Solar power irrigation gains ground in Rajshahi barind

Solar power irrigation has started gaining popularity in Barind area as it plays vital role to ensure round the year irrigation facilities to farmers besides lessening mounting pressure on electricity to some extent.

Anwar Hossain, 45, a farmer of Biroil village under Godagari upazila, said more than five hundred farmers of his area are being benefited from solar power pump.

Under the ‘Extension of Irrigation in Barind Area through Conservation of Water in Canal’ project, Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has connected the water pumps with solar panels to ensure a smooth supply of water to farmers without any worry of load shedding.

The Taka 116.13 crore project is being implemented in eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogoan and Chapainawabganj districts with the main thrust of increasing use of surface water for irrigation round the year.

Anwar Hossain said the solar panel pumps supply irrigation water directly to crop fields from the canal. The BMDA re-excavated canal resulting in the use of surface water instead of underground water and increasing production of crops and vegetables in the lands which once remained fallow.

Solar panels have been set up in Jagpur and Biroil areas in Godagari upazila where water is being pumped through Sarmongla canal. Water is being pumped from two large ponds in Gopalpur and Paldevepur villages where the same has been stored from the river Padma.

BMDA Assistant Engineer Zillul Bari says he could start and stop the pumps through computer by sitting in his office at daytime, but for having no sunlight those pumps remained inoperative at night.

He also said the pumps are unlikely to damage during next 50-year. The cost of irrigation was also less in the pump water whereas there is an increased production of crops.

Solar pump used irrigation system from surface water sources is the first ever in Bangladesh.

Shamsul Alam, Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension, said the surface water contains more minerals and silts that is why the water used from surfaces is always more nourishing and better for crop production.

Engineer Shibbir Ahmed, Director of the BMDA project, said the height of cultivable land from the Padma river basin is 70 to 150 feet on an average.

Water for irrigation purposes were earlier supplied from deep tubewells which run on electricity and due to erratic power supply, farmers suffered a lot during irrigating water in their fields.

People of Barind region were now using surface water pumped through solar panels with the introduction solar pump system.

Engineer Ahmed said at first water being pumped to local canals, water bodies and rivulets from the river Padma and the Mahananda and stored there and from those sources fields are being irrigated by using solar pumps.

Eighty bighas of land is getting full irrigation facility from a solar pump. Around 38.85 kilometers of derelict canals and seven ponds were re-
excavated and 106 solar pumps have already set up in Barind region.

BMDA intends to extend irrigation facilities to around 3780 hectares land through using surface water in Barind area which will contribute a lot to produce around 37,800 tonnes of crops throughout the year.

“We have a plan of installing furthermore solar panel pumps in the Barind area and the process of setting up of pumps is going on at present,” Engineer Ahmed added.

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