Integrated water resource management promoted in Rajshahi Barind
RAJSHAHI, May 30, 2023 (BSS)- Integrated water resource management method is being promoted as special Initiatives in the vast high Barind tract aimed at reducing its existing water-stressed condition.
Swiss Red Cross and DASCOH Foundation have jointly been implementing the project titled 'Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)' for sustainable management of existing water resources in the drought-prone Barind area.
The project is being implemented in drought and arsenic affected 39 Unions and three Pourasavas under Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts for the last couple of years supported by Switzerland.
Under the project, the Water Resource Planning Organization (WARPO) has been working for formulating water related policies and time-fitting rules and regulations as part of the state part.
Project Coordinator Jahangir Alam Khan said the IWRM Project has been building sustainable and effective institutions through farmers' level piloting of different sustainable water resource management models through participation of local people.
With intervention of the project, eight more canals were re-excavated in the high Barind area aimed at reducing the gradually mounting pressure on underground water through promoting surface water irrigation.
"We have brought the canals with around 4.78-kilometer in length which were derelict and unfit for use under re-excavation in eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts," said Jahangir Alam Khan.
Around 24,200 people, including 12,544 women and 2,586 ethnic minorities, are being benefited from the canals. The beneficiaries are using the canal water to irrigate 350 hectares of farming fields of wheat, mustard, pulse and other rabi crops as supplementary irrigation.
Jahangir Khan said the venture has created scopes of saving around 24.20 lakh liter of underground water in terms of irrigation use, while 18.43 lakh liters for other household and livestock purposes.
Marginalized farmers, including ethnic minority ones, are seen deriving benefits of the re-excavated canals for irrigation purposes in Barind areas for the last couple of years.
Farmers were gradually becoming accustomed to irrigating their cropping fields with canal water in the water-stressed Barind area, contributing a lot towards boosting crop production.
Ruhul Amin, 53, a farmer of Paharpur village in Godagari upazila, said they are getting water for irrigating our croplands round the year from the canal at the same village.
Expressing his happiness over the canal water based irrigation in the current summer vegetable season Amin said canal water contains humus which is important for soil fertility as well as boosting crop yield.
Amin said they are so happy with getting chances of irrigation using surface water round the year.
Alivia Saren, 39, a resident of Veempara village in the same upazila, had brought three bigha of land under wheat farming through using the canal water irrigation in last season and got satisfactory yield of the cash crop.
Like them, canal water irrigation has made thousands of farmers happy in the high Barind area as their dependence on deep tube wells and rainfall has been reduced to some extent.
Ataur Rahman, Chairman of Badhair Union Parishad, said canal water irrigation has been contributing Transplanted Aman (T-Aman) paddy and other seasonal crops in the high Barind tract through lessening the gradually mounting pressure on underground water.
He said canal water has become blessings for many farmers in terms of surviving their crops. He personally had brought ten bigha of land under transplanted aman paddy cultivation through using water from a nearby re-excavated canal.
Prof Mijanur Rahman from Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences in Rajshahi University underlined the need for re-excavation of more derelict water bodies like canals, ponds and wetlands for the conservation of surface water to maintain ecological balance in the region.
He said a large number of water bodies have become derelict due to the adverse impacts of climate change, posing a serious threat to the ecosystem and livelihood condition of the people.
Substantial and sustainable conservation of surface water resources along with its careful use can be a vital means of supplementing the government efforts of successful implementation of Delta Plan 2100.