Dhaka, Bangladesh
715 more ponds to be re-excavated in Rajshahi

715 more ponds to be re-excavated in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI, Nov 9: Around 715 more derelict ponds and 10 other big closed water bodies will be brought under re-excavation aimed at making those suitable for using to both irrigation and household purposes in the region including its vast Barind tract within near future, reports BSS. According to the sources concerned, the initiative will contribute a lot towards improving surface water resources besides aquifer recharge in the drought-prone areas. It will also help reducing the gradually mounting pressure on underground water side by side with encouraging the people to boost the farming of fish and duck after the best uses of the conserved water. To this end, Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA), an ever- largest irrigation-providing state-owned entity in the country's northwest region, has conceived a project titled "Small irrigation through pond re-excavation and surface water augmentation" recently. BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid said the five-year project will be implemented in 43 drought-prone upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Naogaon, Bogura and Natore districts with an estimated cost of around Taka 128.19 crore. 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. Under the project, 85 solar panel driven low lift pumps will be installed for lifting the irrigation water and the process will boost the renewable energy uses in irrigation purposes. Construction of 80-kilometer underground pipeline for distribution of the irrigation water to the croplands is one of the project components. 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. Earlier on, the BMDA has re-excavated 3,098 ponds and 2,000-kilometer canal through implementation of various other projects in order to promote the surface water-based irrigation till June last, Engineer Rashid added. 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 since 2014, said Akramul Haque, chief executive officer of DASCOH Foundation. The existing adverse impact of climate change is putting local people into trouble since the hand-driven tube-wells are not functioning here in dryseason, he added. Akramul Haque, however, said the BMDA's new project would play a vital role to improve 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. The water-deprived poor and underprivileged communities in the drought-hit areas would get access of water with the project intervention and the initiatives would contribute a lot to reduce the acute crisis of water in the drought-prone Barind area, said Lutfor Haider Rashid, chairman of Tanore upazila.

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