Yearly water supply to the country’s largest irrigation project named The Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation Project, commonly known as GK Project, has resumed since Tuesday evening, following 11 days of stoppage of water supply. According to GK project officials, two main pumps and 12 supplementary pumps of the project had been shut down on March 26 as the water level fell to 4.5-metre RL (Reduced Level) in the intake channel. Total 14.5 m RL (Reduced Level) water is being supplied to the discharge channel.
Mizanur Rahman, executive engineer of GK’s pump house, confirmed the development saying that this is the highest supply.
“If water is available at this level (14.5 m RL), the farmers will get water from the main canal to branches, drains, sub-drains. There are about 1,655 km of different types of canals and ditches under the [GK] project,” he said.
The project is totally dependent on Padma’s water and this water is brought from the river to the pump house of the project by a two-kilometre intake channel.
If water is supplied at this level, the farmers will get water from the main canal to branches, drains, sub-drains.
About 1,97,500 hectares of land in Kushtia, Chuadanga, Jhenaidah and Magura districts are irrigated in two seasons.Water supply to the project normally starts on the second week of January every year.
Officials of the GK project said if the water level in the Padma comes down,smooth water supply will not be ensured.
In order to keep the water, supply uninterrupted, the intake channel of GK should always have a water level of 14.5 m RL so that full irrigation can be provided.
At the same time, the water in the river Padma should be at least 34 thousand cusecs.
According to the historic water Ganges sharing agreement, water flow in Farakka is distributed between Bangladesh and India on a 10-day basis during the dry season from January 1 to May 31 of each year.
According to the website of the Joint Rivers Commission of Bangladesh, from January 1 to March 20, the water flow in Farakka was 59,522 cusecs and in Hardinge Bridge Point in Bangladesh it was 36,393 cusecs.
Meanwhile, in a press release issued by the Joint River Commission on April 6, it was said that Bangladesh is now getting guaranteed 35,000 cusecs (1 cubic foot per second) of water.
Jahedul Islam, executive engineer of hydrology department at the Water Development Board (WDB) said water was found 35,946 cusecsat Hardinge Bridge point on April 5.
It is believed that this trend may continue till January 15, he said.
Meanwhile, officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension have shared mixed reaction.
Agriculture officials in Kushtia, Chuadanga, Jhenaidah and Magura districts say farmers in GK’s commanding areas generally do not have access to alternative water supplies. They are completely dependent on GK’s irrigation.
Shyamal Kumar Biswas, deputy director, Kushtia Agricultural Extension Department, said it is time for flowering in paddy. The next 15 to 20 days is an important time for paddy. Inadequate water supply during can be damaging to paddy.
Mohammad Moniruzzaman, supervising engineer of the GK project, said there has been no shortage of water at the GK pump since the historic 1997 water treaty.
He told that due to insufficient rainfall at this time of the year, water flows in the Ganges basin is weaker.