Dhaka, Mar 20: Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud on Sunday said Bangladesh experienced a drastic fall in the Padma River’s water flow during this dry season.
“Generally, we get at least 65,000 Cusec (cubic feet per second) of water in the Padma River, but we got only 25,000 Cusec of water in the river during dry season this year,” he told the inaugural session of a conference.
The minister said he did not know why the water flow rapidly declined in the Padma River this year, and his ministry is now looking into the matter to identify the reasons.
Twelve non-government organisations, including Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA), Water Rights Forum, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Nijera Kori and Bangladesh Water Integrity Network, jointly organised the two-day National Water Rights Conference 2016 at Krishibid Institution auditorium in the capital.
Anisul Islam Mahmud said the water flow in the Teesta River also drastically declined to 355 Cusec during the dry season last year with Bangladesh getting 1200-1300 Cusec of water this time on average.
About water crisis in the Barind region, he said once the proposed Ganges Barrage Project is implemented, the water would be diverted to the rivers of the Barind region, resolving its persisting water crisis.
The Barind region is the largest Pleistocene era pysiographic unit in Bangladesh covering most of Dinajpur, Rangpur, Pabna, Rajshahi and Bogra, which faces drought during every dry season for lack of water.
Apart from the water crisis in the Barind region, Mahmud said water problems in the country’s southwestern region would be addressed removing the salinity by ensuring the water flow of the rivers of the region if the barrage project is implemented.
He said the government is committed to implementing the Ganges Barrage Project while a feasibility study of the project has already been completed and the government is working to mobilise fund to implement the project.
About the people’s right to water, the Water Resources Minister said if Bangladesh is able to manage its rivers, canals and wetlands, it will be possible to ensure the people’s right to water.
To do so, he said, now the Water Resources Ministry is implementing projects involving local people so that they can maintain water resources on completion of the projects.
Chaired by Nijera Kori coordinator Khushi Kabir, the inaugural session of the water conference was addressed, among others, by member of parliamentary standing committee on Water Resources Ministry AKM Fazlul Haque, member of parliamentary standing committee on the Environment and Forests Ministry Md Yasin Ali and Bapa secretary general Abdul Matin, according to UNB. –RH