Sylhet city life dogged by water crisis

City dwellers in Sylhet are facing extreme woes as water crisis is going from bad to worse here with the onset of summer. Scarcity of pure drinking water amid extreme heat is making life of the townspeople unbearable and the situation is getting worse gradually.

Every day, people are seen waiting in long queues to collect water in various places. In most areas, Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) does not supply water more than one or two hours.

On the other hand, there are some areas where water is not supplied even for one time a day. City corporation sources said per day demand of water in the city is 50 cubic feet according to the population but the supply of water is less than half.

Besides, due to fall in groundwater level, water cannot be lifted in many areas through deep tube-wells. The city corporation is supplying water under ‘Nine Town Project’ taken up in 2002.

City dwellers alleged that most of the 13 pumps under the project are of low capacity. Due to non-installation of high power modern pumps, the problem of water for the city dweller is not getting resolved.

The city corporation sources said the ‘Nine Town Project’ had been initiated for supplying water for only two lakh people. But at present, the city population has increased to seven lakh.

Executive engineer Syed Hossain Zaman of the water supply section of SCC admitted that they could not supply water at present as per the requirement of the city dwellers.

He said work is on to implement a project named ‘Sylhet-Barisal Water Supply Project.’ Under the project, the authorities will install 14 deep tube-wells and set up two water treatment plants at a cost of Tk105 crore.

Twelve tube-wells have already been installed and two separate water treatment plants are being set up in south Surma, he added. Work on the project is scheduled to be completed within the next six months, he hoped and said this will help ease the water crisis to a great extent.

In recent time, the residents experienced serious water crisis in different areas including at Barutkhana, Mirabazar, Kumarpara, Upashahar, Dargah Mohalla, Darshan Deuri, Danriapara, Mirzajangal, Shahieidgah, Sheikhghat, Ponitula, Bagbari, Chalibandar, Manipuri Rajbari, Ambarkhana Barobazaar, Shibganj Lakripara, Sen Para, Sobhanighat, Mendibag and Subid Bazaar.

Sakila Akhtar, a resident of Shibganj, said they face acute water crisis almost every day, which hampers cooking and their other household chores.

Sima Roy of Dargahpara said they are not getting water in time for long. Recently, the problem has become more severe, she added.

Teacher Pradip Bhattacharjee of Danriapara said since the establishment of the city corporation in 2002 the water problem has not been resolved. “As city dwellers, we are forced to buy water,” he lamented.

Mentionable, the city corporation has four water tanks. Of the four, three were constructed in 2002 at a cost of Tk29 crore but these tanks can contain only five lakh gallons of water.

The three tanks are located at PTI School, Shahi Eidgah and MC College field. In the past 10 years, the city corporation could not supply water to these tanks. Another tank located in the old medical college area was set up in 1967. Jamal Ahmad, councilor of ward No 16, said the water crisis will further deepen with the increase in heat.

Due to load shedding they cannot reserve water. He said alternative arrangement must have to be made from now on. Sylhet City Corporation mayor Badruddin Ahmad Qamran said a project is being implemented to resolve the problem of water.

United News of Bangladesh