Sunday, June 16, 2024

Fresh water for Buriganga

Project underway to get Jamuna water into the highly polluted river during lean period 
The government has finally started dredging the Turag river in efforts to bring fresh water to the highly-polluted Buriganga river.
The dredging is part of the government’s Tk 945-crore project to connect the Buriganga with the Jamuna river through Turag-Bangshi-Pungli and then the new Dhaleshwari near the Bangabandhu Bridge.
Water Development Board (WDB), the implementing agency of the project, will dredge 162.5 kilometres of rivers and canals at a stretch. The project, titled “Buriganga River Restoration”, is supposed to be completed in December 2013.
“Once the project is completed, the Buriganga will get an extra 141 cubic metres of water per second during the lean period,” said Project Director Sunil Baran Dev Roy.
“The fresh flow of water will decrease the level of pollution and increase the level of dissolved oxygen in the river water,” Roy observed.
The main objective of the project is to increase the dissolved oxygen level up to 4 mcg/l in the water, which is now almost zero in dry season, he added.
Experts, however, say this project alone will not be enough to make the Buriganga healthy and clean. The government must relocate the tanneries and stop dumping of waste into the river.
Water flow in the entire river systems of the capital remains almost stagnant for seven months a year including the lean period. Dumping of millions of gallons of highly toxic industrial and human waste accumulate in the stagnant water, making the situation even worse.
“In the first phase, a stretch of 6.5 kilometres of the Turag would be dredged from Rustampur point to the Pungli canal,” said the project director.
“Around 63 kilometres of new Dhaleshwari is going to be mechanically excavated, as this portion of the river is totally silted since the Jamuna Bridge was built,” he noted.
Sunil added that another stretch of 29 kilometres would be dredged in the next phase and they have already submitted a proposal to the purchase committee for approval.
A sluice gate and a fish off pass would also be set up at the Jamuna confluence to control floodwater during monsoon. “We will not divert any water during the monsoon,” Sunil added.
The idea is to divert around 300 cm per second of water towards the city’s river systems. But some water will be taken off for irrigation purpose on the way, he said.
“Finally, around 141 cm per second water is likely to reach the Buriganga which will ensure water flow during the dry season and automatically flush pollutants,” he pointed out.
Experts believe diverting water will not affect the environment as over 2,000 cubic metres of water flows through the Jamuna every second.
Asked about the ongoing water pollution, Sunil said the Water Development Board is just implementing the river water restoration project. The Ministry of Environment and Forest will ensure installation of effluent treatment plants (ETP) to check further pollution.
Hasan and Brothers, a local firm, is conducting the ongoing dredging work, he informed.
The Institute of Water Modelling, which conducted a feasibility study on the project in 2003, is going to give them technical help regarding the work, Sunil told The Daily Star.

-With The Daily Star input

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