World Water Day today: ‘Save Transboundary Rivers, waterbodies for better lives, livelihoods’


Anisur Rahman Khan :
Waterbodies across country are grappling with dire consequences starting from groundwater depletion to salinity intrusion and India’s unilateral diversion of Transboundary Rivers.

The depletion of groundwater, coupled with salinity intrusion, has rendered vast lands in the northern region desolate during the dry season.

Experts warn that the uncontrolled use of groundwater for irrigation further exacerbates environmental concerns.

Climate change exacerbates these issues, with rising sea levels leading to saline water intrusion into freshwater rivers.

On World Water Day 2024, experts emphasise the critical importance of addressing these challenges.

They advocate for immediate measures to recharge groundwater, create new waterbodies, and pressure India for equitable access to Transboundary Rivers.

Furthermore, experts highlight the threat posed by unchecked urbanisation and industrialisation, which encroach upon agricultural lands and endanger aquatic life crucial for environmental balance.

Environmentalists have raised concerns over the adverse effects of climate change, leading to the displacement of many individuals.

Bangladesh’s unique topography, crisscrossed by numerous rivers and their tributaries, once boasted interconnected water bodies such as beels, haors, and canals.

However, most of these rivers are now either dead or in a moribund
state, added environmentalists.


The rivers of Bangladesh, often referred to as the lifeline of its densely populated land, are under immense pressure due to the continuous increase in population.

This population growth ultimately threatens both land and freshwater resources.

Experts highlight the inefficient use of water in agriculture, with farmers using excessive amounts of water, unaware of methods to reduce input.

For instance, producing 1 kg of paddy typically requires 2,500 liters of water, but farmers are using around 3,300 liters.

The extraction of water for irrigation purposes further strains the already burdened water resources.

With over 36,000 deep tube-wells, nearly 1.4 million shallow machines, and over 1.6 million hydraulic machines operated by both state and private sectors, the pressure on freshwater reserves intensifies.

“Getting water is the basic rights of the people. People should get water in local, national and international level.

So water should be used judiciously,” Abdus Sobhan, President of Poribesh and Jalbaiu Paribartan Andolan told The New Nation on Thursday.

At least 5,000 shallow machines faces shutdown in every year because of depletion of ground water level, he said adding that now WASA needs to extract water from the depth of 750-800 feet, which was it could get water digging only 300-350 feet.

“We are not getting just share of water from common rivers, which is also major cause of drought in northern areas. Besides, many water-bodies have died in the country for not getting water from the upstream,” Abdus Sobhan said.