Chattogram’s Water Crisis: A Looming Threat Demands Urgent Action


The 15 upazilas of Chattogram are facing a water crisis of alarming proportions, exposing the fragility of the region’s environment and social fabric.

The stark reality is evident in the staggering number of over 24,000 dysfunctional tube wells – a testament to unsustainable water management practices and excessive industrial water use.

The blame lies squarely with the heavy industries and factories concentrated in areas like Sitakunda, boasting around 300 such entities.

Their insatiable thirst for water, fueled by high-powered pumps, is rapidly depleting the vital groundwater reserves.

This disrupts the natural replenishment cycle, leading to a significant drop in water availability, especially during the dry season when the demand peaks.

Residents bear the brunt of this crisis, forced to resort to unsafe water sources, putting their health at significant risk.

Even functional tube wells in some areas, like Banshkhali, offer saline water, rendering it unsuitable for household use.

The dependence on unhygienic ponds further underscores the severity of the situation, highlighting the potential for waterborne diseases to spread.


While the Department of Public Health Engineering’s (DPHE) efforts to install new tube wells were a positive step, they ultimately proved ineffective due to the continued, excessive industrial extraction.

Court declarations of “crisis areas” acknowledge the gravity of the problem, but highlight the need for stricter enforcement and robust regulatory measures.

The vast gap between groundwater extraction and natural replenishment is a grim indicator of the situation’s urgency. The reliance on deep tube wells, reaching depths of 600-700 feet, paints a worrying picture of a rapidly depleting resource.

The monsoon season may offer temporary relief, but a sustainable solution is essential to prevent further ecological damage and safeguard the well-being of the region’s population.

Addressing this multifaceted crisis requires a comprehensive approach. Stricter regulations on industrial water use, coupled with robust monitoring mechanisms, are crucial to ensure responsible resource management.

Investments in alternative water sources, such as rainwater harvesting, surface water treatment, and desalination (in coastal areas), can significantly reduce dependence on groundwater.

Additionally, industries must be held accountable by mandating water-efficient technologies and encouraging their contribution to local water management efforts as part of their corporate social responsibility.

The water crisis in Chattogram serves as a stark warning for developing regions grappling with rapid industrialization.