RAJSHAHI: Kostantina Hashda, 43, wife of Mathius Hembrom of Nobaibottola village under Godagri upazila in the district, has started getting access to safe drinking water after a long wait.
“We had to face multifarious problems relating to fetching water for our five-member family,” said Kostantina while talking to BSS in the city on Friday adding that the problem has now been eradicated.Bimola Saren, 32, wife of Sukhen Saren, also expressed her happiness over the water supply system. She is now getting requisite water for her seven-member family.
A submersible pump has been installed in the locality and water is being supplied to the households through commissioning pipeline and outlets ensuring water rights to the drought-affected Barind area.
Like Kostantina, 1.45 lakh families including 1.02 lakh ethnic minority people have been brought under safe drinking water source through commissioning 298 submersible pumps in the high Barind tract.
The pumps along with 97,315 feet pipelines were commissioned with intervention of ‘Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) project’ being implemented in 35 UPs and three pourasabhas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts since 2014.
DASCOH Foundation and Swiss Red Cross are jointly implementing the project with financial support from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation-SDC.
The beneficiary people took the responsibility of proper maintenance and function of the infrastructures routinely. The initiative has been taken to maintain round-the-year drinking water supply to the poor and vulnerable villagers, where, power supply is available.Two solar panels were installed to operate two pumps in the villages remain beyond power supply network.
Ataur Rahman, chairman of Badhair Union Parishad under Tanore upazila, said the water-deprived poor and underprivileged communities in the drought-hit area are getting safe drinking water privileges with the project intervention.
In the wake of inadequate aquifer recharge, groundwater level is declining alarmingly in the high Barind tract posing a serious threat to its farming sector besides living and livelihood condition of the poor and marginalized population including the ethnic minorities.
Lifting underground water through deep tube-wells is becoming tougher during the dry season day by day. Options for surface water are also very limited.
He, however, said that the submersible water supply system has become a blessing for the drought-affected people.
Akramul Haque, chief executive officer of DASCOH Foundation, said the scheme intends to supply safe drinking water in those drought-prone areas where acute crisis of drinking water exists.
Its main objective is to supply round-the-year potable water to all people in the targeted area. “We have undertaken another initiative of supplying safe drinking water to 5,400 other drought-hit people of 1,200 households at Bidirpur village under Godagari upazila,” he added.
Installation of a deep tube-well along with an overhead tank is progressing fast for the purpose. “We are installing 6,000-meter pipelines for supplying door-to-door water like urban areas,” he added.
Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan of Department of Geology and Mining of Rajshahi University says the initiative contributes a lot to reduce the acute crisis of drinking water in the drought-prone Barind area.
Referring to his research findings, he said there is a shortage of drinking water in the region during dry season and the problem has become acute for the last couple of years.
The existing shallow water technologies become ineffective currently and demand for deep tube-wells has increased in the area due to rapid decline of groundwater level along with arsenic contamination in shallow aquifer in many areas.
Dr Chowdhury said villagers cannot withdraw groundwater as the water level goes down abnormally during every dry season.
He said the excessive use of groundwater through irrigation and the existing adverse impact of climate change are putting local people into trouble since the hand-driven tube-wells are not functioning here in dry season.
The changed climatic condition has been posing a serious threat to the overall public health in the vast Barind tract, especially Tanore and Godagari upazilas in Rajshahi and Nachole and Gomostapur upazilas in Chapainawabganj.
“The fight against water scarcity and unhygienic situation is very tough. Coordinated efforts of different government and non-government organisations are needed to address water problems here,” Dr Chowdhury added.