Report On Dhaka WASA and Its Role in Public Life

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Report On Dhaka WASA and Its Role in Public Life


Statement of the Problem:

Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is entrusted with supply of piped water to Dhaka Metropolitan City, DND area, Narayanganj Municipality and adjacent area. As of June 2007, 75% city area was under DWASA water supply coverage. Out of which 83% is from Ground water sources tapping through 466 Deep Tube Wells; the remaining 17% of the water is supplied from the two major treatment plants situated at Saidabad, Chandnighat and two smaller units in Narayanganj. The population of Dhaka City is presently about 12.5 million and the growth trend indicates that by the year 2025 it would be about 22 million.

In order to meet the growing demand, DWASA is installing high capacity water wells tapping the upper Dupitalia aquifers. But this upper aquifer is in stressed condition. In most part of the city area the ground water recharge in upper aquifer is much less compare to the abstraction, causing ground water mining. The average ground water depletion in most of the areas in the city is reportedly around 2-3 meter/year. The present rate of depletion gives an alarming indication that there is an urgent need to alleviate pressure on the upper aquifer being exploited and explore for more suitable and sustainable sources to supplement the present water supply.

The nearest dependable surface water are the peripheral rivers. These rivers are no more considered to be suitable as a source of water supply due to continued pollution. For this reason, there is an urgent need to find alternate sources for Dhaka city water supply. Such probable sources may include: the differ aquifer (around 300 meter depth)and surface water sources from far- off major rivers like Padma, Meghna and Jamuna . It is also worthwhile to investigate exploitable potential of aquifers located in the vicinity of Dhaka city.

Demand management is given utmost importance by any water utility services in large cities around the world in order to optimize the use of the scarce water resources. In Dhaka city, demand management is imperative to support in the development of an immediate, mid-term and long-term strategy for water supply. In this regard, prediction of the growing population along with the urbanization process the various uses of water including domestic, commercial and industrial consumptions has to be evaluated. The three fourth of the World surface is covered by water. Yet most of the human disease is caused due to scarcity of water or the use of impure water. As an evitable corollary the price of water is increasing almost every year. The cheapest way to obtain water for meeting increasing demand is to use all the water already produced. It is to be kept in mind “Not a single drop of water should go without use”. Therefore, effectively use of produced water can reduce Non Revenue Water as well as System loss.

Significance of the study:

Non-Revenue Water is an issue familiar to the concerned people and headache for the Management. It is the difference between system input volume and billed authorized consumption, and it consist of the following.

· Unbilled Authorized Consumption

· Apparent losses and

· Real losses.

Like the unplanned development of Dhaka City’s other services, the water distribution network has been expanded haphazardly mostly under some crash programs, leading to mismanagements in operation and notably in distribution system. Approximately more than 55% of the total water production has been calculated as unaccounted-for water (UFW) or Non-Revenue Water (NRW) in the form of system losses during the year 2001. Out of this 55, 25% has been estimated to be technical loss and the rest 30% commercial or administrative loss. The identified aspects of inefficient management leading to these system losses are:

– unplanned development of distribution system

– delayed attendance to repair works and lack of professional execution

– lack of preventive maintenance

– malpractices of Revenue Inspectors for personal gain and other purposes

– consumption by house owners through bypass and illegal connections

– lack of coordination between Waste Prevention, MODS Revenue and Meter Divisions and absence of the monitoring of follow-up actions etc.

Based on the Surveyors’ investigation, there seems to be a lack of coordination between the Engineering, Commercial and Secretariat Departments resulting in negligence of taking into consideration of several important factors concerning NRW. The lack of prompt communication for transmitting valuable information in Waste Prevention and leak Detection fields between Engineering and Commercial Departments and subsequent delayed remedial measures to control wastage of water is one example of such lack of co-ordination. Though a picture of decentralization is projected in the management of supply, distribution and consumption with the division of DWASA into 6(six) Zones within Dhaka City and inclusion of Narayangonj as the seventh zone at a later stage (March, 1990) complete assessment of independent distribution and consumption within each zone is not possible due to interlinked type of the existing system (in Dhaka City) which is a major obstacle for adopting appropriate strategy to control Technical Loss. Also lack of administrative and financial autonomy of each zone is creating unnecessary bottlenecks and lengthy formalities in urgent decision making in the field of controlling UFW. The shortcomings related to UFW in specific areas are stated next.

Most of the Government-owned organizations are suffering from poor performance. These are being treated as loosing concern or sick organization. Years after years these kinds of organizations are not able to raise optimum revenue collection. Where is the problem? Man, machine and material are available in this organization. Actually, the problem is prevailing in the whole management system. The report shall be enable to reveals clarion call to make the sense that non-revenue water which contribute system loss hunching the backbone of national economy, ensign poor services for consumers and affecting the interest of all concerned.

Scope of the Study:

Demand for water, by definition, would include the amount of water demanded by a unit of consumption for given socio-economic conditions, pricing strategy, basic human needs and for a given level of quality of life. Demand for water for Dhaka city, therefore, by definition, it would be the amount of water demanded per day by various types’ consumers in Dhaka city. To make a reasonable projection on the demand for water, firstly, individual demand will be estimated and then various assumptions are used to quantify aggregate water demand for the city.

Based on the analysis of demand and supply using a simulation model can be developed using MS Excel to determine demand for water from 2010-2035.

X 100 …………………… [1]

HOUS=POP/( ………………………………………………………………………. [2]


HOUS= No. of houses, POP=Population,

POP’= HOUS. i.. ……………………………………………………………….. [3]


POP’= Population living in it type of house, i= Percent of the ith of house, and

WD’= W.POP’……………………………………………………………………………. [4]

Where, w= Water demand per capita per day in liter for ith type of house, WD= Total water demand for ith type of houses.

TWD= ).(1-) …………………………………………………….. [5]


Users and TWD = Total water demand in Dhaka and value =10% and = 30%.

GWDPC=TWD/POP …………………………………………………………………. [6]

Where, GWDPC= Gross water demand per capita and POP= total population.

LCD = …………………………………………………………………… [7]

Where, LCD=Per capita per day water demand in liter

POPt= POP(t-1).ert ……………………………………………………………………. [8]

Where POPt = Population survey in Dhaka WASA in period t and r=4.27% as the annual growth rate using exponential growth rate.

The above simulation model was run for 25 years time period (2005-2030) for five various types of houses: Katcha, semi-pacca, pacca, one- story, multi-story and high rise building. Consequently, the model will have 15 variables, 15 equations and 25 parameters for each year of simulation. Population forecasts were done using annual exponential growth rate.

Objectives of the study:

Non-Revenue Water (NRW) will be gradually becoming a serious issue affecting the interest of all concerned and will be one of the major crisis being faced by the authority presently.

v To face the challenges in solving the unsolved problem i.e. concern over practical problem initiates study.

v To assess the Technical, Financial & Management standard and propose amelioration achievable in this regards

v To unfold and identify the consumers those who have illegal connections have estimated actual below real consumption cheating those who pay for water

v To enumerate details about service connections including storage facilities.

v To collect billing information, arrear etc.

v To identify malpractice on the service connection and associated activities.

v To collect information on sewer connection/septic tank etc.

Limitation of the study:

This study is limited to NRW management and forecasting of drinking water sources for DWASA only. Revenue Department is the main focus here. It emphasizes on major hardles for revenue earning. Personal interview technique and conducting survey the explore ledger/records are the sources for collecting information which may be of adulterated. Documents and procedures are not maintained properly in these types of organizations. The reliability of the report depends on the authenticity of the information provided by the relevant persons.



The organization Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is one of the main utilities. It is the most important sector of the Government of Bangladesh. The potable water distribution network installed and covered the whole area of Dhaka city and now its extension is going on the periphery of the city as well as N.Gonj.

For the purpose of portray the non-revenue water some survey were conducted on specific fields, these areas were selected randomly. Necessary information gathered form previous studies.

2.1 Vaiables covered:

Collection of data from primary and secondary sources

Report review of previous studies

Comparative study of non-revenue water

Analysis of non-revenue water

2.2 Sampling Design:

Leakage of pipe lines, improper and irregular connections, nonmeter connections and disorder water meters are the causes of non-revenue water. A rendom holding-to-holding survey was conducted on selected industries and the sample size was 23 only.

2.3 Sources of data :

The set of information has been collected from both primary and secondary sources.

2.4.1 Primary sources are as under:

  1. Data furnished by revenue department of DWASA.
  2. Data furnished by Waste Preevention Division of DWASA.

2.4.2 Secondary sources are as under:

  1. Different circulars.
  2. Annual report of DWASA MIR.
  3. ADB’s Asian Water Supply

2.5 Collection of data

Dhaka WASA has 2533.73 Km water lines. The number of holdings with water connections is 245916. In the old part of Dhaka city there are 1,643 numbers of street hydrants. The percentage of coverage is about 75%.

The quality of water supplied is generally good. But in some instances contaminated water is found. So most of the people do not feel that the water supplied is safe for drinking and so for drinking purposes they boil it. The contamination comes through leakages of old and dilapidated distribution pipe lines.

Dhaka WASA could not yet provide water meters to all the holdings. The number holdings with water meter are 170,040 and the remaining 74,876 holdings do not have water meters (September, 2007). In the case of holdings without water meter water bills are made on the basis of estimates. The water tariff comprises of two categories, viz. i) Domestic/ Community/ Social, ii) Commercial and industrial. The rate for the first category is Tk. 5.00 per 1000 liters. The rate is three times this amount for the second category connectivity. Initiatives are underway for installation of more water meters with a view to provide water meters to all the customers. The rate of water is very low considered to that of other countries in this region. But the considerations of customers’ lower ability to pay and socio-political aspects have forced to keep water rate at such low levels.

The system loss is a very common phenomenon in water supply industry. At present the total system loss of Dhaka WASA is about 55%. Of this about 25% is administrative loss and 20% is technical loss. Seepage through leaks and joints in dilapidated old distribution pipes, uncontrolled flow through street hydrants and irregularities in the distribution system are responsible, to a great extent, for the persisting technical system loss. Pilferages, corrupt practices of under-billing, non-payment of bills are responsible for administrative system losses. It is the high time that these losses be considered seriously and proper measures for mitigations are to be taken immediately. In this regard, Dhaka WASA has started to take some reformation measures. Dhaka WASA has decided to lease out it’s revenue collection divisions. Of the 7 revenue collection divisions, 5 have been leased out in last 7 years to private companies. The results of this reformation measures indicate positive results. In very short period of time, the remaining 2 revenue collection divisions will be leased out. Other reformation and restructure measures are underway.

2.5.1 National Policy for Safe Water Supply & Sanitation:

Safe water and sanitation are considered most essential for the development of public health. One of the government’s important goals is to ensure that all people have access to safe water and sanitation services at an affordable cost. To achieve this goal and to ensure that development in the water supply and sanitation sector is equitable and sustainable, the government of Bangladesh, in 1998, formulated a policy named National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation is essential. The government has already started implementation of various aspects this policy.

For achieving these objectives, steps will be taken for:

  1. Facilitating access of all citizens to basic level of services in water supply and sanitation.
  2. Bringing about behavioral changes regarding use of water and sanitation;
  3. Reducing incidence of water borne diseases;
  4. Building capacity in local governments and communities to be effectively with problems relating to water supply and sanitation;
  5. Promoting sustainable water and sanitation services;
  6. Ensuring proper storage, management and use of surface water and preventing its contamination;
  7. Taking necessary measures for storage and use of rain water;
  8. Ensuring storm-water drainage in urban areas.

2.5.2 Community participation in Water Supply and Sanitation services:

One of the strategies of this policy envisages development of water supply and sanitation sector through local bodies, public-private sector, NGOs, CBOs and women groups involving local women particularly elected members of the local bodies in the sector development activities. In the line with the strategies outlined in the National Policy for Safe Water Supply & Sanitation, Dhaka WASA has, in collaboration with some NGOs (Water Partners International, Care International etc.) have started water supply and sanitations services for slum-dwellers in Dhaka city. In some areas high capacity underground water reservoir has been installed which is connected to DWASA water mains. Water is pumped from the underground reservoir with hand-pumps. Sanitation services include individual household pit latrines or community sanitation blocks. This landless slum-dwellers were being denied their access to water supply and sanitation services.

2.5.3 Future development plans:

Actual increase in population in Dhaka city has proved that all the earlier prediction grossly underestimated. A recent study has predicted that the population of Dhaka Metropolitan city would reach about 14.0 million by the year 2005 and the demand for water supply would be around 2,200 mId. By the year 2020 the population of the city will reach 25 million creating a demand of around 5000 mId (Table-3).

Year Population (million) Water Demand (mld) Existing Water Supply and Planned
1990 6.5 1050 510
1995 8 1280 770
2000 10 1600 1130
2005 14 2200 1800
2010 18 2800 2600
2015 20 3800 3400
2020 21 5000 4500
2025 22 6100 5500
2030 24 7000 6400

Considering the rapid expansion of the city concomitant with the high rate of population growth and other physical and infrastructure developments, there would be huge demand for piped water, sanitation and storm water drainage in near future. Only through ground water abstraction, increasing demand for water supply cannot be met as the ground water abstraction is showing strong signs of rapid depletion.

A water supply Master plan for the Dhaka city was prepared in 1992 for an area of about 360 sq km which has now become redundant as the prediction on population and water demand has been surpassed by huge margin. Some ad-hoc measures have been undertaken to meet the growing demand on water supply. These measures are mainly dependent on abstraction of ground water, which has already reached its optimum level. It appears that no further abstraction is possible as the recharge of ground water is declining very fast.

Dhaka WASA has decided to expand the capacity of the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant by 225 MLD is the 2nd phase. The project has been started. There is planning for 3rd phase, which will add 450 MLD more. Moreover planning is underway for construction of another water treatment plant, which will use water from the river Padma to supply another 900 MLD of water.

2.5.4 Limitations of master plan :

Dhaka WASA, despite of severe resource constraints, is trying to provide the most important basic services like potable water supply, sewerage and storm water drainage facilities. The high population growth in Dhaka city is creating tremendous pressure on all utility services. As mentioned earlier, 83% of the DWASA’s water supply is based on ground water source. The groundwater aquifer is declining by about 2-3m every year rendering ground water abstraction too expensive and uncertain. On the other hand, the sources of surface water, the peripheral rivers, although having sufficient water, are being polluted heavily. It has become evident that DWASA has to switch over, as soon as possible, from groundwater to surface water sources . But a huge capital investment is needed in this regard. Initiatives have been taken by DWASA for installing surface water-based water treatment plants. DWASA is hopeful that appropriate assistance will be available from the government of Bangladesh and international donor communities. Sewerage and storm water drainage facilities, although not considered as urgent as the water supply, are also to be developed immediately considering their very significant role on the public health and the environment.

2.6 Programs for reducing system loss:

Unaccounted for water is ‘the difference between the amount of water supplied from the waterworks, as measured through its meters, and the total amount of accounted-for water. Accounted-for water includes water consumption as recorded by customers’ meters, water stored in service reservoirs, and authorized free use such as for flushing and sterilization of mains and routine cleaning of service reservoirs.

2.6.1 Components of unaccounted-for water

Unaccounted-for water effectively comprises the following:

(a) Apparent water loss

This is water loss arising from meter inaccuracies and improper accounting of water used in the commissioning and filling of new mains, connections and service reservoirs, and for cleaning and flushing of the water distribution system during maintenance.

(b) Real water loss

This is water loss due to leaks and illegal draw off from the transmission and distribution system.

2.6.2. What percentage should System Loss of unaccounted-for-water be?

Unaccounted-for water is often taken as a measure of the efficiency of a water supply system. The question of what percentage unaccounted-for water should be depends on the economics of reducing the water loss, that is whether it will be more economic to take action to reduce water loss further and postpone development of new water sources, or to proceed with new source development and accept water losses at their prevailing level. In cities with cheap and plentiful water supply sources, the unit cost of water will be low and spending large sums of money on measures to reduce unaccounted-for water can be uneconomic. However, water is a limited and strategic resource in Singapore and priority is accorded to water conservation and demand management. Cost is only one factor considered in all programs. Proactive measures are taken to prevent leaks from occurring and, in the event that leaks do occur, they are promptly repaired. Measures taken to control unaccounted-for water will, by reducing levels of wastage, not only extend existing resources to their maximum potential, but also bring about operating cost reductions and deferment of capital works investments.

2.6.3 Factors affecting system loss of water

In the early 1980s, Singapore’s unaccounted-for water was about 11 per cent of total output. This high percentage was viewed with concern and PUB began intensifying its efforts to reduce unaccounted-for water by implementing various programmes and water conservation measures. In Singapore, the main contributing factors to unaccounted-for water are:

  • Meter inaccuracies;
  • Losses through leakage;
  • Inaccurate accounting of water used in new and existing installations;
  • Illegal draw off.

Control measures have, therefore, been directed at these main areas and can be broadly categorized as follows:

  • Leakage control
  • Full and accurate metering policy
  • Proper accounting of water used
  • Strict legislation on illegal draw off

2.6.4 Water Conservation Planning

To reduce system losses, a comprehensive plan has been developed and is being implemented. The major components of the plan are:

  • Implementation of a rehabilitation program based on leak detection findings;
  • Replacement of all asbestos cement pipes, which have become hydraulically inefficient and unable to withstand anticipated higher pressures;
  • Use of air valves and wash-out valves at appropriate locations on the water distribution system;
  • Introduction of improved leak repair procedures, which will accelerate repairs once leaks are detected and introduce a more comprehensive format for recording repairs;
  • Securing all valves in the system by provision of valve chambers, protection tubes on street caps, and valve covers and marker plates to facilitate easy location for routine checks;
  • Installation of consumer meters on 100 per cent of property connections within one year;
  • Replacement of all existing defective meters;
  • Implementation of a program for reducing and, if possible, eliminating under billing and unauthorized connections;
  • Systematically eliminating public taps.

In addition to the above plan, two major programs have been initiated to reduce unaccounted-for water. Private sector participation in billing and collection

Billing of consumers and collection of revenue in five out of seven zones of DWASA was contracted out on an experimental basis in September 1997. The contract for one zone was awarded to a private company and the other to Collective Bargaining Agent of DWASA. Results obtained in both zones to date indicate that significant progress is being made in identifying and eliminating unmetered and unauthorized connections. NGO participation

To reduce water losses in slum areas and realize revenue, DWASA has awarded a formal contract to an NGO in 13 slum areas in the city that have been provided with metered connections. The NGO, which runs other income generating programs within the slums, collects consumer payment for water and deposits the collections in DWASA’s bank account. This program is also running quite well.

2.6.9 Institutional mechanism, legal instruments and financial incentives for efficient use of water

A formal institutional mechanism has been established in DWASA to deal with unaccounted-for water more effectively. A new Waste Control Division has been established and, under a technical assistance program, its staff has been trained in leak detection and unaccounted-for water management. Staff of the Division also routinely checks for unauthorized connection and meter tampering. The Division collaborates closely with other divisions responsible for disconnection and revenue collection.

Legal instruments have been strengthened with the enactment of the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Law of 1996. Under this law, jail sentences and fines were instituted for the first time for people indulging in meter tempering and making unauthorized connection. Penalties are now applicable to both taker and provider of such unauthorized services, including personnel of DWASA. To dispose quickly of cases, including those under the Public Demand Recovery Act, a magistrate has been deputed to DWASA by the Government.

Financial incentives for economical use of water have not yet been introduced, primarily because water connections are provided mainly to communities rather than individual dwellings. The number of dwellings per connection varies widely from one to about 150, with an average of about six dwellings per connection. Community connections of this type offer no incentive to individual consumers to conserve water, as users develop a tendency to distribute their individual wastage across the community. Community connections also prevent the application of a block tariff, with lower unit rates for small consumption and higher rates for high consumption. Preliminary study has indicated that the high income group would effectively pay less under such a tariff because their dwellings usually have individual connections that would record a lower total consumption than connections shared by less privileged communities.

2.6.6 Technical measures for water conservation

A number of technical measures are being taken to conserve water and reduce wastage that occurs at many points in the system. As the distribution system is not fully pressurized, consumers first store water in underground tanks from where it is lifted to their rooftop tanks by pump. In the distribution system, water is lost through leaking pipes, joints, valves and service connections, and further losses occur on consumers’ premises through overflow from both the underground and rooftop tanks and through leaking fittings and faucets.

Conservation measures have been introduced to prevent losses from all points on the distribution system. DWASA personnel have been trained to locate and repair leaks in the distribution system quickly, and rehabilitate and replace non-serviceable pipes. Consumers have been advised to guard against overflow by installing appropriate devices in their tanks. Public awareness campaigns have also been launched through newspapers, magazines, television and radio, to educate consumers on the importance of conservation. These awareness campaigns have achieved only limited success, however, due to the prevalence of community connections, which provide no incentive to individuals to conserve water. DWASA is now contemplating the introduction of individual meters for every dwelling.

Conservation measures have also been initiated to reduce losses in community and religious institutions, for which the Government pays DWASA a fixed monthly amount based on a fixed consumption quota. It has been observed that these institutions use a significantly higher quantity of after than their quota. A monitoring program has been initiated to quantify water use by these institutions through the installation of meters.

Public taps which numbers about 1,643 are major points of water loss and effective conservation measures are expected to provide high dividends. As a first step, it has been decided not to increase the number of public taps; instead they will be reduced in phases. In the meantime, installing meters on public taps and leasing their management to private operators is being actively considered. The private operators would in turn sell water to consumers, and the arrangement would assist water conservation as well as realize increased revenue for DWASA.

A crash metering program has been launched by June 1998, DWASA hopes to achieve 100 per cent consumer metering.

Since the introduction of a rising block tariff is currently inappropriate due to the prevalence of community connections, alternative mechanisms to discourage high consumption are being investigated. These include tariff surcharges based on one or more of the following physical features of consumers’ dwellings:

  • Total floor space;
  • Number of toilets;
  • Height of the building (for example, a ten storey building could he charged 5 per cent more than a five storey building of the same plan area).

2.6.7 Public awareness program and the role of communities and NGOs

An elaborate public awareness program has been launched through the mass media, directed at creating consumer awareness of potential areas of water losses and ways to prevent losses. The program targets four major categories of consumers, (i) domestic, (ii) community areas such as markets and places of worship, (iii) slum dwellers, and (iv) users of public taps. Part of the program is a video that guides viewers through various sections of the distribution system where losses occur, and recommends remedial measures. The video dramatizes the problem by quantifying annual losses in drips, and shows the annual extra cost payable by consumers if the drips are not repaired immediately. In the domestic category, the program has not been very successful to date, primarily due to the lack of significant financial incentive to individual users arising from shared connections. In the community area category, the program has also not succeeded due to the high incidence of unauthorized connections, the users of which have no incentive to conserve water. In places of worship, for which the Government pays the water bills, wasting water has become a way of life.

To date, there has been no systematic effort to involve the community in the water conservation program but a participatory approach is now being designed.

The program in which an NGO acts as the intermediate vendor of water in slum areas has become quite successful and the NGO is planning to expand its coverage beyond the 11 pilot areas. The NGO is effectively supported by the UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program. To promote further the efficient use of water in slum areas, a strong component has been built into a project entitled Basic Infrastructure Delivery for Urban Areas supported by the Asian Development Bank.

2.6.8 Water reuse and alternative sources

The existing water supply deficit in Dhaka of about 35 per cent of demand is already placing stress on water resources in and around the city. Overwhelming dependence on groundwater, which represents about 95 per cent of the city’s water sources, has aggravated the situation. Excessive exploitation of groundwater has caused the water table to fall by about 25 m over the last 35 years. The present rate of decline has been estimated at 2-3 m per annum. Many experts have voiced concern that further decline in the water table may cause disastrous land subsidence in the city. A study conducted in 1991 did not indicate any immediate risk but the potential cannot be totally ruled out.

The city is surrounded by a system of four rivers but the quantity’ and quality of available water are becoming increasingly uncertain. The two largest rivers, the Buriganga and the Shitalakhya, are perennial, although their flows have declined significantly over the last decade due primarily to large scale upstream withdrawal for irrigation, domestic and industrial use. The other two rivers, the Turag and the Bulu, have low flows, especially during the months of March, April and May when water demand in the city is highest.

Water quality in these rivers has deteriorated much faster than expected. Industrial waste especially from tanneries, and dyeing and electroplating industries, has contributed to a rapid build-up of heavy metals in the river water. In the dry season, levels of chromium and aluminium threaten to exceed the limits for potable water quoted in international standards. Long-term plans include cleaning up the rivers by enforcing anti-pollution laws but the only short-term alternative is to locate alternative sources of water.

Four alternative potential sources of water have so far been identified, and are described below. Necessary steps are being taken to assess their technical and economic viability, and social and environmental acceptability. Recycling of drainage water

With assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, a flood control and drainage project for Dhaka is scheduled for completion in mid-1999. The city has been encircled by protective structures to prevent the entry of flood water and three pumping stations are being built to expel run-off from the city. Run-off will be temporarily stored in two balancing reservoirs with a combined capacity of 16.5 million m3 and plans are under preparation to recycle this water. Potable reuse may be problematic since the storm drainage system is significantly polluted by a large number of unauthorized connections discharging domestic sewage and industrial waste. If the recycled water cannot be treated economically to potable standards, other uses, such as toilet flushing, garden irrigation, washing, fire fighting and recreation, will be considered. Seasonal Surface Water Treatment Plants

For about six months each year during and immediately following the rainy season, river flows are high and pollution levels low due to increased dilution. Feasibility studies will be conducted to assess the technical and economic viability of constructing seasonal water treatment plants to provide treated surface water during this peak flow period. Groundwater abstraction from the deep tube wells would be reduced in areas served by the seasonal plants, possibly leading to cessation of groundwater mining and recovery of the water table. This would ultimately have a positive impact on the environment. Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting

The city’s rainfall averages 1,500 mm per annum of which over 80 per cent enters the drainage system as run-off. Pilot projects are being developed to examine the possibility of storing the run-off for domestic and or industrial use, utilizing run-off from large public and commercial buildings in the first phase. Harvested rainwater would be used initially for non-potable purposes. Later, appropriate treatment would be given to increase the water quality to potable standard. If rainwater harvesting proceeds on a substantial scale, it would help to reduce flooding in the city during high intensity storms. Basin Transfer

The feasibility of basin transfer of both groundwater and surface water is being investigated. In the short term, plans have been made to transfer groundwater from an abundant aquifer about 25 km north-west of the city. A proposal has been received from a private sector water developer to build, own -and operate the transfer system and negotiations will be held to reach agreement on a contract.

As part of long-term planning, the feasibility of transferring surface water from the Meghna River, located about 30 km south-east of the city, will be investigated.

2.6.9 Identification of major problems in promoting efficient water use

Ensuring efficient water use in a city of over 12.5 million people is a formidable but essential task in developing a sustainable water supply system. Some of the important considerations in achieving this goal are described below. Billing individual consumer dwellings

Efforts will be made to install meters at every individual dwelling. Wastage of water would then have a noticeable financial impact on each family rather than being absorbed by the community, and pressure would mount to use water more efficiently. The major difficulties in implementing this program relate to location and reading of the large number of meters to be installed. Community reticulation systems, especially in high rise buildings, were not designed for installation of separate meters at each dwelling unit and would need significant modification. The number of staff employed to read meters and issue bills would need to be increased at least fourfold. Block tariff system

After individual metering is achieved, a block tariff can be introduced with unit rates increasing as consumption rises. Such a tariff is expected to encourage more efficient use of water. Awareness campaign

Further and more aggressive public awareness campaigns will be launched stressing to each consumer that his/her waste is depriving a friend, neighbor or relative of much needed water. Public taps and community connections

Inefficient use of water occurs at public taps and connections to community areas such as markets and places of worships. For example, the Government pays for an assumed consumption of 200 m3 per month at each place of worship, whereas actual consumption is estimated at between two and three times this quantity Managers of these community areas have no incentive to ensure efficient use of water when it is charged at a flat rate It has, therefore been decided to install meters in community areas each of which will have to pay for water used in excess of the quota paid for by the Government.

Efforts are being made to eliminate as many public taps as possible in favor of direct connections to dwellings for public taps that remain DWASA will make arrangements for their management by an NGO or other private sector organization. The ongoing slum area pilot project managed by an NGO will be expanded and strengthened.

Water connections have been metered in some market places and bazaars. Specific people have been made responsible for paying water bills and are now managing each operation as a business Efforts will be made to regularize all such connections.

2.6.10 Suggestions for action at national and international levels

Inefficient use of water in urban areas is gradually becoming a major problem for water utility managers. Utilities in the water-short cities of developing countries will have to improve management practices and increase community and NGO participation to improve water use efficiency. The utilities alone, however, will not achieve this goal. Strong commitment is needed from governments, in the form of funds to initiate studies and pilot projects to address the various issues. Legal instruments need to be strengthened to achieve more effective enforcement of penalties against unauthorized users.

At the international level, a network should be established to deal with the issue of efficient water use in urban areas. This would enable exchange of experience leading to widespread option of successful solutions. A quarterly newsletter should be issued to keep the interested countries and utilities informed about recent developments. Funding studies on a regional basis and helping to train utility staff, are two other areas where international cooperation would have a positive impact. It should be recognized that the countries and utilities participating in the network would have varying levels of performance on efficient water use Those with lower than average performance would benefit if short-term consultants could be provided to help with specific problems To coordinate these activities a secretariat should be established at ESCAP & UNO.


Historical Background of DWASA

Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka WASA) was established on 14th November, 1963 under East Pakistan Ordinance No. XIX of 1963. It is a successor-organisation to the then Directorate of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) and the then Dhaka Municipal Committee (DMC) in respect of potable water supply and sewage disposal in Dhaka City area. Assets liabilities and concerned manpower of the previously mentioned two organisations engaged in the Dhaka City area were transferred to Dhaka WASA under the following notifications:

a. Transfer of assets from DPHE under notification No. IE-79/63/1191-PHE, dated 14-11-1963.

b. Transfer of manpower from DPHE under notification No. IE-79/63/1192-PHE, dated 14-11-1963.

c. Transfer of assets from DMC under notification No. S-VIII-IE-54/63/11-PHE, dated 6-1-1964

d. Transfer of manpower from DMC under notification No.13-PHE, dated 6-1-1964.

Let’s look at the hard facts. In 1963, at the time of inception of DWASA , Dhaka City had a population of about 8.22 Lakhs and DWASA inherited 10,621 number of registered services connection. Water demand in 1963 was appx. 150 MLD (150,000 m3 /day) and water production was appx. 127 mld (127,000 m3/day).

At present, the estimated population is about 12.00 million and there are about 238304 registered service connections. Water demand has been increased by about 14 times due to tremendous growth of population during these years but water production did not increase to meet the total requirement. Present water demand exceeds 2200 MLD per day i.e. 2,200,000 m3/day against the present production of 1600 MLD (1600,000 m3/day).

Utility Profiles


Address : 98 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue,

Kawran Bazar, Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh.

Telephone : (880-2) 8117829-31/8120223-27

Fax : (880-2) 812 109

Website :

Head : Engr. Md. Raihanul Abedin

Managing Director

The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is a government organization set up in 1963 which is responsible for Water Supply and Sewerage for Dhaka and the nearby city of Narayanganj covering a total population of 12 million people. The original water supply system, which was built in 1874, has billing and collection that are privatized although staff and top management appointments and salaries, tariffs, and budget for O&M and development are under government control. The utility is responsible for water production, distribution and source development. DWASA has a partly developed management information system with a computerized billing system. It is currently following 1997-2002 Development Plans for both water supply and sewerage. The urban poor is provided with street hydrants (public stand posts) with bills paid by the city corporation.
General Data About Water Utility Connections 238304
Staff 3,740
Annual O&M Costs (Tk. in lac) 1578.24
Annual Collections (Tk. in lac) 30136.44
Annual Billings (Tk. in lac) 38229.48
Source of Investment Funds 47 % national government grant and rest

grant/equity 53% externally funded

Tariff Structure (Effective September 2005)
Category Rates
METERED (Tk./ 1000 litres)
Residential & Community 5.25
Commercial & Office Industrial




Residential 23.19% per annum or annual valuation of holdings (for all three catagories)
Commercial & Office
Notes: 1. All consumers pay on metered use except of house connections and of Institutional connections, which are non-metered. Non-metered consumers payable that rate based on property valuation. Public stand post consumption is free to users but paid to DWASA by the city corporation
2. Billing is done every two months and consumers pay through banks.
3. Tariffs setting aims to make the utility commercially able and to allow it to add new facilities.
4. In February 2007, 1500 new connections were installed price for new connections ranges from Tk.3600 to Tk. 5700 for 20 mm and 25 mm connections, respectively, payable in advance (Including meter).
5. Sewerage charge is added to water bill at 100% of water bill for connected users.
Priority Need

of Utility

I As seen by Management

1) Institutional reform

2) Improvement of financial management

II Consumers’ Opinion

1) More tube wells

2) Privatize the water utility


Survey Findings

Average monthly consumption is about 139000 litres /house hold of 20 persons with many engaged in car washing and gardening. The water bill averages Tk. 487 compared to the monthly power bill of Tk.1,641. Of those interviewed only 41% have 24- hour water supply. With 21% considering water quality good, 91% boil their drinking water. About 23% experienced water service interruption in the month preceding the interview. Overall rating of the utility is fair (44%) to good (15%).
Major Changes in the Water Utility


The average daily production increased by 39% while the total connections increased by 45%. Staff/1,000 connections ratio improved from 21.3 to 18.5 NRW was reduced from 62% to 51% while water availability improved from an average of 6 hours/day to 17 hours/day.

3.2 Nature of Business:

DWASA is purely a utility service controlled under LGRD ministry government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Profit making is not the targeted goal. Nevertheless, return should be ensured from the available investment. Balance or surplus amount of money shall be used to develop small-scale project.

Tariff setting aims to make the utility commercially able and alllow it to launching new product add new facilities and services. There was no mineral water production plant under government sector. Recently DWASA introduced a bottled water production plant at Mirpur. It is commissioned at the fag end of 2006 and marketing the same. Now it is only the government owned mineral water production plant in the country. It’s quality & purity is very high but price is cheaper relative to other mineral water product available in the country.

3.3 Organizational Overview:

DWASA is a 100% state owned organization. On November 14, 1963 it started its journey. At the then it had only one water treatment plant name Dhaka Water Works installed in old Dhaka at Chadnighat near the bank of the river Buriganga and eight Deep Tube Wells. The treatment plant was constructed and commissioned in 1874. In revolution of time, the organization introduced more Deep Tube Wells. It had minimum number of work force skilled, semi skilled worker inherited from Dhaka Municipal Corporation.

Demand of water is being increasing day-by-day production of water is being increasing. Both the races are not alike. Water demand is higher relative to available supply. Surface water treatment plant is preferably feasible for producing water. Dhaka WASA is abstracting ground water almost 95%. Whereas it had start its journey with a surface water treatment plant. Now water bodies are badly polluted. Preliminary investment of surface water treatment plant (SWTP) is relatively higher than ground water abstraction. Apparently finding no other alternative the authority as well as government severelly installing deep tube wells. The following table presents the DWASA at a glance.


Items Unit Position as on


Position as on


Position as on


Position as on


Position as on


positionas on 30/06/07
Water System:
Number of DTW in Operation Nos. 394 391 402 418 460 465
Water Treatment Plant Nos. 3 3 3 3 3 3
Water Line Km 2127.48 2358.86 2475.62 2520.91 2520.91 2533.73
Water Connection Nos. 202894 212543 217003 225489 238304 243477
Over Head Tank in Operation Nos. 38 38 38 38 38 34
Public Standpipes Nos. 920 920 920 920 920 1643
Religious Institutions Nos. 970 970 970 970 983 1827
Sewerage System :
Sewer Line Km 631 779 786 808.89 881.02 881.02
Sewer Connection Nos. 47338 48777 49707 50130 50719 59229
Sewage Lift Station Nos. 26 26 26 27 29 29
Sewage Treatment Plant Nos. 1 1 1 1 1 1
Storm Water Drainage System:
Storm Water
Total Pumping Station Nos. 3 3 3 3 3 3
Total Pump Nos. 10 10 10 10 10 10
Total Capacity Cu.M/Sec. 41.60 41.60 41.60 41.60 41.60 41.6
Box Culvert Km 6.50 6.50 6.50 8 8 8
Open Channel Km 56.00 56.00 56.00 65 65 65
Pipe Drain B/Sewer Km 187.00 187.00 187.00 230.08 230.08 230.04
Development Project
Investment Project Nos. 7 7 7 4 8 8
Technical Assistance Project Nos. 1 1 1 1 1 1
Personnel :