POST TIME: 12 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Integrated approach on water

Integrated approach on water

It’s encouraging to find that the government has decided to formulate an integrated national action plan to materialize the recommendations made at the High Level Panel on Water, HLPW. Water is an integral part of life and livelihood in Bangladesh, inextricably linked to the country’s aspiration to becoming a developing nation. Water efficiency at all levels, from the household to the manufacturing sector, is crucial since Bangladesh faces a surface water constraint with most water sources emanating from either India or China and taken up by their enormous population. On top of that, there is also a variety of surface water pollution due to arsenic and salinity.

Another worry is the reported decline of ground water table by two to four meters in certain parts of the country.  Since the country’s massive textile industry is reliant on water, an integrated approach should ensure that all factories feature waste water management facilities so that water can be recycled and re-used. The 2030 Water Resources Group state that by the next decade, domestic demand for water will double, industrial demand will see a staggering 200 per cent rise with irrigation experiencing a 46 per cent hike.

In view of this, water management is essential. However, the masses are still in the dark about what constitutes water efficient practices. Wastage of water in the industrial sector is still high, with pollution of natural water bodies carried out with brazen impunity and household water management a sketchy notion in most urban areas.

From time to time, we get reports supported by pictures showing effluent from plants polluting natural water bodies – an appalling practice that continues to make water unworthy of use in households. To see the proposed national action plan succeed, the first step would be to engage the wards in all areas to hand out basic ideas on water sustainability.

In addition, the adopted Bangladesh Water Act 2013 should be disseminated among the masses in simple clear language. With water demand rising, several public private platforms are working to initiate open dialogue on the optimum use of water. It would be prudent move to also engage the public universities across the nation into this process so that several dimensions of water management are discussed all over the country.

Lastly, open dialogues on sustainable water management should be triggered with support from leading development agencies like the World Bank, involving not just foreign specialists, but also local experts.