By Md Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, March 22, 2023 (BSS)- Amid implementation of a project, around 1.73 lakh people and the less-incoming and marginalized ones in particular have been brought under safe drinking water supply coverage for improving their livelihood condition in the drought-prone Barind area.
Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) has implemented the project in 59 Unions under 12 Upazilas of the three districts involving around Taka 32.19 crore, said SM Samim Ahmed, Superintending Engineer of DPHE.
Implementation works of the three-year project titled "Community-based Water Supply in Lower Underground Water-level Areas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts" was completed successfully very recently.
Main objective of the project is to ensure supply of safe water for both drinking and other household purposes to the people residing in the project covering areas where acute crisis of drinking water exists.
A total of 865 submersible pumps were installed in all the project-covering areas bringing 34,600 households under the water supply coverage.
Platform with an overhead tank has been attached to each of the submersible pumps. There are eight points in each of the tanks. At least five families are getting water supply from each of the points through pvc pipelines.
The beneficiary people were given responsibility for proper maintenance and function of the infrastructures routinely.
Engineer Shamim Ahmed said the initiative has been taken to maintain round-the-year drinking water sup
ply to the poor and vulnerable villagers, where power supply is available.
He added that 850 of the pumps were operated by electricity. Solar panels were installed to operate 50 other pumps in the villages beyond the power supply network.
Maity Saren, 48, wife of Dukhu Saren of Rahi village under Godagri upazila in the district, is now happy with the safe drinking water supply facilities.
"We had to face multifarious problems relating to fetching water for our four-member family," said Maity while talking to BSS on Monday, adding that the problem has now been solved.
Shyamoly Hasda, 40, wife of Sukhen Saren, also expressed her happiness over the water supply system. She is now getting requisite water for her seven-member family.
A submersible pump has been installed in the locality and water is being supplied to the households through commissioning pipelines and outlets.
Not only Maity and Shyamoli but also many others who are being benefited from the supply of water amid the present water stressed condition.
Ataur Rahman, Chairman of Badhair Union Parishad under Tanore Upazila, said there is a shortage of drinking water in the region during dry season and the problem has become acute for the last couple of years.
The existing shallow water technologies become ineffective currently and demand for deep tube-wells has increased in the area due to rapid decline of groundwater level along with arsenic contamination in shallow aquifers in many areas.
He said villagers cannot withdraw groundwater as the water level goes down abnormally during every dry season.
Professor Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan of Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University said the existing adverse impact of climate change is putting local people into trouble since the hand-driven tube-wells are not functioning here in the dry season.
In the wake of inadequate aquifer recharge, groundwater level is declining alarmingly in the high Barind tract posing a serious threat to its farming sector.
The changed climatic condition has been posing a serious threat to the overall public health in the vast Barind tract, especially Tanore and Godagari upazilas in Rajshahi, Nachole and Gomostapur upazilas in Chapainawabganj and Porsha, Shapahar and Niamatpur upazilas in Naogaon districts.
Prof Sarwar Jahan, however, said the scheme has been playing a vital role to improve the health condition of the beneficiary population through expansion and development of the community-based water supply system supplementing the government efforts of achieving the sustainable development goals.
Tanore Upazila Chairman Lutfor Haider Rashid said the water-deprived poor and underprivileged communities in the drought-hit area are getting safe drinking water privileges with the project intervention.
He added that the initiatives have also been contributing a lot to reduce the acute crisis of drinking water in the drought-prone Barind area.