The country's surface water irrigation, which increased to 27 per cent from 21 per cent a decade ago, helps in reducing pressure on ground water, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said Sunday.
He revealed the information at a seminar on Digitalisation of Monitoring of Ground Water Use organised by Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) at its 'Shech Bhaban (Irrigation Wing office) Auditorium in the capital.
BADC Chairman Md Sayedul Islam chaired while Agriculture Secretary Md Mesbahul Islam also spoke, among others, according to a release.
Dr Razzaque said the government has been working constantly to expand irrigation facilities and to reduce irrigation costs through modernisation of irrigation.
"As a result, irrigation cost has come down as well as irrigation areas have been expanded," he said.
The irrigated areas have been expanded by 1.05 million hectares in the last ten years to 5.6 million hectares and we have a target to make it 6.0 million hectares in next ten years, he added.
The minister stated irrigation efficiency has been increased to 38 per cent from 33 per cent while the government has a target to raise it to 50 per cent within 2030 which further could reduce irrigation costs.
Dr Razzaque said surface water use will be raised further to 30 per cent and ground water use will be cut by 70 per cent by 2030 for constructing a sustainable irrigation system in the country.
BADC sources said 9,457 kilometers (kms) of canals have been re-excavated, 13,351 kms of new irrigation canals have been installed, ten rubber dams and one hydraulic elevator dam have been constructed in the last one decade.
Dr Md Abdul Mojid of Department of Irrigation and Water Management, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Malik Fida A Khan, executive director at Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), Director of 'Digitalisation of Survey and Monitoring for Development of Minor Irrigation Project (DSMDMIP)' Mohammad Zafar Ullah and BADC Member Director (Minor Irrigation) Md Arif also spoke at the seminar.
According to BADC, it started groundwater level measurement activities through contract gauge at an early stage in 1967-68.
Recently, under the DSMDMIP project, one water level data-logger has been set up at every upazila.
Through this, the ground water location map is being made which is updated time to time.
Regular monitoring and data collection are going on through space technology and remote sensing, and updated information about water level is being provided after analysing those through geographic information system (GIS), said BADC.
Prior to the seminar, the minister also inaugurated a newly constructed rest house 'Shech Bhaban Complex' on the day.