
Sources said, currently the Sheikh Rasel Water Treatment Plant produces 90 million litres of water, the Sheikh Hasina Water Treatment
Plant produces 143 million litres, and the Mohra Water Treatment Plant produces 92 million litres. In addition to these, ground water treatment plants and deep tube wells produce 34 million litres of water.
To maintain a continuous water supply during the lockdown, Wasa has made a special arrangement to keep 56 engineers and 260 employees in these plants so that they do not come in contact with any people from outside and get infected with the novel coronavirus.
According to sources, the Chattogram Wasa produced 391 million litres of water in June last year.