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Checking rampant use of groundwater for irrigation stressed

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Staff Reporter
Water experts have stressed checking the rampant use of groundwater for irrigation in the country’s coastal belt considering the scarcity of freshwater there.
“Limitless tube-wells shouldn’t be installed in the country’s costal belt to lift groundwater for irrigation,” IWM deputy executive director (Planning & Development) Dr Afzal Hossain told a workshop at DPHE Bhaban in the capital.
He said groundwater should only be used in drinking purpose as the salinity intrusion is on the rise in the coastal region worsening the freshwater crisis.
Institute of Water Modeling (IWM) on behalf of collaborative partners organized the workshop on ‘Draft Final Report on Joint Action Research on Salt Water Intrusion in Groundwater in the Coastal Area of Bangladesh’.
Experts said the coastal aquifer of Bangladesh is at stake now due to its geographical location and global climate change impacts, while the livelihood of 400 million people living in coastal region is under threat due to increasing trend of salinity intrusion into the coastal aquifer.
Poor water flow in dry reason and additional use of groundwater in irrigation, households and industry is also contributing to the worsening situation, they added.
IWM executive director Prof Dr M Monowar Hossain said sea level rise caused by global climate change is triggering salinity intrusion into coastal aquifer and scarcity of freshwater in the coastal region.
“It’ll be a great achievement if we can mange sweet water for coastal people through conducting a research,” he said.
Chaired by chief engineer of Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) Khaleda Ahsan, the workshop was addressed, among others, by Local Government Division senior secretary Monzur Hossain, project director of Policy Support Unit (LGD) kazi Abdur Noor and Buet professor Dr M Habibur Rahman.