Underground water level in Chattogram fast depleting
With growing number of industries, demand for water has gone up manifold at different industrial zones in Chattogram. Accordingly, water crisis in some heavily industrialized zones has intensified in the last five years. 500 out of 1,250 small and medium factories in 17 industrial zones in the region are facing severe water crisis. Moreover, Chattogram's domestic consumers are also suffering from severe drinking water crisis.
According to statistics, in the last 12 years, the groundwater level has declined by 13 meters. Even some 75 metre deep tube wells installed by private enterprises now cannot lift water in some places. In reality, the industries themselves are somewhat responsible for their own miseries. Experts have linked an ongoing severe water crisis to excessive extraction of groundwater. Heavy industries in this region have been using groundwater instead of carrying water from far away rivers. The industries extract water by installing deep tubewells without taking any permission from the authorities. Understandably, since the water level has gone down, water abstracting mechanism is failing to provide enough water to factories. Consequently, production cost of many industries has shot up.
Under these circumstances, the largest economic zone of Bangladesh the Bangabandhu Industrial City is being developed on about 30,000 acres of land in Mirsarai. The industrial city is expected to employ at least 1.5 million people. It will have an estimated daily demand of about 500 million litres of water by 2031.
In addition to the industrial demand of water, domestic demand is also growing. Coupled with the scientists , we also apprehend impending natural and humanitarian catastrophe in the region - owing to a significant fall in groundwater. If the arbitrary use of groundwater is not stopped, it will be difficult to handle the situation in the coming days.
By now, water of Karnaphuli and Halda rivers has become unusable because of climate change. In addition, in the last 33 years, the salinity of the Karnaphuli has increased almost 3,000 times. The maximum salinity in Halda was 90ppm in 2004, which increased to 11,000ppm after cyclone Yaas. At the same time, river water cannot resolve the ongoing crisis. In order to meet the growing water demand, the Chattogram City Authority is planning to bring water from the Meghna River, which will be a sustainable solution. In addition, industries must focus on the use of rainwater and surface water. No industrial plant can run on groundwater.
If necessary, they can purify river water and use it. Desalinizing of sea water can relieve us largely in this regard. We expect that the authorities responsible will take immediate steps to stop industrial extraction of underground water while offer alternatives the soonest.