An initiative has been taken to bring 3,490 more hectares of land under surface water irrigation aimed at lessening the gradually mounting pressure on underground water for irrigation in the dried Barind tract.
To this end, 38.25-kilometre canals, one pond and two beels will be re-excavated besides the construction of 13 submerged wares.
Apart from this, four pontoons will be installed and two others will be repaired in rivers side by side with establishing 26 low lift pumps (LLP) along the banks of the re-excavated canals.
River water will be conserved in the canals through 72.70-kilometre underground pipelines of 450/500-millimetre diameter for establishing a well-controlled irrigation system.
Demand-driven irrigation will be ensured to the 3,490 hectares of farming fields by the canal water to be lifted by 132 solar LLP and 40 direct pumping schemes through 148-kilometre pipelines of 250-millimetre diameter in double lifting method.
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) will implement the infrastructural development works through an uplift project with the main thrust of enhancing surface water uses for irrigation to 12 per cent from 10 per cent at present.
The five-year scheme titled "Extension of Irrigation in Barind Area through Conservation of Water in Canal- 2nd phase" will be implemented in eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts.
Already approved by the ECNEC meeting on August 16 last, the Tk 249.40-crore project has the provision of transplanting saplings of around one lakh fruit and herbal trees on both sides of the canals to protect ecological balance by mitigating the adverse impact of climate change.
Superintending Engineer Nazirul Islam said increasing the capacity of surface water in the dry area has become essential to reduce dependency on the groundwater.
Under the project, pontoons along with pumps will be established in the selected pumping stations in the rivers of Padma, Mohananda, Punarbhaba, Atrai, Barnoi and Rani for the conservation of water in canals through lifting from the rivers.
Upon successful implementation by June 2027, the project will help to produce about 40,000 tonnes of food by providing irrigation to 3,490 hectares of land from the conserved water sources annually.
Besides, it will be possible to produce 4,000 tonnes of fish worth Tk 90 million and rear 50 million ducks annually.
It will also create employment opportunities for the day labourers and marginal farmers in agriculture and the living and livelihood conditions of the farmers' community are likely to be improved through crop production.