Poster in May 11, 2024 23:05:16

AWD reduces groundwater wastage and increases rice yield in Barind area

AWD reduces groundwater wastage and increases rice yield in Barind area

Photo: Collected

The irrigation technology of Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) has been reducing wastage of underground water coupled with boosting paddy yield making the marginalized farmers happy in the water-stressed Barind area.

Naresh Pahan, 45, a farmer of Peerpukuria village under Niamatpur upazila in Naogaon district has got a yield of 19.29 mounds through using the AWD technology per bigha of lands this year against 14.28 mounds in a conventional system.

"I've harvested 27.8 mounds of yield from per bigha of land through using the modern irrigation technology against 25 mounds in the conventional method," said Dijen Barman, 53, another farmer of Bangaon Chandil village under the upazila.

Apart from the aforesaid farmers, many others are getting benefits through using the technology contributing a lot towards lessening the gradually mounting pressure on underground water.

Talking to BSS here on Thursday, Kamrul Hassan, upazila agriculture officer, said they found the additional yield in two separate crop-cutting ceremonies on Tuesday and Wednesday with the presence of around 200 farmers both male and female. Earlier, the disadvantaged and other marginalized farmers were imparted training on how to get additional yield in less water through using technology on behalf of the Water Management Project (WMP).

DASCOH Foundation has been implementing the WMP supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation aimed at promoting water-saving technologies among the underprivileged farmers. The salient features of the project are to enhance agro-water efficiency, reduce groundwater extraction, and increase farmers' income.

"We are motivating the grassroots farmers to apply the AWD irrigation technology as it always saves 25 to 30 percent water compared to the conventional ones," Kamrul Hassan added.

He attributed that the AWD method helps save water in aquifers amidst an abnormal decline in the level of underground water in the vast Barind tract for the last couple of years.

WMP Manager Jahangir Alam Khan said adoption of the method would result in a fivefold reduction in the requirement for water save 30 litres of diesel used for irrigation and produce an additional 500kg of paddy per hectare.

AWD is a water-saving technology that farmers can apply to reduce their irrigation water consumption in rice fields without decreasing its yield. In AWD, irrigation water is applied a few days after the disappearance of the ponded water. Hence, the field gets alternately flooded and non-flooded. The number of days of non-flooded soil between irrigations can vary from one to more than 10 days depending on a number of factors such as soil type, weather, and crop growth stage.

Jahangir Khan said adoption of the irrigation method in Boro farming on a mass scale can reduce the use of underground water by 30 percent while simultaneously ensuring additional yield. Groundwater levels in the Barind area have declined alarmingly due to the adverse impacts of climate change and excessive extraction.

"Every year, we have to irrigate over 7.52 lakh hectares of farming fields, including 2.61 lakh hectares of Irri-Boro land, in the region. For this purpose, we have to operate 14,090 power-driven deep tube wells," Khan said, adding that irrigation was dependent on groundwater there.

Expressing his grave concern over the present water declining situation, Chief Executive Officer of DASCOH Foundation Akramul Haque called for more research, technology, and collaboration for strengthening water security in Rajshahi.

The vast barind tract is being detected as food storage because diversified crops, including grains, fruits, and vegetables, are produced here around the year contributing a lot towards ensuring food security to the people.

On the contrary, the adverse impact of climate change together with the abnormal lowering of underground water and declining condition of surface water resources are seen as posing a serious threat to the farming system besides the living and livelihood conditions of the people.

So, there is an urgent need to adopt need-based steps side by side with climate-smart technologies to protect the region from all sorts of adverse negative impacts.

Source:  Online/GFMM

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