BMDA implements canal water conservation project

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has started implementing a canal water conservation project aims at lessening the gradually increasing pressure on groundwater for irrigation purposes.The state-owned derelict canals are being re-excavated to increase the number of reservoirs for drawing rain waters and using it for various purposes, especially for irrigation and that is very important for the region in terms of water-stress condition.The three-year project titled “Extension of Irrigation in Barind Area through Conservation of Water in Canal” is being implemented in eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabgonj districts at a cost of around Taka 125.23 crore.Requisite number of pumps, pontoons and pipelines will be established in different points of Padma, Mohananda and Atrai rivers for transferring the river-water to the canals and further to the farming fields.More than 38.85 kilometers derelict canals will be re-excavated in phases besides construction of 16 submerged wares for creating surface water reservoir.Around 1.23 lakh meters underground upvc pipelines will be commissioned to enhance the irrigation efficiency. At least 96 power-driven low lift pumps will be set up for using the conserved water in the re-excavated canals for irrigation purposes. Around 10 solar panels will be installed to operate the pumps for irrigation. Project Director Eng Shamsul Huda told BSS that increasing the capacity of surface water in dry area has become essential to reduce dependency on the ground water there. Besides, adverse impact of climate change has been posing a serious threat to the overall public health especially relating to water and sanitation in the region, he added.Stressing the need for an environment-friendly irrigation system instead of indiscriminate use of groundwater resources for irrigation purposes, he said there is no alternative but to include the Barind area in any climate resilient fund.Engineer Huda said there are huge ponds and canals in Barind area comprising 25 upazilas of the aforesaid three districts and if those were re- excavated properly all the farming lands could be brought under irrigation with the conserved water round the year.Re-excavation of all the existing derelict ponds and canals has become indispensable to enrich the surface water resources in the high Barind tract of the region to make its farming system protected.In this regard, he said, the retained water could easily be used for supplementary irrigation of aman, wheat, pulse, oil seeds and vegetables cultivation along with pisciculture and duck farming.On successful completion of the works of the project by December, 2017, it will help to produce about 37,800 metric tonnes of food through providing irrigation to 3780 hectares of land from the conserved water sources annually, he added.It has provision of transplanting 80,000 saplings of fruit, forest and herbal trees on both sides of the canals that will ultimately help reduce carbon emission at a substantial level and that is very important to face the adverse impact of climate change in the vast Barind tract.Besides, it will be possible to produce 4,000 metric tonnes of fish worth Tk 90 million and rearing of 50 million ducks annually.It will also create employment opportunities for the day labourers and marginal farmers in agriculture and living and livelihood condition of the farmers’ community is likely to the improved through crop production.As a whole, the scheme will facilitate boosting round the year surface water uses for irrigation purposes. Engineer Huda said, it would also help improve environment there, a common concern of the area. -BSS, Rajshahi