The government signed an agreement with the Institute of Water Modeling (IWM), on Saturday, to prepare a master plan to protect the River Meghna.
The plan will be prepared within 18 months of the day the agreement is signed.
Wasa officials said the preparation of the plan will cost Tk11.04 crore including the value added tax and other taxes. The government will provide all the money from its own funds.
Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan is the focal person of the project in charge of preparing the plan.
The IWM and Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) will prepare the plan jointly.
Saiful Islam, joint secretary of the Local Government Division (LGD), and Abu Saleh Khan, executive director of the IWM, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at a hotel in Dhaka.
Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Tazul Islam was the chief guest of the agreement signing ceremony.
He said, "People's purchasing capacity has increased along with per capita income. Along with GDP growth, consumption has also increased. As a result, increasingly more solid waste, liquid waste and industrial waste is being dumped into the river. Meanwhile, water flow in the rivers upstream has decreased, which has caused sedimentation. If we want to be a developed country, we have to deal with these kinds of problems."
"At this stage, as per the direction of our prime minister, we are taking steps to protect our rivers. As a part of this, we have prepared the master plan for protecting the River Karnaphuli and the rivers that surround Dhaka so far. Now we are preparing the master plan for the River Meghna," the minister continued.
"After the completion of the master plan, we will prepare the action plan and the related ministries and departments will take measures from their own jurisdictions to protect the rivers. Thus we will reach our goal to be a developed country by protecting our rivers and environment," he added.
Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Dr Taqsem A Khan said, "Our development partners who are financing the third phase of Sayedabad Water treatment plant of Dhaka Wasa, raised concerns over the water quality of the River Meghna."
"The master plan for protecting the River Meghna will give us the complete picture of the river's condition and make recommendations on three issues – controlling pollution, uprooting illegal encroachment and maintaining the natural water flow of the river," he said.
Md Helal Uddin, senior secretary of the LGD, presided over the agreement signing ceremony. Meanwhile, Malik Fida A Khan, executive director of CEGIS, and high officials from the Danish and French embassies in Dhaka were present at the programme.