Improved efficiency in managing water resources has led to an increase in the use of surface water for irrigation by 7% in the last decade, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) said recently.
The BADC disclosed the data during a seminar on "Online based survey and monitoring on sustainable development of small scale irrigation" held at the BADC auditorium in the capital's Manik Mia Avenue on Thursday.
"[The government] is prioritising sustainable development of irrigation systems and proper use of water resources in the country," Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzak said while speaking as the chief guest at the programme.
He said the country's irrigation system has improved in the last 12 years due to various steps taken by the government to modernise the process, including increasing efficiency, constructing underground pipelines to prevent water wastage, and increasing surface water use.
According to the BADC data, out of the total irrigable land in the country, at least 73% is being irrigated currently.
In 1980, the use of groundwater in irrigation amounted to 20% of the total irrigation, while surface water amounted to 80%. By 2010, the situation took a dramatic reversal with the use of groundwater increasing to 80% and the use of surface water falling to 20%.
At present, the total irrigation area in the country has been recorded at 56.27 lakh hectares, the BADC data reveals.
The government body said compared to 2010, the irrigation skills of the country has increased by 3% in 2021— from 35% to 38%. This increase in efficiency boosted the use of surface water from 20% to 27%.
Meanwhile, the agriculture minister said irrigation is important to increase food security and crop productivity.
"But water is wasted in various ways, including irrigation work. The wastage needs to be reduced further. That is why the government is constructing rubber/hydraulic elevator dams using modern technology and other irrigation infrastructures," he said.