Unravelling the groundwater use story in northwest Bangladesh

February 1st, 2022

On 16 January 2022, Dr Mohammed Mainuddin made a keynote presentation on the relationship between water use and groundwater levels in northwest Bangladesh in a Webinar organized by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) on Groundwater Sustainability and Rice Production in North-West Bangladesh. The Minister of Agriculture of the Bangladesh Government was the Chief Guest in the Webinar. All the senior bureaucrats including the Secretary of the Ministry and head and high officials of all the organizations of the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant stakeholders joined the Webinar. There were more than 250 participants. The distinguished audience engaged in discussion on the key findings:

Irrigated boro rice using groundwater in northwest Bangladesh

Boro rice being irrigated by groundwater

  • Expansion of Boro rice has effectively stopped in the last decade 
  • Groundwater levels are not declining everywhere 
  • Overexploitation is not the only cause of groundwater decline: other factors include decline in rainfall and its intensity, changing land use, low soil permeability, reduction in wetland areas, low flows in the rivers in the dry season 
  • Increased pumping with decreasing rainfall does not deplete groundwater level significantly everywhere 
  • Climate change is likely to impact water balance and groundwater availability 
  • Sourcing some irrigation water from surface supplies improves groundwater sustainability .

The findings are summaried in Dr Mainuddin’s presentation, supported by a series of reports which are available from the Publications page.