Engineer Siddiqui of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Project said the venture has created scopes of saving around 12 million (1.2 crore) litre of underground water in terms of household use, while 5.47 million liters for livestock rearing.

Apart from this, the beneficiaries are using the pond water to irrigate 832 hectares of land as supplementary irrigation.

Gopal Saren, 46, a resident of Barsapara village in Godagari Upazila, is now happy for getting water from one of the ponds which was re-excavated near his residence.

“We had to face multifarious problems in fetching water for our six-member family,” he said, adding the pond has become a blessing for his family and many other neighboring ones.

Bharati Mormu, 48, another resident of Purapara village under the same upazila, said the re-excavated ponds have created opportunities of cultivating various seasonal crops and vegetables round the year.

She said that they had to suffer a lot to cultivate crops due to shortage of irrigation water but the situation has changed to some extent as a result of re-excavating the ponds.

Stifan Soren, 38, of Sahapara village, said the re-excavated ponds are helping them to overcome the present water crisis caused by prolonged drought in the Barind area.

DASCOH Foundation and Swiss Red Cross are jointly implementing the project in 39 Unions and three Pourasabhas in the three districts supported by Switzerland. They are also supplying safe drinking water in drought-prone areas where acute crisis of potable water exists.

The projects main objective is to supply drinking water to all people in the targeted area round-the-year.

With intervention of the project, around 110,000 people of 26,675 families, including 18,332 ethnic minority ones, have been brought under safe drinking water sources through commissioning 406 submersible pumps in the high Barind tract since 2015 last.

Tanore upazila Chairman Lutfor Haider Rashid said the water-deprived poor and underprivileged communities in the drought-hit areas are getting access to water with the project intervention and the initiatives would contribute a lot to reduce the acute crisis of water in the drought-prone Barind area.

Professor Khandaker Enamul Haque from Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University stressed the need for re-excavation of the derelict water bodies like ponds and wetlands for the conservation of surface water to maintain ecological balance in the region.

He said a large number of water bodies have become derelict due to the adverse impacts of climate change, posing a serious threat to the ecosystem and livelihood condition of the people.

Substantial and sustainable conservation of surface water resources along with its careful use can be a vital means of supplementing the government efforts of successful implementation of Delta Plan 2100.

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