Government Policy

SPARRSO fears water stagnation to grasp more of southwest

DHAKA- Water stagnation has grasped 40,864 hectares of land in the southwestern region in the past 43 years while a scientific study feared the water logging to engulf more areas, attributing the phenomenon to reduced upstream flow in the cross-border rivers.

Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO) earlier this week released a study report, saying it found the areas under water logging grew by eight times in between 1973 and 2016 severely affecting agriculture in particular.

"The flow from the upper riparian regions dwindled, resulting in increased influx of sediments from the sea heightening river beds and disrupting the natural balance of tides and ebb tides," SPARSSO member AZM Zahedul Islam, who led the government-funded study, told BSS.

He added: "This phenomenon is eventually diminishing the rivers' capacity to flush out silts causing the water logging, which is gradually aggravating over the past three decades."

The state-run SPARRSO, which is tasked to study and apply space technology for meteorology, agro-climatic conditions and water resources, found that some 6,279 hectares of land was exposed to water stagnation in 1973 while it rose to 47,143 hectares in 2016.

The study, which SPARRSO released last week, said 17 percent landmass of 11 upazilas of Jessore, Khulna and Satkhira districts are now exposed to the curses of water logging.

Islam, who also heads SPARRSO's Water Resource Division, added that the south-western part of the country was particularly exposed to gradually increased wraths of the water stagnation deteriorating the socio-economic condition of the region.

The study divided the areas under water stagnation in three zones -- Beel Dakatia and adjacent areas, Bhutiar Beel and marshy lands of the Tala, Sathkhira and Kalaroa upazilas.

Particularly in Bhutiar Beel at Terokhada upazila under Khulna, the study report showed that the beel (marshy land) which accounts for nearly 8,648 hectares where farmers produced huge aman and boro crops 10-12 years ago. But the crop production is now in peril.

At the early stage of water-logging situation in 2000, around 65.73 per cent area of the beel was under aman cultivation while it reduced to 17.02 per cent in 2011.

Along with natural disruption in case of normal water flow in the rivers, there are man-made interventions too.

The construction of sluice gates on the outlet of the canals, construction of bridges on the rivers, land subsidence and global warming have been identified as important causes behind water logging, the report detailed.

The study report, however, suggested increasing upstream water flow through the construction of the Padma Barrage and formation of a national expert committee on water-logging to tackle the problem.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)