TRANS-BOUNDARY RIVERS

Delta plan useless without water sharing: webinar

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:32, May 08,2021

 
 

An international lecture delivered on Friday described Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 as a useless effort to manage water and land without properly sharing trans-boundary river water with upper riparian countries.

The lecture, given online by Lock Haven University geology professor Md Khalequzzaman, said that lifting water through barrages by India caused a drastic fall in sediment discharge in Bangladeshi rivers, severely affecting the active deltaic land formation.

‘How can we plan to manage an active delta through a century when we don’t know how much water we are going to get through our rivers at the end of a year?’ asked Khaleq.

The sediment flux to Bangladesh through trans-boundary rivers fell to about one billion tonnes in late 1990s from two billion tonnes in 1960s, he said, presenting data on year-wise fall in sediment flux.

The average monthly flow, Khaleq said, through the Ganges at Hardinge Bridge point declined significantly over 1997-2010 period comparing with the flow during 1934-1974 period.

Farakka Barrage alone traps 328 million tonnes of sediment in India, causing a yearly loss of 32 per cent sediment flux to Bangladesh, he said, adding that the Ganges water sharing treaty was never successful for it never cared about the sediment flux.

‘Bangladesh must engage international players to get the right share of trans-boundary river water,’ he said.

The BDP plans to build walls along the banks of braided rivers such as the Brahmaputra and the Teesta and also raise barrages over the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.

Presenting data on Jamuna’s size and course between 1820 and 2010, Khaleq showed that the river increased in width and moved in westward direction with a marked increase in erosion in the river.

‘The plan to train the river by placing polders clearly did not work rather backfired as the areas protected by polders fear water stagnation because of the gradually rising riverbeds,’ said Khaleq.

The BDP does not have any plan to recover canals in Dhaka without which finding the solution to water stagnation is never possible, he said.

The BDP, which incorporated almost all laws and policies in the country related to water and land management, was prepared without considering aspects such as sedimentation, said Khaleq.

The National Oceanographic and Maritime Institute organised the lecture on Friday in association with science and technology ministry. About 100 university professors, researchers, students, government officers, and journalists attended the programme.

The lecture was chaired by Samarendra Karmakar, chairman, NOAMI.

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