FE ONLINE REPORT |
March 21, 2022 19:17:37
Depletion and pollution of groundwater are the key concerns for the invisible resource, said speakers at a webinar on Monday.
They raised the concern at a webinar on the eve of World Water Day, hosted by SKS Foundation, the Secretariat of FANSA-Bangladesh.
The theme of this year’s event is ‘Groundwater- Making the Invisible Visible’.
The speakers emphasized the importance of exploring, protecting and sustainably using the groundwater with due importance on this scarce resource.
Dr Anwar Zahid, director, Groundwater Hydrology, Bangladesh Water Development Board highlighted the global and national scenario of groundwater and its use as a very valuable resource.
Presenting the keynote, he upheld the challenges relating to protecting the groundwater.
An estimated 32 cubic km of groundwater is withdrawn annually for irrigation (90 per cent), domestic and industrial (10 per cent) (The World Bank 2019).
The shallow irrigation wells have increased in numbers throughout the country from 133,800 in 1985 to 11,82,525 in 2006 and about 16,00,000 in 2019 (BADC, 2019), he read in his presentation.
As the water table has gone down, the cost of withdrawing water from the ground has become costly and unavailable.
Again, 24 per cent of the land area is exposed to extremely high to high risks of elevated arsenic, salinity, and groundwater depletion hazards (The World Bank, 2019), he mentioned.
In the Barind tract, the groundwater crisis has already prevailed and the crisis is getting deeper and deeper.
We need a crop mapping and good governing in managing the groundwater,” Dr Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan, professor, Dept of Geology & Mining, University of Rajshahi, said at the event.
Dr Dilip Kumar Datta, professor, Environmental Science Discipline, Khulna University, said, “We need nature-based solutions that will take care of nature too in a suitable and sustainable manner. To lessen the dependency of groundwater we must focus on surface water. “
Hasin Jahan, country director, WaterAid Bangladesh, said, as the water table is being lowered and use of chemicals is increasing, the water quality is being contaminated. “We need to stop it now.”
Salahuddin Ahmmed, WASH officer, UN Migration Agency, IOM, Bangladesh Mission, said, “To lessen the dependency on groundwater, we need to concentrate on surface water and reservation of surface water is needed.”
The Virtual Seminar was opened by a welcoming speech by Dr Imrul Kayes Muniruzzaman, deputy chief executive of SKS Foundation.
Among others around 100 participants from development partners, national and international organisations, academia and media joined the Virtual Seminar.