Sustainable water management is crucial to ensure access to safely managed water supply and sanitation for all and balancing the needs of humans and nature. Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, the unsafe disposal of human excreata to the nature are major concerns, with potentially severe consequences for the country’s people, economy, and businesses. Addressing these issues require collective efforts from governments, industries, and stakeholders to explore ways and act to protect and manage water efficiently.
To start the discussion and accelerate the positive changes, the 1st Sustainable Water Management (SWM) Expo was arranged in alignment with this year’s theme for World Water Day, which calls for expediting change and taking collective efforts to solve the water crisis by changing the way we use, consume, and manage water.
The programme was jointly organised by Bangladesh Water Works Association (BWWA), ITN-BUET, Dhaka WASA, WaterAid and others partners organization in Dhaka during March 20-22, 2023. The expo offered valuable resources for achieving SDG-6 targets, and ITN-BUET provided practical insights into addressing environmental and public health issues.
Dr. Tanvir Ahmed, the Director of ITN-BUET, was the keynote speaker in the technical session on Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) at the SWM Expo, held on March 21, 2023. The session focused on the challenges of implementing proper sanitation measures to achieve SDG-6 targets, including the root causes and social inclusion aspects. Dr. Ahmed highlighted the impact of poor sanitation on urban populations and challenges to solve the issues in the context of rapid urbanization. He also discussed ITN-BUET’s approach to urban sanitation and its efforts to promote the CWIS perspective in Bangladesh. During the technical session, Executive Engineer Ms. Dilruba Farzana from the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) presented the FS & SWM dashboard, an online sanitation situation tracking initiative. The dashboard uses relevant SDG indicators to monitor the fecal sludge and solid waste management status in municipalities.
The technical session included a panel discussion followed by the presentations, where Dr. Tarek Bin Yousuf, former Add. Chief Engineer, DNCC, and Mr. Md. Shafiqul Hassan, Co-Chair, SWIS-FSM Support Cell, DPHE joined the presenters. The discussions delved deeper into the challenges and solutions for achieving CWIS targets which was facilitated by Ms. Makfie Farah, Knowledge Management Specialist, ITN-BUET. The highly informative session encouraged collaboration and knowledge sharing between the attendees and the panelists. The session included a question-answer segment where the attendees actively participated in the discussion with their queries to the panelists and valuable suggestions. All the panelists responded to the questions and made the event highly interactive.
ITN-BUET through a stall at this expo exhibited different knowledge products, research findings, capacity-building modules, case studies, and best practices on water supply and sanitation services. The stall contributed to enhance brand awareness and exposure by presenting products in an interactive and visually appealing manner. ITN-BUET also distributes freebies such as brochures and flashcards to visitors to help visitors in accessing all the relevant information and documents online.