Rivers, canals in Bagerhat dying because of silt | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 27, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Rivers, canals in Bagerhat dying because of silt

Rivers, canals in Bagerhat dying because of silt

Agriculture, navigability badly affected

With drastic fall in the levels of  waters, most rivers and canals flowing through the district have gathered silt and running dry affecting agriculture and ecology.

The rivers and canals are also losing navigability for emergence of shoals due to accumulation of silt hampering smooth movement of vessels in dry season.

Talking to the news agency, M Mainuddin, executive director of Water Development Board (WDB), Bagerhat, said due to impact of climatic change, water flow in the rivers declined and silt deposited up at the confluence of the sea.

He said with the decline in flow of water from the upstream,  the rivers' beds are being filled up with sediments.

He further said that because of siltation, 11 rivers flowing through Bagerhat and 139 canals in the district have already lost navigability and turned into plain lands.

Local agriculture officials said the rivers cannot contain sufficient water due to deposition of silt in their beds. Millions of people become marooned during the rainy season while crops worth crores of taka get damaged due to water stagnation in crop fields as the rainwater cannot be drained out to the clogged-up rivers, he added.

They said farmlands are being affected as saline water from the sea cannot recede from there swiftly. As a result, fertility of the croplands is declining day by day.

Besides, in dry season, water flow in the rivers and canals reach their lowest levels suspending waterway communication on different routes.

At the same period, farmers cannot cultivate paddy for lack of water.

WDB officials said some 50 rivers and canals are gradually getting wiped out from the map of the district because of drying up of their beds.

Experts attributed the decrease in water containing capacity of the rivers to emergence of shoals in their beds.

They said water level in the Padma and its tributaries continues to recede due to Farakka barrage built by India in the upstream and added that a section of people are also catching fish and cultivating shrimps in an unplanned way hindering water flow of the canals.

They mentioned that about 400 kilometre areas of different rivers and canals have already been filled up due to silt deposition.

According to the WDB office in the district, the rivers with their beds filled up for silt deposition are Daudkhali, Bishna, Putimari, Atharobeki, Chitra, Bhairab, Bhola, Baleshwar, Kumarkhali, Kat Bhairab and old Pashur.

Sources concerned said the rivers lost navigability due to lack of dredging works.

No rivers were dredged except for the Bhola over the last 100 years, they added.

Besides, 139 small and big canals have dried up for lack of dredging.

WDB officials apprehend that Doratana, Madhumati and Panguchi rivers are likely to die in next 20 years.

WDB executive director M Mainuddin said they have taken up a project to re-excavate 110 km area of 18 rivers and canals to bring back navigability in the water bodies.

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