Published:  11:06 PM, 09 September 2019

13.5 lakh villagers enjoy water supply facilities in Rajshahi Barind

13.5 lakh villagers enjoy water supply facilities in Rajshahi Barind
More than 13.5 lakh villagers have, so far,
been brought under pipeline-based water supply coverage through 1,579 deep
tube-wells in the Barind region.

With this breakthrough, the villagers located in the drought-prone areas
are getting arsenic-free safe drinking water from 3.1 lakh household
connections through 78,950 tap-points round the year directly at present.

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has implemented a project
titled “Drinking Piped Water Supply from Irrigation Deep Tube-wells” in 25
upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.

Some 1,579 water supply installations including equal number of overhead
tanks, 4,190-kilometer distribution line and other necessary systems were
constructed at a total cost of around Taka 242.87 crore in four consecutive
phases of the project since last 1995, said Nazirul Islam, Executive Engineer
of BMDA.

He told BSS that the initiative was taken to reduce the acute crisis of
drinking water in the drought-prone Barind area, especially during the dry
season.

In addition to extension of the water supply installations he said
necessary chemicals and equipment of water testing laboratory were arranged
to make the water free from arsenic contamination and other harmful
chemicals.

The main objective of the scheme was to supply round-the-year potable
water to every people in the targeted area.

BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid said there is a shortage of
drinking water in the vast Barind tract during the dry season and the problem
has become acute for the last couple of years.

The existing shallow water technologies have become ineffective currently
and demand for deep tube wells has increased in the area due to rapid
declining of groundwater table along with arsenic contamination in shallow
aquifer in some areas of the country.

But, he said, cost of the deep tube-well is very high and especially
unaffordable for the poor community. In this situation, our public health is
in a threatened condition due to lack of proper sanitation facilities and
inadequate hygiene practice.

Apart from this, the farmers are gradually becoming vulnerable due to
excessive use of groundwater through irrigation and the existing adverse
impact of climate change depletes groundwater table, which makes the hand-
driven tube-wells inoperative and the area experiences a drinking water
shortage.

So, initiative has been contributing a lot towards maintaining round-the-
year drinking water supply to the remote villages, where, the nearby
irrigation deep tube-wells are functioning.

Like the urban people, he said the supply system has become more dependable
and helps eradicating diseases caused due to lack of safe drinking water.

Prof Redwanur Rahman of Institute of Environmental Sciences in Rajshahi
University said the villagers cannot extract underground water through tube-
wells due to abnormal lowering of underground water during dry season.

Apart from this, the changed climatic condition has been posing a serious
threat to the overall public health in the vast Barind tract.

“The fight against water scarcity and unhygienic situation is very tough.
Coordinated efforts of different government and non-government organisations
are essential to stem the crises,” he added.

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