A central water treatment plant has been set up in Chattogram Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), the country's first EPZ, to meet the demand of water required for the production activities of the factories here.
In the treatment plant, water will be collected from the nearby Karnaphuli River through reverse osmosis method due to salinity in the water and sent to the factories at the EPZ after purification.
Besides, a pond is being dug on 2.50 acres of land in the residential area of EPZ to conserve rain water and roadside lakes in the EPZ will be used to store rain water. With these, Chattogram EPZ is going to reduce underground water use to zero level.
Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman, executive chairman of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (Bepza), inaugurated the water treatment plant on Thursday.
From the reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plant, daily 30 lakh gallons (about 11,364 cubic metres) out of total 70-80 lakh gallon demand will be supplied to manufacturing industries in the EPZ.
Out of 80 lakh gallon daily demand of water, 28-30 lakh gallons of water is brought from Karnaphuli EPZ water treatment plant through two pipes. Besides, Chattogram Wasa supplies 2-4 lakh gallons of water. The remaining 40-46 lakh gallons of water were extracted through 112 deep tube wells. From now on, 30 lakh gallons of water will come from the newly set up plant.
A pump station has been set up at the Silo jetty in Patenga on the Karnaphuli River to collect water through reverse osmosis method thanks to salinity in water. The water will be stored in five reservoirs of Chattogram EPZ after purification. To maintain the flow of water, the entire EPZ will be divided into three zones for water supply.
After 39 long years, the country's first EPZ is going to have a permanent solution to the water crisis.
For the implementation of the water treatment plant project to ensure water supply to the EPZ, the Chattogram EPZ has signed a 30-year contract with the private company Sigma Group. The company has invested Tk45 crore and installed modern technology of water treatment.
Regarding rainwater conservation, Sigma Group General Manager (Project) Engineer Md Tazul Islam told The Business Standard, "Roadside lakes in Chattogram EPZ will be used to conserve rain water during monsoon season. Through the ground recharge system, excess water will be pumped 500 to 800 feet below the ground during monsoon which will help increase the groundwater level. When salinity of the river water increases during the dry season, then this water can be pumped up again and purified for use."
According to the agreement, Karnaphuli RO Water Limited, a subsidiary of Sigma Group, will sell per cubic metre water for Tk39.17 to EPZ authorities. The EPZ authority will sell to industrial establishments for Tk43 including service charges. However, EPZ authorities purchase water from Chattogram Wasa for Tk37 per cubic metre.
Bepza Executive Chairman Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman said, "This EPZ was dependent on underground water. As the number of establishments and production increases, it becomes harmful to the environment. For this we set up this plant to bring water from Karnaphuli river. As salinity in the river water is high, a reverse osmosis plant is required. Groundwater usage will be reduced to zero in all EPZs of the country in phases."
Chattogram EPZ Executive Director Mashiuddin Bin Mejbah said, "Since its establishment, there has been a water crisis in this EPZ. Even though the demand for water increased with the increase of production, the crisis could not be solved. At last, our own water management system is being developed."