‘Rivers, tributaries halved in 100 years’

KUAKATA, Jan 26, 2017 (BSS)- The number of rivers and tributaries in Bangladesh has reduced to around 700 from an estimated 1,400 during the last hundred years, according to ActionAid statistics revealed here today.

The international NGO, which has been hosting a major water conference for last two days at this beach town, attributed such loss to both human interventions and natural factors that include construction of dams and embankments, non-removal of silts for decades, encroachment, land development, enclosed fish cultivation and climate change.

"We have killed our rivers by constructing dams, barrages and embankments over years," said Joynal Abedin, president of Coastal Belt Welfare Federation, echoing several others at the conference titled "Water Democracy'.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University said it was very important to know the history and heritage of Bangladesh rivers in order to understand their significance to the lives and livelihoods of the people of this riverine country. The often-ignored indigenous knowledge can be an asset to protect and enliven some of the rivers, he added.

Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said a holistic approach must be taken to protect rest of the rivers of the country. All the stakeholders, including communities and upstream countries, should be involved in the process to protect rivers and tributaries, she suggested.

The two-day water conference on 'Water Democracy' began on Tuesday to discuss key issues such as water governance in South Asia, water and ecosystem, water and livelihood, as well as women and water.

Leading water, environment and policy experts spoke on the occasion.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)