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Putting emphasis on the use of surface water, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said works are going on to ensure safe water supply from surface water sources to all the divisional cities by 2021.

“Projects are underway for ensuring safe water from surface water sources in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna and other divisional cities by 2021. The government wants to supply safe water to all before 2030 as per SDG’s timeframe. By implementing Vision 2021, we’ll ensure safer water for all within 2021,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating Dhaka Water Conference at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon.

She said the government has given a special emphasis on reducing the use of groundwater and preservation of surface water and its use.

Sheikh Hasina aid generally the main problems in daily safe water use and management are arsenic and salinity pollution, reduction of groundwater, scarcity of preservation of surface water, misuse of water and pollution by industrial wastes and other sources.

She mentioned that the government has been implementing short-, medium- and long-term plans to overcome these problems.

The Prime Minister said the government has formulated the National Water Policy 1999, the Water Supply and Sewerage Act 1996 and the National Water Supply and Sanitation Act 2014.

She also said implementation of National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation and Implementation Plan (NAMIP) and a project to mitigate arsenic related problems is underway.

“The government allocated Tk 14,900 crore for these projects during the last eight years,” she said adding that currently various projects costing Tk 32,000 crore are now being implemented.

She said some 7,000 ponds have already been desalinated by filtering their water and 32,600 deep tube-wells have been installed in the salinity- affected areas, and 4,700 reservoirs have been constructed to preserve rainwater.

In the capital, the Prime Minister said, new canals are being excavated, and initiatives are on to re-excavate the old ones and preserve the reservoirs. Steps are also underway to build reservoirs installing rainwater harvesting system and draining out wastes and polluted water.

Taking assistance from 12 development partners, the government has initiated a 100-year exemplary plan titled ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100’ for coordinated water resources management, Hasina said adding, “Under the plan availability of water, its uses and ecological issues have been brought under consideration.”

Besides, she said, Bangladesh has been divided into six divisions under the plan considering the geological diversity and water features where plane land, hill and coastal areas are designed in different plans.

Chaired by LGED Minister Engineer Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, the programme was also addressed by Foreign Minister and co-chair of the Delta Coalition AH Mahmood Ali, Water Resources Minister and chair of Delta Coalition Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud and Principal Coordinator of SDG Affairs Abul Kalam Azad.

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