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Drinking Water Crisis

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Media reports indicated that hundreds of people in three division– Dhaka, Khulna and Rajshahi are compelled to drink contaminated water and not potable water due to hand tube-wells going dry for rampant use of deep tube-wells over the years. It was also pointed out in the reports that the ground water level there has fallen sharply due to unregulated sinking of deep tube wells for irrigation purposes.

The Bangladesh Water Development Board is allegedly held responsible for the failure to check ‘unregulated’ and ‘indiscriminate sinking of deep tube-wells to extract underground water, using deep tube-wells, increased more than 35 per cent in last five years. In 2009, extraction of underground water rose to 48 billion cubic meters from about 36 billion cubic meters in 2004 with huge number of users lifting water using deep tube-wells across the country.

The under ground water table consequently, fell by two to three feet in causing parts of the country causing water problems for the people, particularly during the dry season. Hydrologists and experts are of the opinion that extraction of water from deeper aquifers is ‘a short cut, but suicidal solution’ to a bigger problem. Too much extraction of underground water cold create several risks including water pollution. The current arsenic hazard is the best example.

Users are also not economical in use of water. They are absolutely careless and negligent and not exercising their right judiciously. To meet the challenge, the users themselves first need to know the economy of water usages. They must not over use or waste water. Secondly, the government should ensure they just share of upper stream waster flow.

Dredging the rivers and canals could help reduce the dependence on groundwater and increase surface water use for irrigation. Re-excavation of rivers and canals across the country that the government once hand initiated appears now to in urgent need with the worsening of situation centering ground water.

Mass awareness against misuse of water and the factors responsible for acute shortage of potable water must be thoroughly monitored. In this respect the Water Development Board cannot shirk its responsibility and behave in an erratic manner. We must realize that the must protect our natural resources with the best of our ability and patriotic zeal and fervour. We expect all water users will realize this and act accordingly.

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