Strengthening water and sanitation utilities
A big focus of WSUP’s work in Bangladesh is to improve the capacity and performance of the water utilities, so that they are better able to serve the poor. We also help them to reduce water losses in their systems, helping preserve precious supplies of water.
We have had a long relationship with the official water supplier for the capital Dhaka, DWASA, and in recent years have also started supporting the water utility for the country’s second-largest city, Chattogram.
Our support takes several different forms. We provide practical and technical assistance, improving the pipe networks by extending the pipework or introducing new valves or new pipe materials. We also help utilities provide more water into the system from new or improved water sources or wastewater treatment plants, ensuring our support integrates with – and complements – investments from multinational institutions such as the Asian Development Bank.
Our key focus though is to ensure that the poorest urban residents are able to benefit from clean, affordable water. To this end, we helped develop a specialist department within DWASA focused on serving low-income communities, known as the Community Programme and Consumer Relation Division (CP&CRD). This specialist team understands the specific needs of poorer customers – from their lack of office paperwork and low literacy rates to their need to pay in small instalments rather than upfront. We are now building a similar department within the utility in Chattogram.