Photo: Iqbal Ahmed / Driknews
Droughts are recurrent features in Bangladesh, affecting plant growth and leading to loss of crop production, food shortage and for many people starvation. The records of incidence of drought in Bangladesh indicate that the north-western region of Bangladesh is the most drought prone. During the last 50 years, Bangladesh suffered about 20 times from droughts. The 1973 drought was one of the severest in the past century and was responsible for 1974-local famine in northern Bangladesh.
The hydrological and climatic conditions of Bangladesh are characterized by too much water in the wet monsoon season and too little water in the dry months creating a drought condition. About 230 rivers flow through Bangladesh territory, of which 57 rivers are coming through India. Most of these enter the international boundary along the NW and SW regions of Bangladesh. The natural flow of these rivers is interrupted by upstream withdrawal of water for economic and household uses as well as for construction of water management structures. These structures obstruct the normal flow of water in rivers such as the Ganges (at Farakka), the Punarbhaba(just beyond Banglabandh) and the Tista rivers. These mostly divert dry season flow of the rivers, which create not only a scarcity of surface water in North-Western Bangladesh., but also tend to affect negatively the recharge of groundwater in these regions, ultimately leading to moisture loss in vast areas.