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Groundwater continues to go down in Barind region

Published : Friday, 9 April, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 95
Rafiqul Hasan Firoz 

The photo shows a man trying to collect water from a tube-well in Rajshahi.

The photo shows a man trying to collect water from a tube-well in Rajshahi.

RAJSHAHI, Apr 8: Groundwater level continues to go down in Barind region of the district.
Already, water layers in the raised areas have been waterless.  Thousands of people are making a hue and cry for drinking water.
The deep tube-wells of the Barendra Multi-purpose Development Authority (BMDA) have lost their layer connections.
Farmers are hiccupping in irrigating their Boro paddy fields. Researchers said, if effective step is not taken right now, agriculture irrigation will get suspended within next two-three years; severe drinking water crisis will create.
 Not only submersible tube-wells, but also deep tube-wells have lost pumping capacities.
Two experimental wells in Mundumala Pourasabha and Badhair Union have also turned disorder.
Canal and beel (water body) water has dried up due to drought; ponds have been waterless.
In this situation, severe drinking water crisis has created in the raised localities.
Earlier, in 2015, 15 unions and three pourasabhas were identified as risky after conducting a survey.
In 2014, the survey was conducted by Development Association for Self Reliance, Communication & Health (DASCO) Foundation under Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) project.
The survey recommended for stopping groundwater lifting on an emergency basis. It suggested using alternative sources including rain water for irrigation. It took one year to complete the survey.
According to the survey report, water was found usually within 60-90 feet in the risky region one era back. At present, water is not available in 160 feet deep.
 Three risky pourasabhas are Mundumala of Tanore Upazila, Knakonhat of Godagari, and Rahanpur of Chapainawabnganj.
The 15 risky unions are: Tanore Upazila's Badhair, Kalma, and Pnachandar, Godagari Upazila's Mohanpur, Pakri, Godari, Chapainawabganj Sadar Upazila's Sadar Union, Gobra Tala and Jilim, Nachol Upazila's Kosba and Nezampur, Bholahat Upazila's Daldali, Gomastapur Upazila's Parbatipur, Rahanpur, and Radhanagar.    According to the report, the risk areas are 65 centimetre above sea level.  It has been asked to discontinue Boro farming in the risky unions and Portasahas using ground water. In 2014, more four Pourasabhas and 35 unions were identified as most risky zones in Barind region. About 48 wells were installed in these areas.
By March in 2018, the latest water-level survey was made through 48 wells. According to the survey report, quick water layer downing took place in Tanore's Mundumala Purasabha and Badhair Union and in Parbatipur Union of Gomastapur Upazila. As a result, these two unions and one Pourasabha have been in most risky condition.
Prof Chowdhury  Sarwar Zahan of Geology and Mineral Resources Department of Rajshahi University said, he has been conducting research on ground water in Barind region since 2014.  
He said, researchers are in tension with rapid going down of ground water layer in Barind region.
This is because if the ground layers become waterless, then sand and stone will lose base, and in any mild quake, the region will get dived down, he mentioned.
"There is no alternative to save Barind region," he said, adding, firstly the ground-water-lifting for irrigation will have to be stopped.
Ponds and other water bodies will have to be excavated deeply for preserving rain water.
Roof water of houses will have to be channelled down to the ground layers. In a word rain water will have to be re-charged in huge quantity, he mentioned.
Mundumala Poura Mayor Saidur Rahman said, irrigation water and drinking water are the main problems in this area. Water crisis cannot be solved with  installing submersible tube-wells. Submersible tube-wells set up two years back are getting closed one after another, he mentioned.
Badhair Union Chairman Ataur Rahman said, 150 submersible tube-wells were installed in his union; already half of these have turned disorder; as a result, severe drinking water crisis is prevailing in the union.
He further said, with excessive ground water use in Boro cultivation, ground water layer in this region is going down by two feet every year.
At present, the water crisis has been serious for using ground water in Boro cultivation for a long time, he mentioned.  Assistant Projector of DASCO-run IWRM in Barind  region Jahangir Alam Khan said, the gradual water layer going down has been caused due to excessive lifting of sweet water from underground.
Two experimental wells were installed about 300 feet below in Mundumala Pourasabha and Badhair Union of Tanore. But these have become waterless.
He further said, they have submitted recommendations to the government asking for stopping lifting of ground water in these two most risky unions, and making alternative source for irrigation.
If the government does not take step, there will remain no irrigation for agriculture within two-three years; locals will be in severe drinking water crisis. If the recommendations would be implemented five years back, the present water crisis would not be created, he added.
Jahangir Alam Khan said, Parbatipur Union is the most raised area in the Barind region; it is 135 feet high from the sea surface.
Badhair Union is the second highest area. These two unions have been identified as sensitive zones.
The following areas included Mundumala Pour area, Pnachandar, Jilim, and Nezampur unions. So their recommendations will have to be implemented speedily. Along with this, surface water use needs to be increased by digging big ponds and canals for resurging water.
Researcher Razzaqul Islam of Institute of Bangladesh Studies (IBS) of RU said, in 1980 the water layer was up to 39 feet  below; in the last 36 years till 2016, the level went 118 feet below. A thin water layer is found below 100 to 150 feet.  He further said, this year's average rainfall was 1,200-1,300 millilitre against the country's annual average rainfall of 2,500 millilitre; the groundwater average reserving capacity has been eight per cent only against the average reserving capacity of 25 per cent.

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