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Thrust on efficient use of water resources

FE Report | November 18, 2019 00:00:00

(L-R): Former MCCI President Syed Nasim Manzur, Water Resources Secretary Kabir Bin Anwar, Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs) of PMO Md Abul Kalam Azad, MCCI President Ms. Nihad Kabir, Water Resources Additional Secretary Mahmudul Islam and Country Coordinator 2030 WRG, WBG Javed Bin Karim seen at a dissemination workshop on Valuing Water in the city on Sunday

Speakers at a programme on Sunday called for shadow pricing of water as soon as possible to help state bodies, industries and general people understand multidimensional value of water resources.

They also stressed the need for efficient use of water resources in agriculture, industries and households for a sustainable future through perceiving its cultural, ecological and social aspects.

The observations came at a 'Dissemination Workshop on Valuing Water Initiatives' held at M Anis-Ud-Dowla Conference Hall of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MCCI) in the city's Gulshan-1.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) in association with 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) and MCCI.

Principal Coordinator of SDG Affairs in Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad addressed the programme as the chief guest while MoWR secretary Kabir Bin Anwar and MCCI president Nihad Kabir as the special guests.

Chaired by MoWR additional secretary Mahmudul Islam, 2030 WRG consultant Jennifer M Gulland and Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Prof Dr Mohammad Rezaur Rahman also spoke while former MCCI president Syed Nasim Manzur gave vote of thanks.

In his speech, Mr Azad said water bodies around the world are getting contaminated due to various reasons, limiting sources of clean drinking water.

"Collaborative effort among public and private is required to make use of water efficient in industries, agriculture and even in households."

Referring to SDG-6 on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, he said water is not just connected to SDG-6 but linked to almost all 17 goals to some extent.

In a presentation, WRG consultant Gulland said valuing water does not limit to the economic aspect of pricing of water, it stresses that cultural, ecological, social, spiritual aspects of water are taken into account in decisions on water.

She said it is important to highlight that valuing water is not pricing water. The objective of valuing water is not to increase water prices, rather to make more informed decisions to allow for the optimal allocation and usage for water.

According to Investopedia, a shadow price is commonly referred to as a monetary value assigned to an abstract commodity that is not ordinarily quantifiable as having a market price but needs to be assigned a valuation to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.

Concluding the session, Mr Nasim Manzur said, "On behalf of the private sector, we are very encouraged to know that once again Bangladesh continues to lead in addressing an important issue like valuing water."

He also said the workshop was a knowledge-sharing platform for the private sector to get informed of best practices in water usage in the country by local and international corporate companies.

According to World Business Council on Sustainable Development, undertaking the process of valuing water helps businesses in five key areas: enhance decision making; maintain and enhance revenues; reduce costs; manage risks; and enhance reputation.

In a bid to valuing water, the government formed a multi-stakeholder High Level Valuing Water Committee (HL-VWC) and Technical Valuing Water Committee (T-VWC).

HL-VWC and T-VWC in cooperation with MoWR have taken a project, developed by Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO), titled 'Study on Developing Operational Shadow Prices for Water to Support Informed Policy and Investment Decision Making Processes'.

WARPO will implement the project, taken at a cost of around Tk 48.90 million, within 18 months.

The project objectives include raising awareness about value of water, fixing shadow prices for water differentiated by regions, seasons and sources; supporting public and private sector for making informed decisions on investments and policies considering value of water; and allocating resources in efficient and effective way for greater sustainable and equitable water resource management and socio-economic development.

The workshop also informed that Bangladesh ranks 106th in terms of the reliability of water supply and 126th in terms of exposure to unsafe drinking water with 41 per cent of its population being exposed to unsafe drinking water.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) country representative Raquibul Amin, WARPO directors Bodrun Nahar and Taufiqul Islam, Coca-Cola Bangladesh CEO Ajay Bathija, and Unilever Bangladesh head of corporate affairs Shamima Akhter also spoke at the programme.


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