Chattogram Water authorities fail to serve 43 per cent of its residents and yet every year it wastes 40 billion litres of water worth Tk75 crore.
Through its three projects and 43 deep tube wells, Chattogram Wasa produces over 39 crore litres of water daily but can supply over 28 crore litres.
Around 28 per cent of the daily production goes to waste through system loss, according to the autonomous government organisation's June 2019 report. Officials say leaks on old pipes and illegal lines constitute a major portion of the system loss.
According to WASA, the per day consumption of each individual is 150 litres of water. By that calculation, the 11 crore litres of water that goes to waste could have met the needs of 727,000 people daily.
With its current water supply, Chattogram Wasa can serve only 57 per cent of the Chattogram city residents whose daily demand is around 55 crore litres.
The government service provider spends Tk19 – excluding wastage and loan money – to produce 1,000 litres of water. So, it has to incur a loss of more than Tk62 lakh per month as a result of the wastage.
An analysis of management and information system data shows the ratio of system loss of Chattogram Wasa had risen to 28 per cent in June 2019. The percentage was around 24.5 last year.
However, the organisation claimed it would be able to minimise system loss ratio to a single digit within the next three years and the city residents will get 100 per cent water supply within 2021.
Chattogram Wasa has been implementing Karnaphuli Water Supply Project Phase-2 to increase its coverage to 100 per cent, officials said.
At present, Sheikh Hasina Water Treatment Plant produces over 14 crore litres of water while Sheikh Russell Water Supply project and Mohra Water Supply project provide nine crore litres with each.
Also, approximately seven crore litres comes from Chattogram Wasa's groundwater treatment plant and around four crore litres from deep tube wells.
Why the wastage?
Chattogram Wasa has 610 kilometres of water pipeline. Leakage develops quite frequently as these old pipelines can hardly put up with water pressure, according to officials.
Also, illegal and bypass water connections also cause a system loss, officials further explained.
Chattogram Wasa sources said they repaired 14,234 leaks in pipelines from July 2015 to May this year with Tk6 crore. But the leaks could not be stopped permanently.
New leaks appear and old ones become active whenever water pressure rises. Every month, the autonomous organisation repairs 300 leaks on an average.
All of these cause a big wastage along with creating a scope for germs and waste to contaminate pipeline water.
"Chattogram Wasa has been wasting public fund by wasting water. They should take strong measures to prevent it," said Md Nazer Hossain, central vice president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh.
Nazer also said the government organisation would never be able to meet 100 per cent demand for water in the city because it is not planning projects in line with the increasing population.
Maksud Alam, the chief engineer of Chattogram Wasa, admitted that they had been suffering 25 per cent system loss on an average per month.
Reasons for water wastage are different, including pipeline leakages and illegal connections, he explained.
"We have taken up the District Metering Area project to renovate the 610 kilometres of pipelines. The project will end in 2021 and will minimise water wastage," Maksud said.
When the project will be implemented, the ratio of water wastage will come down to a single digit, he claimed.