Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Water angels

Posted by Charles II on December 1, 2008

Barney Jopson, FT:

… Korail, a rough-and-tumble place that swallows daylight, is not connected to the public water supply in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, because like most slums its residents occupy land to which they have no legal right.

Instead, they are forced to buy water from private sellers such as Shahida Akhter, a woman with sleek features, who manages the network of pipes.

She says she paid for a legitimate connection; they say she bribed a corrupt official from the water authority. She says she fills the tank for an hour and a half every day; they say water runs for 20 or 30 minutes. …

But elsewhere in Dhaka, a city where a third of its 10m people live in slums, there are signs of hope. WaterAid, a charity the Financial Times is supporting in its seasonal appeal, has been working with one of its local partners, DSK, to change water policy.

In 1992, DSK began trying to persuade the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority that slum dwellers had a moral right to public water and were ready to pay a fair price. …

The authority also saw that extending its network to the slums reduced losses from illegal tapping.

DSK went on to replicate its model across Dhaka and last year the water authority agreed the 200-odd water points registered in its name could be switched to slum dwellers….

“DSK are like angels to us,” says Ms Begum, who makes a living from trading scrap. “They have enabled us to pursue our livelihoods. They have helped us live with dignity and courage.”

One Response to “Water angels”

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing this, Charles.

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