Identifying water quality risks and modelling intervention strategies in Dhaka

The Oxford-led REACH programme publishes its latest policy brief exploring river water quality in the northeastern portion of Bangladesh’s capital.

Water pollution is a serious problem in Dhaka’s Turag-Tongi-Balu River System. Here watercourses experience very high organic pollution loading, high levels of ammonia and waterborne pathogens; in the dry season, dissolved oxygen (DO) measures close to zero. Sources of pollution include industrial discharges, runoff from waste tips, and nutrients from agricultural runoff from the upper reaches of the river system.

Those who rely on the water for drinking, washing clothes, bathing and vegetable production are under constant threat. Local people suffer high levels of disease, skin infections and more serious illnesses.

Researchers from the Oxford-led REACH programme developed a mathematical dynamic flow and water quality model for the river system, using baseline survey data of water chemistry and pathogens in combination with rainfall data. The models are being used to assess hydrochemical processes in the river and also evaluate alternative strategies for policy and the management of the pollution issues.

For further details of the research and its recommendations, read the full policy brief here.

A version of this post originally appeared on the REACH website.