BD Govt supplying treated river water to save groundwater: PM Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that her government has undertaken plans for better use of surface water and reduce extraction of groundwater. "Another name of water is life, it's important to preserve this resource. We have taken plans to increase the use of surface water," she said while addressing a programme marking World Water Day 2022. The Water Resources Ministry organised the programme at Pani Bhaban on Green Road in Dhaka while the PM joined virtually from her official residence Gono Bhaban. This year's theme is "Groundwater, making the invisible visible". The prime minister mentioned that two billion people in the world currently lack safe drinking water. "If we can use this resource properly then there will be no sufferings for people of our country. And we will be able to supply (safe) water to the world (market)," she said. She said that the government has already started supplying river water after purifying it. Even at the district level, the government is supplying treated river water to save the groundwater. "We have taken various steps to limit the use of groundwater," she reiterated. She mentioned that the government has given highest importance on dredging which will not only increase the navigability, but will also improve the waterways. "We will be able to transport our goods at lower cost," she observed. "We can reclaim land through dredging and reduce the width of a river. We have already reclaimed some land this way," she said. The PM said that earth generated from dredging must not be put on the arable land, this can be preserved by creating pockets on river. She also asked to make sure that there is no obstruction of water flow due to development projects. While constructing any building, she said, "We have to consider some preservation of rainwater and having water reservoir." She mentioned that if groundwater is used excessively, the probability of earthquake will increase as Bangladesh sits on a plate under which there is water level to make it stable. Hasina said that unplanned and indiscriminate construction of dams have to be restricted. "In the name of increasing the height of dam, I know, the amount of expenditure will be increased and some people will get commission. This kind of mentality has to be shunned. Plans have to be taken which will be beneficial for the country," she said She also stressed on linking canals with rivers. She said that navigability will be hampered if the links of canals with rivers, haor and baor are destroyed. She said that the water preservation capacity during the flood season has to be maintained. In this connection, she put emphasis on creating buffer zone during floods to use that during winter season. "We have to live with floods. We have to learn the process to live with floods," she said. She urged all to maintain austerity in using supplied water and stop its misuse. "All have to remain alert in this regard," she said. State Minister for Water Resources Zaheed Farooq, Deputy Minister AKM Enamul Hoque Shameem and senior secretary Kabir Bin Anwar also spoke. An audio visual with music video and a documentary were screened at the programme.