The government on Sunday signed $275 million loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for improving and expanding the capital’s water supply system. Senior Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) Mohammed Mejbahuddin and Kazuhiko Higuchi, Country Director of Bangladesh Resident Mission of ADB, signed the agreements on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively at a simple ceremony at ERD. Earlier, ADB provided DWASA with $400 million for improving water supply system in capital Dhaka but physical water losses still needs to be reduced to further improve service delivery in many areas. Dhaka, UNB News Agency Reported.
The new ADB assistance under the Dhaka Water Supply Network Improvement Project will be used to rehabilitate water distribution pipelines and set up new district metered areas, with about 5,000 new and legalised connections established in low-income communities, and 229,000 connections upgraded for households and communities. “Dhaka city is expanding fast, and the demand for safe drinking water is rising rapidly,” said Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi. “This project will help over 7 million people in Dhaka get access to safe, regular, and affordable water services.”
The new project is targeting 24-hour piped water supplies to an additional 6.5 million people in the new district metered areas by 2022, with non-revenue water losses cut to below 10 percent from the current approximate rate of around 30 percent. A range of actions will be taken to boost the capacity of staff to manage and operate the network effectively, including providing training for around 700 staff, with 30 percent of them women. Assistance will also be given to help DWASA prepare an operational and financial improvement plan and to increase public awareness on water conservation.
Dhaka’s demand for water is projected to rise from 2,144 million liters a day in 2015 to around 2,616 million liters a day in 2020, and although the supply authority is taking steps to expand capacity with ADB’s help, it will not be enough to meet projected needs without a substantial cut in ongoing losses. Climate change, including rising sea levels that could increase salinization of ground and surface water, is also expected to reduce available potable water.