Integrated Water Resource Management for Mega City: A Case Study of Dhaka City, Bangladesh - page 5

Considering Issues and Measures towards Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Dhaka City

In order to manage this complicated situation it has become necessary to integrate four major issues; these are socio-economical issues, biophysical issues, institutional issues and water quality issues. Making wise decisions about water resources management requires knowledge and wisdom from different disciplines to identify alternative actions and to assess their effects. Engineering knowledge might focus on physical infrastructure systems, whereas sociology or psychology might focus on human impacts. Large capital investments, willingness to pay, people's participation and religious views have been identified as key aspects of socio-economic issues.

Water management is already very challenging because of its temporal and spatial distribution. Moreover the present supply system of Dhaka City is having difficulties managing the enormous, increase in demand of the growing population and fulfill the huge deficit caused by economic development. All of these problems are related to each other.

Thus the aim is to provide a water and resource management system that will economically meet the rising demand and facilitate growth and development by using scarce resources as efficiently as possible. Water supply and demand management through groundwater replenishment, rainwater harvesting, reclamation, recycling and reuse, waste reduction and new source development plans can give increased security to domestic water supplies and resolve the current water deficit problem. Revised domestic and industrial water pricing and reallocation can reduce the misuse and unnecessary loss of water. Institutional reform and effective water resource planning are necessary to increase revenue collection. Selection of target populations and people's participation are vital for the potential application of IWRM. Resource development is further essential for the sustainable management of this valuable resource.

Way Forward to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

Potential application of IWRM includes planning phases of the proposed program, institutional reform, water resource planning and human resource development. Relevant study needs to be carried out to address information and data acquisition, preliminary market assessment for potential users, economic considerations, environmental and social analysis, a possible complementation plan, willingness to pay, a scale of decentralization, the level of people's participation and religious views required in order to be carried. Users should be categorized based on produced water quality and quantity, water capacity to meet future demand, current water supply, demand and deficit, current and future rates and fees, aspects of water use legislation, attitude of agencies, organization and users toward produced water use.

Lack of proper institutional legislation and policy is the central problem. Existing institutions should be reformed with a comprehensive water code addressing legal issues. Legislation for groundwater rights should be introduced. Some of the agencies, responsibilities and jurisdiction can be consolidated. The National water resource planning agency might be powered with more authority and political control. Decentralization of water service provision can be effectively used in this regard. A central repository of water and other resources data with advanced GIS facilities can be built.

Water plan should contain the integrated planning and management principles, pricing and decentralization policy, consideration of social and environmental impacts in the evaluation of water projects, public participation, accomplishments and goals and projection of water supply, demand and subsequent measures to balance them.

An education program to increase public awareness should be introduced. The existence of government staff with necessary skills and training are required. Local consultants with appropriate understanding of local conditions are likely to be more successful in this context. Building the capacity of a higher educational system in environmental science, engineering and management will play a vital role in future management of water resources.