BMDA) wants to spread surface water irrigation in Rajshahi

Staff Reporter :: 23 Time View :
Update : Sunday, March 24, 2024

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) wants to spread surface water irrigation in the region, particularly in its vast Barind area as it has implemented a project titled “Small irrigation through pond re-excavation and surface water augmentation” recently.

Surface water irrigation appeared to be a best tool to mitigate the gradually mounting pressure on underground water in the drought-prone Barind area having scores of natural water bodies which currently remain in uncared and derelict condition.

BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid said the five-year project has been implemented in 43 drought-prone upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Naogaon, Bogura and Natore districts with an estimated cost of around Taka 128.19 crore.
The ever-largest irrigation-providing state-owned entity in the country’s northwest region brought around 715 more derelict ponds and 10 other big closed water bodies under re-excavation.

The water bodies’ re-excavation was accomplished aimed at making those suitable for both irrigation and household use in the region, Rashid said.
After successful implementation by December in 2023, the project has created scope of providing irrigation to 3,058 hectares of farming fields for yielding around 18,348 tonnes additional crops yearly.
In addition, prospects of producing 1,088 tonnes of additional fish were created with conservation of water in these re-excavated water bodies.

The project has also been reducing the gradually mounting pressure on underground water with encouraging the people to boost the farming of fish and duck in the conserved water, Rashid said.
Before implementing the project, the BMDA has re-excavated 3,098 ponds, 2,011-kilometer canal and 413 dug-wells through implementation of other projects to promote surface water-based irrigation till June last, the official said.

He said: “We have a plan of elevating the surface water-based irrigation to 30 percent from the existing ten percent by 2030 to lessen the gradually mounting pressure on underground water.”

Referring to various research findings, Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan of Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University said there are around 10,000 ponds, 200 canals and ten other big sized waterholes in the barind areas consisting of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts.
“We have enormous scopes of enriching the surface water resources through proper management of the water bodies,” he said.

Prof Chowdhury has conducted research on both surface and groundwater resources in the drought-prone Barind area for a long time.
He cited the instance of Beelbhatia, a vast water body and wetland of around 6,388 acres, at Bholahat upazila in Chapainawabganj. Tens of thousands hectares of farmland can be irrigated round the year through using conserved water of the beel if it was re-excavated, he said.
There is another four to five kilometer long water body at Rohanpur in Gomastapur upazila of the same district.

If it was re-excavated, around 10,000 hectares of land of 25,000 farmers can be brought under surface water irrigation, Chowdhury said.
Apart from this, the two-kilometer Chowdala-Boalia canal remained in derelict condition for a long.

Around 150 hectares of farmlands can be irrigated with water from the canal if it was re-excavated, he added.
He said transformation of all the existing underground water-based irrigation into surface water ones can be the crucial means of lessening the gradually mounting pressure on groundwater tables.
He mentioned that the gradually declining water resources are posing a serious threat to the living and livelihood of the marginalized and other less-income group families in the water-stressed area.
The existing adverse impact of climate change is putting local people into trouble since the hand-driven tube-wells are not functioning here in the dry season, he added.
So, in this regard, surface water can be the best way to lessen pressure on underground water.

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