Dhaka’s population has multiplied 14 times in 50 years since 1971. The megacity is now the seventh most populous in the world with over 21 million residents. Responsibility for sewered sanitation in the city resides with the utility, Dhaka Water Supply & Sewerage Authority (DWASA), under the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Act 1996. DWASA has been active in providing such services since 1963. Responsibility for on-site sanitation, in areas within their jurisdiction, resides with Dhaka’s two city corporations: Dhaka North (DNCC) and Dhaka South (DSCC). City Corporation responsibility for on-site sanitation can be traced back to the City Corporation Act 2009.
This case study explores the recent evolution of Dhaka’s sanitation sector, including planned investments and recent reforms to the institutional and regulatory framework, which provide a basis for strengthening accountability and tackling the entrenched practice of discharging wastewater directly to open surface drains.