Monday, 28 November, 2022

‘Indiscriminate extraction of groundwater should be stopped’

RAJSHAHI: Checking indiscriminate extraction of groundwater can be the best way of water resource conservation in the region, particularly in its water-stressed high Barind tract, for the greater interest of protecting the living and livelihood conditions.

An adverse impact has already been created on the aquifer due to excessive extraction of ground water for irrigation and other purposes in the dried area.

Water experts and other stakeholders came up with the observation while addressing a district workshop titled “Operationalising Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in compliance with the Bangladesh Water Rules, 2018” here on Monday, reports BSS.

The Water Resource Planning Organization (WARPO), an apex planning body in the water sector, hosted the workshop at Nanking Darbar Hall supported by Switzerland.

Large number of officials from all the line departments and others concerned joined the meeting discussing and devising ways and means on how to mitigate the water crises in the region.

Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources Rezaul Mostofa Kamal addressed the meeting as chief guest, while Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan of the Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University spoke as resource person.

WARPO Director General Abul Kalam Azad, former director general Sorafat Hossain and IWRM Project Director Jahid Hossain also spoke disseminating their expertise on the issue, while Deputy Director of Local Government Division Shahana Akhter Jahan was in the chair.

Goutam Chandra Mridha, Team Leader of Institute of Water Modeling, gave an illustration on the issues related to the existing water resources along with their vulnerabilities.

In his remarks, Rezaul Mostofa Kamal called for substantial and sustainable promotion of managed aquifer recharge and rainwater harvesting for enriching surface water resources in the Barind area.

He said the present government under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working relentlessly to ensure water rights to all.

The chief guest said Bangladesh Water Act 2013 and Bangladesh Water Rules 2018 will ensure water rights and the government has started enforcing laws to identify and secure water resources and regulate their use.

Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan told the meeting that people in the region are struggling to get drinking water while many paddy farmers are either diversifying to less water-intensive crops or converting their croplands to ponds.

The region is characterised by decreasing rainfall and depleting groundwater levels, mostly extracted for paddy farming, rice mill operations, and other industrial purposes.