Sunday, 26 September, 2021
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Irrigation in Barind Tract

Surface water use stressed

Surface water use stressed

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RAJSHAHI:  Expressing their grave concern over the gradually mounting pressure on groundwater table researchers and irrigation experts at a stakeholder’s workshop unequivocally called more surface water based irrigation projects in the region and the high Barind tract in particular.
They referred to the excessive use of groundwater for irrigation purposes leaving impacts on agriculture in the drought-prone area and mentioned that protecting groundwater resources has become indispensable for making its agricultural system protected and sustainable to feed the country’s gradually increasing population.
To this end, judicious and careful use of ground and surface water in agriculture sector is necessary to attain food sufficiency during the present day hazards of climate change. Study and Research Division of Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh (IDEB) organised the seminar titled “Building of Surface Water Dependent Effective Irrigation System In Barind Area” at conference hall of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) in Rajshahi city on Monday.
With BMDA Chairman Dr Akram Hossain Chowdhury in the chair, Pro-VC of Rajshahi University Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan and Co-Chairman of Study and Research Circle Tazul Islam presented two separate research papers on the issue.
BMDA Superintending Engineer Shamsul Huda, Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension Fazlur Rahman, Researcher Prof Dr Saifuddin Chowdhury, Principal Scientific Officer of Regional Wheat Research Station Dr Ilias Hossain and Senior Scientific Officer of On Farm Research Division Dr Shakhawat Hossain spoke on the occasion disseminating their respective expertise.
Researcher Dr Jaminur Rahman moderated the discussion. Professor Sarwar Jahan said excessive extraction of groundwater is already leaving an impact on Rajshahi. Underground natural reservoirs are not replenishing due to reduced rainfall. He called for exploring the groundwater potential below 80-meter to bring more area under irrigation for its sustainable use as agriculture plays a vital role in the socio-economic development and water resources lies at its central point.
Prof Jahan said Padma River needs a capital dredging. “If the width of the river is reduced and depth increased, the river will be useful for surface water irrigation as well as resist increase of salinity in the region,” he said. Improved irrigation method like Alternate Wet and Dry method should be introduced widely in order to reduce the irrigation demand.
Coordinated efforts from different government and non- government sectors were essential to fight the vulnerability, he suggested.  Policy level interventions are necessary to achieve sustainability of groundwater use for achieving the food security in the country, Prof Sarwar Jahan suggested saying that it is important to take necessary policy to reduce extraction of groundwater.     —BSS