Published:  01:54 AM, 12 October 2019

1.73 lakh drought-hit people to get water supply in Barind

1.73 lakh drought-hit people to get water supply in Barind Erosion of the bank of a pond has put Chawk Kali Das Govt Primary School in Sadar upazila of Naogaon in grave risk of collapse. Students are attending classes in fear. -AA

Around 1.73 lakh people and the poor and marginalized ones in particular will be brought under safe drinking water supply coverage for improving their livelihood condition in the drought-prone Barind area.To this end, Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) has started implementing a project with an estimated cost of around Taka 3.2 billion, said Abujar Masudar Rahman, Superintending Engineer of DPHE and Director of the project.

The three-year project titled "Community-based Water Supply in Lower Underground Water-level Areas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts" will be implemented in 59 Unions under 12 Upazilas of the three districts, reports BSS.

Main objective of the project is to ensure supply of safe water for both drinking and other household purposes to people residing in the project covering areas where acute crisis of drinking water exists. A total of 865 submersible pumps will be installed in all the project- covering areas to bring 34,600 households under the water supply coverage by around June, 2021.

Platform with overhead tank will be attached to each of the submersible pumps. There will eight points in each of the tanks. At least five families will get water supply from each of the points through pvc pipelines. The beneficiary people will be given responsibility of proper maintenance and function of the infrastructures routinely.

Engineer Rahman said the initiative has been taken to maintain round-the- year drinking water supply to the poor and vulnerable villagers, where, power supply is available. He added that 850 of the pumps will be operated by electricity.

Solar panels will be installed to operate 50 other pumps in the villages remain beyond power supply network. Ataur Rahman, Chairman of Badhair Union Parishad under Tanore Upazila, said there is a shortage of drinking water in the region during dry season and the problem has become acute for the last couple of years.

The existing shallow water technologies become ineffective currently and demand for deep tube-wells has increased in the area due to rapid decline of groundwater level along with arsenic contamination in shallow aquifer in many areas.

He said villagers cannot withdraw groundwater as the water level goes down abnormally during every dry season. Professor Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan of Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University said the existing adverse impact of climate change is putting local people into trouble since the hand-driven tube-wells are not functioning here in dry season.

The changed climatic condition has been posing a serious threat to the overall public health in the vast Barind tract, especially Tanore and Godagari upazilas in Rajshahi, Nachole and Gomostapur upazilas in Chapainawabganj and Porsha, Shapahar and Niamatpur upazilas in Naogaon districts.

Prof Sarwar Jahan, however, said the scheme will play vital role to improve health condition of the beneficiary population through expansion and development of the community-based water supply system that will supplement the government efforts of achieving the sustainable development goals.

Tanore Upazila Chairman Lutfor Haider Rashid said the water-deprived poor and underprivileged communities in the drought-hit area will get safe drinking water privileges with the project intervention. He added that the initiatives will contribute a lot to reduce the acute crisis of drinking water in the drought-prone Barind area.

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