Sewerage Project in Chattogram Expected to Lead to Better Public and Environmental Health

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In the absence of a proper sewerage system in Bangladesh’s second largest city, Chattogram, wastewater gets discharged into the Karnaphuli River through a network of canals. This adversely affects the environment and living conditions of at least 3 million residents. 

With support from CDIA through a project preparation study (PPS), the city government has now prepared an investment project for North Kattoli, one of the catchment areas prioritized under their sanitation master plan. When implemented, the project can directly benefit at least 270,000 residents, more than half of which are considered poor.  

“The sewerage project is expected to contribute to further development and increase the city’s standard of living while also supporting the government’s goal of achieving sustainable development goal 6.2,” said AKM Fazlullah, Managing Director of Chattogram Water and Sewerage Authority (CWASA). 

In 2017, CWASA brought the entire city under a planned sanitation system through the development of a comprehensive sanitation improvement strategy and master plan for Chattogram.  

The plan has identified $1.3 billion worth of investments in wastewater and fecal sludge management (FSM) infrastructure to be implemented over 40 years in a phased manner. It also divided the city area into six sewerage catchments: Halishar, Kalurghat, Fateabad, East Bakalia, Patenga, and North Kattoli, each with proposed sewage treatment plant (STP). 

Since Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has committed to funding the project for North Kattoli, CDIA prepared the feasibility study and preliminary design for the sewerage project, including safeguard due diligence in preparation for the AFD loan.  

CDIA recommended a fully separate sewerage system that will efficiently isolate the polluted wastewater from the cleaner stormwater, safeguard the environment from overspills during high intensity rain events, and protect the public health from the risk of sewage flooding the streets.  

It also proposed incorporating FSM facilities, including on-site sanitation improvements wherever a sewerage facility cannot be provided due to space limitations or inability to pay. CDIA further provided advice on business models that can attract private investment in sanitation and FSM.  

As Bangladesh is considered one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change, CDIA also conducted a climate-related risk and adaptation assessment to increase the urban resilience of Chattogram, which is particularly at risk due to it being a low-lying, coastal city. 

Finally, CDIA developed a comprehensive capacity development program to build the institutional and human resources capacity of Chattogram toward the efficient and sustainable management of the proposed infrastructure investments.  

“Upon completion of the project, I believe the quality of life and the hygienic conditions of beneficiaries will be improved,” said Director Fazlullah. “We, along with our children will enjoy a better quality of life and secure a better urban environment for forthcoming generations,” he added. 

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