Dhaka, 27 Mar, Abnews: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today suggested finding a native solution to water management and stressed maintaining the navigability of the rivers and highest harvesting of the rain water to resolve the shortage of water during lean period.
"The prime and foremost responsibility of the Ministry of Water Resources should be protection of the rivers, enhancing their navigability and water reserving capacity to turn them into 'blessings' instead of 'curses'," she said.
The prime minister said the government is making strides to ensure an equitable water management of the all trans-boundary rivers with India like the Padma River.
However, the solution should be found out on our own through river dredging and reservation of the rain water," she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 'World Water Day-2018' programme as the chief guest at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has given utmost importance to river dredging whereas the regimes assumed power after Bangabandhu's murder had not taken the initiative for maintaining navigability of the rivers.
Laying importance on nature-based solutions to water problems, the prime minister said there are no alternative to the nature-based solutions for facing the mounting challenges of water resources management.
"Nature-based solution of different water problems is the demand of the present time and it must be encouraged," she said.
About the solution of Teesta water sharing with India, the prime minister said Bangladesh should have considered more wisely about the future impact before construction of the Teesta Barrage as we live in downstream.
"Now, we are in problem with the barrage. So, the more rain water we would be able to harvest the more we will be benefitted," she said.
Water Resources Minister Anwar Hossain Monju and State Minister Nazrul Islam, Bir Pratik, were present as special guests on the occasion chaired by acting secretary of the ministry Kabir Bin Anwar.
Director general of Bangladesh Water Development Board gave the welcome address.
A documentary on the water management and activities of the Water Resources Ministry was displayed while the theme song on the World Water Day was played.
The prime minister said construction of embankments is not the only solution to stop river erosion and flood. Maintenance of the river banks should be conducted in such a way so that the course of river is not changed.
After the dredging, the rivers should have adequate flood zones and green belt to reduce the loss of floods. Otherwise, the river might be devastating during the time of deluge, she said.
The prime minister said the natural reservoirs of water should be protected while the flow of the canals linking the rivers should be maintained and a flood zone should be created for conservation of the water.
Sheikh Hasina said it is also required to maintain balance among water, nature and environment to meet the demand of present generation and preserve the water and environment for future generation, she said.
"We must not waste water as ground water is limited. So, the use of ground water should be reduced for a sustainable development," she said.
The prime minister said the United Nations adopted "Nature for Water" as the theme for World Water Day-2018 to encourage nature-based solutions to water problems.
"Importance of water is immense for environmental balance. Because, without water there will be no existence of living being," she said.
Pointing out the success of her government in ensuring safe water for the people, the prime minister said as per MDG, 84% people were set to bring under safe water by 2015. But 87% people were brought under safe water supply in Bangladesh by the stipulated timeframe.
At present, 98% urban population of Bangladesh is getting safe water, she said. The prime minister said discussion is going on in the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) of Bangladesh and India on trans-boundary water management including an equitable sharing of the Teesta water.
Sheikh Hasina said the present government has almost finalized the "Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100", an environment-friendly, integrated and strategic water management plan in cooperation of Dutch government.
The Delta Plan is a strategic one to protect the landmass of Bangladesh and sustainable development, meeting the challenges and demands of increasing population, she said.
The prime minister said the government since taking over power has given special emphasis to the restoration and development of natural wetlands, revival of the river and navigation.
In view of this, importance was given to river dredging, strengthening coastal embankments, addressing climate change, maintaining connectivity between the river and floodplain, creating buffer zone along riverbank for the protection of environment and ecosystem.
A concept paper has been finalized for preparing 'dredging master plan' in order to dredging of the rivers, haors, baors, canals, ponds and wetlands of the whole country in a comprehensive manner, she said.
World Water Day, celebrated every year since 1993, aims to bring attention to the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. – BSS