Riverbank erosion may eat up 4,000 hectares land this year

DHAKA, Bangladesh may lose around 4,000 hectares of land this year due to riverbank erosion, displacing over 28,000 people living on the banks of the major rivers the Jamuna, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, according to a researcher.

A total of 28 kilometre roads, 35 educational institutions and about 28,000 people are predicted to be affected by riverbank erosion this year, Dr Maminul Haque Sarker, deputy executive director of the research thinktank Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), told a seminar today.

CEGIS), a trustee agency of the Water Resources Ministry, arranged the seminar at Spectra Convention Centre here aiming to present the findings of the riverbank erosion prediction report2019.

Citing the findings of the report, Dr Sarker said 22 points of the JamunaBrahmaputra, the Ganges and the Meghna are highly vulnerable to riverbank erosion this year.

He said this erosion prediction report will help the authorities concerned prepare plan and design the riverbank protection measures to minimise the loss and damage caused by erosion every year.

Riverbank erosion is one of the major natural disasters in the country, which causes untold miseries to thousands of people living along the riverbanks as it forces them to be displaced losing their arable land and homesteads.

Chaired by CEGIS executive director Engr Md Waji Ullah, the seminar was addressed, among others, by Water Resources secretary Kabir Bin Anwar, eminent water expert and Professor Emeritus of BRAC University Dr Anun Nishat, director general of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) Md Mahfuzur Rahman and BRAC programme manager Moin Uddin Ahmed.

The speakers said the country's many rivers disappeared in the last 40 years, while a huge area of arable and a big number of homesteads are being grabbed by river erosion every year.

Erosion takes place at about 400 points of the Jamuna, the Brahmaputra and other major rivers ever year, they said, calling upon the BWDB to take necessary steps to protect assets and homesteads of local people from erosion.

Since 2004, CEGIS has been predicting riverbank erosion in the major rivers in Bangladesh with adequate accuracy in collaboration with the BWDB.

CEGIS has developed a unique tool for predicting the riverbank erosion in the Jamuna, the Ganges and the Padma Rivers based on timeseries dry season satellite images.

The overall accuracy of this tool ranges from 70 percent to 80 percent, which can be termed as quite good considering the uncertainty in fluvial process.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)