RAJSHAHI, Jan 23, 2017 (BSS)-By dint of implementation of a project, many villagers, including inhabitants of the high Barind tract, are getting safe drinking water for the last couple of years.
The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has been supplying arsenic-free drinking to people in some parts of the dried tract.
So far, the BMDA has installed more than 1000 water supply installations and 50 other necessary infrastructures since 1995 for the purpose in some parts of the Barind tract comprising 25 upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.
In the ongoing third phase of the four-year project titled "Drinking Piped Water Supply from Irrigation Deep Tubewells", the BMDA has a target to construct 550 more installations and 50 pipeline extension to supply the safe drinking water through pipeline by this yearend with an estimated cost of around Taka 110.45 crore.
Engineer Abdur Rashid, Executive Director-in-Charge of BMDA, told BSS that an 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 is to supply round-the-year potable water to all people in the targeted area.
Engineer 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 for 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, the initiative has been taken in order to maintain round-the-year drinking water supply to the remote villages, where, the nearby irrigation deep tube-wells are functioning.
Like the urban area, he said, the supply system will be more dependable and help eradicate diseases caused due to lack of safe drinking water.
Around 5.5 lakh people in 650 more remote villages will get safe drinking water through pipeline by June 2017, which will help improve general health condition of the beneficiaries.
Referring to various possible outcomes of the project, Engineer Rashid said the supplied water could be utilized for animals and kitchen gardens along with homestead afforestation.
Upon successful implementation, the project will contribute a lot to rural development through improving general standard of living, he added.
Meanwhile, Bahar Uddin Mridha, Executive Engineer of Department of Public Health Engineering, said during dry season, the villagers cannot extract underground water through tube-wells as the water layer goes down abnormally.
Apart from this, the changed climatic condition has been posing a serious threat to the overall public health in the vast Barind tract especially Tanore, Godagari, Nachole and Gomostapur upazilas.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)