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Human Story

Safe water for all in Chittagong (1)

Project for Advancing NRW reduction initiative (PANI) of Chittagong WASA / Karnaphuli Water Supply Project

Reducing Non Revenue Water

A staff member of Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA), wearing a jacket with JICA logo mark, was digging the ground in the downtown of the city. He was in the chicken cage, but was looking for the water meter of the house. It was surviving in the soil, although was not used for a long time.

The city of Chittagong has around 2.7 million population. It is the biggest industrial city of Bangladesh and some of the Japanese companies, especially in garment sector, have started their business here but only 50% of the total water demand of the Chittagong is served. The water pipes were said to be settled in the 1960's. To improve the water supply condition, JICA has now engaged in two major projects; Karnaphuli Water Supply Project and Project for Advancing NRW (non-revenue water) initiative (PANI) of Chittagong WASA.

Non-revenue water (NRW) means the water which is not paid by the users. The reasons for unpaid water are various, such as leaked water from the old pipes, stolen water or no water meters. The lower the rate of NRW is, the better the management of water supply is. For example, NRW in Tokyo is around 4%, in London 25% and in Bangkok 30%.

NRW in Chittagong is more than 40% depending on the area. JICA's project to reduce the rate of NRW started in 2009 and will finish in 2014. "They even did not know where their customers were. What we did first was to find out who the customers were," Mr. Kazuomi Hiroyama, 62 years old, who is a JICA expert for this project said.

Mr. Hiroyama and the project team first prepared the satellite photo of the city. They made a map of all the houses of the areas that the project covered. It reached to 27,000 houses. The staff members are visiting the houses one by one to find out if they have water meters and if those meters are working or not.

So far, the team of CWASA has visited around 90% of the houses. They already observe the change in one of the pilot areas. NRW rate was 55% in the area with 170 houses before the project, but after CWASA visited the houses one by one, the NRW rate there decreased to 17%. The fact encouraged the team a lot, according to Mr. Hiroyama. The CWASA officers with good experience will spread this survey to the whole Chittagong city.

The activity requires patience. Mr. Hiroyama said, "our technical cooperation for reducing NRW is just like precook. We need to improve water supply system to complete the project. Both technical cooperation and ODA infrastructural cooperation are necessary for reforming CWASA."

To be continued

Please find the press release of "Karnaphuli Water Supply Project II"

PhotoFinding a water meter in a chicken cage (Chittagong)

PhotoProject team for reducing NRW of CWASA. Mr. Hiroyama (left) and the staff members visit the house one by one (Chittagong)

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