BMDA re-excavating over 700 more ponds in Rajshahi region
Around 715 more derelict ponds and 10 other big abandoned water bodies are being re-excavated in Rajshahi region, including its vast Barind tract, aimed at making those suitable for both irrigation and household purposes.
Ultimately, the initiative will contribute a lot towards improving surface water resources besides aquifer recharge in the drought-prone areas.
It will also help reduce the gradually mounting pressure on underground water side by side by encouraging the people to boost the farming of fish and duck after the best uses of the conserved water.
On behalf of its project titled ‘Small irrigation through pond re-excavation and surface water augmentation’, Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, an ever-largest irrigation-providing state-owned entity in the country’s northwest region, has been re-excavating the ponds for the last couple of years.
Engineer Shariful Haque, Director of the project, told BSS that the five-year project is being implemented in 43 drought-prone upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Naogaon, Bogura and Natore districts with an estimated cost of around Taka 128.19 crore.
Under the project, 85 solar panel driven low lift pumps are being installed for lifting the irrigation water for boosting the renewable energy used for irrigation purposes. Installations of 35 of those were completed till December last.
Construction of an 80-kilometer underground pipeline for distribution of the irrigation water to the croplands is one of the project components. Constructions of 40 of those were completed.
More than 1.5 lakh tree saplings will be transplanted on the banks of the re-excavated ponds and canals that will supplement the process of ecological improvement through mitigating the adverse impact of climate change. Fifty percent of those were achieved till the end of last year.
Salient feature of the project is to enhance water-holding capacity besides supporting the aquifer recharge process and multipurpose uses of the conserved water through re-excavation of the state-owned derelict ponds.
Upon successful implementation by December in 2023, the project will create scope of providing irrigation to 3,058 hectares of farming fields for yielding around 18,348 tonnes of additional crops yearly.
In addition, the scope of producing 1,088 tonnes of additional fish will be created through the conserved water.
Earlier on, the BMDA has re-excavated 3,098 ponds and 2,011-kilometer canal through implementation of various other projects in order to promote surface water-based irrigation till June last, Engineer Haque added.
Large-scale promotion of irrigation has brought a revolutionary change to the agriculture sector in the region, including its vast Barind tract, supplementing the government efforts of ensuring food security.
Farming scenario has also been changed as a result of expanding the irrigation facilities contributing a lot towards improving living and livelihood conditions of the people.
Many of the grassroots farmers are cultivating and producing varieties of crops, fruits and vegetables almost round the year uninterruptedly.
Meanwhile, more than 12.58 lakh community people of 2.66 lakh households are being motivated and encouraged towards promoting and using the surface water resources to reduce the pressure on underground water under the ‘Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)’ project.
The project is being implemented by DASCOH Foundation in around 1,280 drought-hit villages under 39 Union Parishads and three municipalities of eight upazilas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts supported by Switzerland since 2014, said Jahangir Alam Khan, Coordinator of IWRM
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.
Jahangir Khan, however, said the BMDA’s ongoing project would play a vital role to improve the socio-economic condition of the project-related population through expansion and development of the surface water resources that will supplement the government efforts of achieving sustainable development goals.
Lutfor Haider Rashid, chairman of Tanore upazila Parishad, said the water-deprived poor and underprivileged communities in the drought-hit areas would get access to water with the project intervention.
The initiatives, as a whole, would contribute a lot to reduce the acute crisis of water in the drought-prone Barind area, he expected.