Solar-powered dug-wells bring hopes to drought-prone BD people

Naogaon, May 26 – The phrase ‘drought-prone region’ to describe a cluster of districts in Bangladesh’s north sounds almost benign, and hardly captures the perpetual hardships of people engaged in a daily battle for water, the other name of life.
The paucity of water also makes it extremely difficult for farming or any form of agriculture to thrive in the area. Following decades of research and efforts to address the region’s lack of access to water, the advent of solar-powered dug wells, ‘Patkua’ in Bangla, that the authorities have taken to very positively, has brought hopes to the people of drought-prone Sapahar Upazila.
The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has been implementing the project of setting up 115 dug wells in the Upazila under the Ministry of Agriculture.
The aim of the project is to provide drinking water and short-range irrigation facilities to vegetable gardens.
Rezaul Karim, an assistant engineer of BMDA, said deep or shallow tube-wells cannot be installed in a number of Upazilas like Niyamatpur, Porsha, Sapahar and Patnitala of Naogaon and Nachole, Gomostapur of Chapainawabganj.
In view of this, the Agriculture Ministry has introduced a new idea to meet the water crisis in these severe drought-prone areas. The idea was given a go-ahead in 2017.
BMDA has installed several such dug wells at Picholdanga, Singahar, Dharmapur, Bahapur, Basuldanga, Madansingh, Furkutidanga, Karaldanga, Haripur and Tilna of the upazila, Rezaul Karim added.
Most of the people of these areas are enjoying the benefits of solar dug wells, he added.
Explaining the model of dug well, BMDA assistant engineer Rezaul Karim said, each dug-well is dug up to 100 to 140 feet depth by a machine.
Some 46-inch radius concrete rings are set on the upper part of the well which is covered with 32 feet radius lead-roof so that no rainwater can enter the well.
Above the dug-well structure, a roof is set up with 16 solar panels of 250W to power a pump that lifts water from below the ground.
Locals can lift drinking and irrigation water from 9am to 4pm from the dug well as no battery is set to store reserve power. – UNB with GreenWatch Dhaka.