Groundwater Depletion with Expansion of Irrigation in Barind Tract: A Case Study of Tanore Upazila
Md. Marufur Rahman, A. Q. M. Mahbub
University of Dhaka.
DOI: 10.4236/jwarp.2012.48066   PDF    HTML     8,687 Downloads   14,049 Views   Citations


In this paper successive depletion of groundwater level with expansion of groundwater irrigation in Barind Tract has been discussed from mid 1960s to 2010 in the context of Tanore Upazila, which is located in severely drought prone area of northwest Bangladesh. After starting of groundwater irrigation in Bangladesh, it spread rapidly all over the country, and about 80% of agricultural land is now supplied irrigation from groundwater. Availability of irrigation in Barind Tract has revolutionized its agriculture, but groundwater level is successively falling all over the country due to excessive withdrawal, and this process is accelerating due to water withdrawal from major rivers by upstream countries. In northwestern part of Bangladesh groundwater depletion problem is severe because this part is free from seasonal flooding. Only source of recharging of groundwater aquifer in this area is rainfall, but rainfall is also lowest here among the country. In this context, this paper presents the change of groundwater level with the spreading of groundwater irrigation in Barind Tract. Hydrograph analysis, groundwater level mapping, groundwater depletion rate calculation are done from groundwater level observation well data of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA). Climatic condition is analyzed by calculation of rainfall deviation from the data of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and interviews with farmers and experts of different branches are conducted to understand the nature of problems in the study area. Agricultural pattern, cropping intensity (262% in study area and national intensity is 180%), methods of cultivation, crop variety and yields all show a positive change after starting of groundwater irrigation in mid 1980s, but water level is continuously lowering at the rate of 1.37 ft/y in wet season and 0.72 ft/y in dry season. Water is the main input for agriculture but successive depletion of groundwater level can be a serious problem for water stressed Barind Tract. Crop diversification, artificial recharging, increasing dependency on surface water, increasing irrigation efficiency, rainwater harvesting etc., can be option for the area.

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Rahman, M. and Mahbub, A. (2012) Groundwater Depletion with Expansion of Irrigation in Barind Tract: A Case Study of Tanore Upazila. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 4, 567-575. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2012.48066.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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