Dhaka’s groundwater drops 6m in 7 years

Study sees excessive withdrawal of water as the reason; saline water will make inroads if trend continues
The groundwater level in the capital has dropped by six metres in the last seven years.
The stunning slide is due to excessive withdrawal of groundwater to meet the needs of about 15 million city residents, and inadequate recharging of the underground vacuum it creates.
Such a fast depletion of the water table will result in intrusion of southern saline water into the groundwater reservoir, depriving this mega city of pure drinking water.
These are the findings of two groundwater zoning maps prepared by Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation.
BADC’s Minor Irrigation Information Services Unit (MIISU) prepared the first groundwater zoning map in 2005 with data of 2004 and the second one through analysing the 2010 data.
Talking to The Daily Star on Saturday, the chief of the unit, Eftekharul Alam, said the capital’s groundwater level had now dropped to 52 metres below mean sea level (MSL).
Explaining, Eftekhar said the water table was 51 metres below MSL in 2010 against 46 metres in 2004. And it had further fallen by one metre since last year, he added, citing Thursday’s data from one of the 255 auto water-level recorders across the country.
MSL is a measure of the average height of the ocean’s surface — the halfway point between the mean high tide and the mean low tide.
In the past, the underground vacuum in the city used to be recharged by the water flowing from the north — from the aquifer of Gazipur district and its adjoining areas, Eftekhar said.
“But, at present, these areas too are suffering from severe depletion of groundwater level,” said Eftekhar, an agriculture, water and environment engineer. Over the past seven years, the water table of Gazipur district has dropped from four metres below MSL to 16 metres.
He attributed the depletion to excessive mining of groundwater for irrigation, industrialisation and household use.
Except for the rainy season, the only way for Dhaka city to get its underground vacuum recharged is water flowing from the south saline sea, Eftekhar noted.
According to Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) sources, 87 percent of its pipelined water supply in the capital is from groundwater sources and only 13 percent from surface water treatment plants.
Dhaka Wasa has recently set a target to draw water from the city’s suburbs — Singair in Manikganj and Bhakurta in Savar. This move would help Wasa lift a daily 300 million litres of water from the two well fields and save the city’s Mirpur area from danger of groundwater over-pumping.
Dhaka Wasa supplies 2,100 million litres of water daily against the current demand for 2,250 million litres.
Asked to comment about Wasa’s heavy dependency on groundwater, its Managing Director Taqsem A Khan told this correspondent on Saturday that the organisation was in the process of reversing the trend.
“I’ve not seen the groundwater zoning map, but from our records we know that Dhaka’s water table is depleting fast. That’s why we are planning to increase the surface water generation to 70 percent [from 13 percent now] and reduce the groundwater generation to 30 percent [from 87 percent now] by 2021,” he said.
The Wasa MD referred to some of the surface water plants in the pipeline — second phase at Sayedabad, one at Pagla and another at Khilkhet.
Sources speaking on condition of anonymity, however, expressed doubt over such an overturn in 10 years given that the focus is still very biased towards lifting water from groundwater aquifers.
Dhaka Wasa raised the number of its deep tube-wells to lift groundwater from less than 440 in 2004 to 560 now, a source said. But the number of its surface water treatment plants has remained static at only four.
Besides, owners of big residential apartment blocks and industrial units in and around the city are also installing deep tube-wells to lift water from below the ground.
There are also concerns about the level of pollutions in the rivers surrounding Dhaka, which are the source of the raw water for treatment in Wasa’s four surface plants for pipeline supply.
KM Tanvir Ahmmed, teacher of chemical engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), told The Daily Star on Saturday that unless the industries were compelled to treat liquid waste before releasing it into rivers, Wasa would not eventually be able to treat river water up to the standard of human consumption.
A recent study carried out jointly by Tanvir and Dil Afroz Begum, Buet’s chemical engineering department head, raised alarm about the water quality and asked the government to regulate industries to set up effluent treatment plants (ETPs) so that treating river water does not become extremely expensive for Wasa.
“It would not be right to say ‘river water treatment’, rather we need to say that Wasa would have to treat the ‘wastewater’ from the polluted rivers,” commented Tanvir Ahmmed, noting that river water is getting too polluted to be treated.

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

Achol Foundation reported 585 student suicides in 2022

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A survey by the Achol Foundation found that 585 students from schools, colleges, universities, and madrasas died by suicide in 2016. Among them, 340 were in school, 106 were in college, 85 were in university, and 54 were in a madrasa. The foundation revealed the information through a press release sent ... Read more

Mother, kid reunited by cop’s brave act

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A mother sold her two-month-old infant for Tk 30,000 to pay off debts. A police team reunited the mother and kid yesterday, three days after the terrible tragedy. The mother, Lima Hanufa, said her husband hasn’t worked in five years since a road accident incapacitated him. Lima, her family’s sole breadwinner, ... Read more

Taslima Nasreen claims she became a big victim of medical crime

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin has accused a hospital in India of committing a “medical crime” by providing wrong treatment to her after she reportedly broke a bone in her leg. She claimed that doctors at the hospital conducted a total hip replacement surgery on her even though the X-ray report ... Read more

Boy found in the cargo container calls himself Fahim

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The boy found in a cargo container in Port Klang of Malaysia on January 17 calls himself Fahim and he could be Bangladeshi or Rohingya. A video clip of the boy, aged between 11 and 15, being rescued from the empty container went viral and in several clips the boy calls ... Read more

Sreemangal became cool at 5.6 degrees Celsius

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Sreemangal of Moulvibazar ha the lowest temperature of the season at 5.6 degrees Celsius in the 24 hours preceding friday morning. Mujibur Rahman, a Srimangal weather monitoring station officer, told UNB that the lowest temperature at Sreemangal was 2.8 degrees Celsius on February 4, 1968. Sreemangal is struggling with severe cold, ... Read more

Liver transplant: Sister saves brother

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Bogura resident 53-year-old Monetzar Rahman received a liver transplant from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) physicians. At a press conference yesterday, BSMMU officials stated Montezar’s sister Shamima Akter, 43, gave 60% of her liver to save her brother. The Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund paid for surgery. BSMMU surgeons ... Read more

Biswa Ijtema first phase concludes with peace prayers

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The first phase of the Biswa Ijtema concluded today with the Akheri Munajat (final prayers), seeking peace on earth and prosperity for the Muslim Ummah. Thousands of devotees of all ages gathered at the Ijtema ground on the Turag banks and on the roads adjacent to the Ijtema venue during the ... Read more

Women use mobile phones more than men

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The latest survey from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) shows that more women than men in the country have access to mobile phones. The proportion of mobile phone use of the male and female in the last 3-month is 89.9 percent and 90 percent respectively, said the report. The BBS ... Read more

What does a ride on the metro cost?

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Uttara-Agargaon section of the country’s first metro rail will be inaugurated tomorrow. Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), the government agency responsible for fixing metro rail fare, has published the full list of metro rail fares. The minimum fare was fixed at Tk 20 and the maximum fare for travelling from ... Read more

DGHS advises taking booster and using mask amid rising COVID-19 cases

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Health officials told people today to be careful, such as by getting booster shots and wearing masks in crowded places. This comes after a warning from the National Advisory Committee about a possible new variant that has already spread through China and been found in India. Because of a highly contagious ... Read more

Met Office warns of fog

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A light to thick blanket of fog is likely to envelope large parts of Bangladesh for up to 12 hours from midnight. Moderate to thick fog may occur over the river basins and northern part of the country and light to moderate fog elsewhere over the country from midnight to morning, ... Read more

Bangladesh celebrates Victory Day

Nahid Riyasad The nation celebrates 52nd Victory Day on Friday commemorating the freedom fighters whose supreme sacrifice freed the country from Pakistani occupation force in 1971. Thousands of people from all walks of life started gathering at the National Memorial in Savar to pay tribute to the 1971 martyrs from the morning after the president ... Read more

Bangladesh’s Saleemul Huq among Nature’s top 10 scientists

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The scholarly publication Nature has presented a selection of ten individuals who were instrumental in shaping the most significant scientific stories in 2022. Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi scientist, has made it onto the list for his work to get wealthier nations to pay for the losses and damages caused by climate ... Read more

Martyred Intellectuals Day: People paying homage to martyred intellectuals

News Desk : dhakamirror.com People from all walks of life have been paying tributes to the martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in Rayerbazar this morning, marking the Martyred Intellectuals Day. Most of the people, including teachers and students from different educational institutions, were wearing black clothes, a symbol of mourning. ... Read more

Stakeholders can deal with Evaly on own accord

News Desk : dhakamirror.com HC says in full text of order The High Court in the full text of an order has cleared the way for banks and other stakeholders to deal with beleaguered e-commerce platform Evaly on their own accord. “Since this court has never passed any order to halt the activities of Evaly, ... Read more

Argentina plans embassy in Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Argentina wants to open a diplomatic mission in Bangladesh. South Atlantic News Agency Merco Press says that the decision may have been helped by the fact that Bangladesh cheered for Lionel Messi’s team at the World Cup in Qatar. Bangladesh has always had a lot of die-hard Argentina fans, but during ... Read more

BBC’s 100 Women list includes Bangladeshi student

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The BBC placed Bangladeshi student Sanjida Islam Choya on its list of the world’s 100 most influential women for 2022 because of her work to stop child marriage. The BBC says that Sanjida has stopped at least 50 child marriages in Bangladesh. When she was in school, she saw a presentation ... Read more

HSC enrollment starts Dec 8, classes start Feb 1

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Enrollment for the following academic year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) courses will open on December 8 using an online registration system. Prof. Tapan Kumar Sarker, head of the Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee, said applicants can apply through December 15. He added the admission process will be posted on education boards’ and ... Read more

Umrah e-visa requires biometric data.

Elderly pilgrims may be affected, according to HAAB. News Desk : dhakamirror.com In order to receive their Umrah e-visas, pilgrims from Bangladesh and four other countries must submit biometric data, including “fingerprints,” to the Saudi authorities. According to a report citing an announcement by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the other nations include ... Read more

75% disabled children not in secondary school

News Desk : dhakamirror.com About three-quarters of children with disabilities have dropped out of high school, and about 60% do not go to regular primary schools. A recent government study found that only 8% of them go to primary schools for early childhood education, with girls enrolling at a rate of 5.39 percent and boys ... Read more