Capital’s water retention zones disappearing fast

Rashad Ahamad | Published: 00:46, Sep 08,2018 | Updated: 00:49, Sep 08,2018

 
 

Water retention zones around the capital are shrinking fast due to land grabbing and unplanned constructions.
As a result prolonged water logging is occurring in the capital besides causing environmental hazards.
Disappearance of water retention zones would not only further increase the durations of water logging but also cause flash floods in the capital, urban planners and environmentalists told New Age.
They said the water retention zones were filled up as the government agencies took no action.
The capital’s Flood Action Plan and the Detailed Area Plan identified 5,523 acres of water retention areas, 20,093 acres of canals and rivers, and 74,598 acres of flood flow zones for preservation by the government.
The harsh reality is that almost two thirds of the areas have already been grabbed by powerful groups.
According to the estimates of Bangladesh Institute of Planners general secretary Adil Muhammed Khan over 2,000 acres of flood flow zones disappears every year.
The DAP covering 1,590 sq km, adopted in 2010 calls for the preservation of at least 12 per cent of the area for water retention.
The water retention areas identified for preservation included ponds, canals, lakes and other water bodies.
A Rajuk study done in 2017, found the existence of barely 1,744 acres of water retention areas around the capital.
On the basis of the Rajuk study, the DAP is being revised to make it useful for 20 years spanning 2016 and 2035.
Urban planner Akter Mahmud said that the authorities already neglected their most important responsibility of preserving five identified retention ponds covering 3,542 acres located at points where canals met rivers in the capital.
The grabbers were powerful groups as well as various government agencies.
During visits to wetlands, New Age saw real estate companies were filling them up for their housing projects.
Travellers are shocked to see hundreds of brickfields and multi storied business centres on what were wetlands until recent times on both sides of the Dhaka-Tangail Highway and the Dhaka-Aricha Highway.
Institute of Water and Environment chairman M Inamul Haque said that disappearance of the water retention areas could cause flash floods in the capital besides increasing the durations of waterlogging.
He expressed fears that the capital was headed for serious environmental and public health crisis.
Papers in the office of the deputy commissioner of Dhaka show 43 canals in the capital, but no one would see them as they had been illegally grabbed by powerful men.
Centre for Urban Studies founding chairman professor Nazrul Islam said that the country’s capital being a plain land needs natural drainage.
A city on the hills does not need such facilities as their slopes don’t allow water logging, he said.
He said that the people living in the DND area specially at Jurain and Shyampur have been suffering from permanent waterlogging.
He urged the government to restore the capital’s water retention areas for ending its water-logging
problem.
Rajuk deputy town planner and DAP project director Ashraful Islam said that the water retention areas could not be preserved as they were mostly private properties.
He said that only by acquiring private properties the capital’s water retention areas could be preserved.

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