Muhuri Irrigation Project (MIP) was completed and commissioned in 1986. Over this long period of thirty years, the canal beds became largely silted due to deposits of sand, mud and alluvial soil that accompanied irrigation water. The landslide also occurred in many parts of the canals due to the sandy nature of the soil. This reduced the volume of water flow in the canals and resultantly, the command areas of the schemes under irrigation decreased. Furthermore, the underground water level was going down every year because of the use of shallow and deep tube wells by farmers for irrigation thus reducing the availability of water for irrigation and drinking.
Further, the siltation of the rivers in Bangladesh and diversion of water in the up-streams of the rivers originating in/flowing through some parts of India, efficient use of water resources with the diversification of crops/changing cropping pattern has become essential for obtaining food security and alleviating poverty of the area and the country.
The pumps for irrigation (in the pre-project MIP area ) are owned by and large, by rich farmers who run the motors by diesel and sell water to small and medium farmers. The cost of irrigation is high and fixed per bigha (33 decimals). As farmers pay a fixed water charge per bigha and lack adequate knowledge in water requirements for crops, they use more water than actually required for their crops. The distribution of water through the present field channel system is wasteful because a substantial amount of land remains under field channels that cannot be cultivated and a lot of water is lost in the process due to seepage and evaporation. The overall production cost has gone up and many farmers lost interest in farming which has become uneconomic.
In view of the above, the Government of Bangladesh, with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched this project to modernize 3 large scale old irrigation projects of BWDB under the Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP). These are Muhuri Irrigation Project (MIP) at Feni covering some areas of the Chittagong district, the Ganges Kobotak Irrigation Project (GKIP) at Kustia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, and Magura districts, and Tista Barrage Irrigation Project (TBIP) at Rangpur, Dinajpur, and Nilphamari districts. The implementation of MIP started in 2016 and is going on.
The MIP is located between latitude 22.45˚ – 23.09˚ N and longitude 91.21˚- 91.35˚ E in the middle of the south eastern region of Bangladesh, adjacent to coastal belt of the Bay of Bengal. MIP is situated on the downstream confluence of Muhuri and Feni rivers in the South-East Bangladesh. These two rivers originate in India and these are the two main water sources for MIP. The project covers five Upazilas of Feni District (Feni Sadar, Sonagazi, Chhagalnaiya, Fulgazi, and Porshuram) and part of Mirsarai Upazila in Chittagong District (Figure-2). The MIP is on the flood plains of 3 flashy rivers Muhuri, Feni and Selonia river networks between the Indian hills of Tripura state of India to the East and the Bay of Bengal to the West.
- The overall objective of the project is reducing poverty, enhancing food security through increased yield of crops, and reducing irrigation costs of production.
- The specific objectives of the project are-
- To ensure dry season irrigation using surface water by installing low lift pumps (LLP) on re-excavated canal banks, to reduce saltwater intrusion from the Bay of Bengal, and to reduce the extent, depth, and duration of monsoon flooding.
- To modernize the irrigation system of MIP focusing on sustainable operation and maintenance through rehabilitation of the irrigation infrastructures, replacing the existing drainage /channel system by setting underground pipelines, electrifying the LLPs, and introducing prepaid metering and smart cards with which farmers would irrigate his/her land whenever s/he needs and gets whatever quantity of water s/he needs, thus reducing waste of water.
- iii. Improvement of irrigation management through innovative approaches for modernization and cost recovery in full for the Level 2 (Secondary canal systems) and the Level 3 (framers’ canal system) infrastructures’ O&M while the Executing agency will carry out O&M of the Level 1 (Embankment, regulators and primary canal system/rivers) of the MIP with a contribution by the GoB.
- Increasing the sustainability of MIP through raising farmers’ awareness, institutional strengthening, and effective community participation.
- Controlling floods, increasing water storage capacity by re-excavating the canals excavated under MIP in 1986 and using water resources effectively and efficiently.
Proposed interventions/components of the project
The following interventions are proposed under the project
- Rehabilitation of 22.60 km coastal embankment and re-excavation of 460 km Khal (canal)
- Setting buried uPVC pipes under 850 schemes to irrigate 17000 ha of land and to provide irrigation by installing the prepaid meter and Smart Card system so that waste of water is reduced.
- The project will construct 850 pump houses and header tanks and supporting outlet chambers and gas pipes.
- Electrifying all 850 irrigating pumps for reducing irrigation costs.
- For further reducing irrigation costs, assessing the feasibility of using solar energy in fifty LLPs on a pilot basis.
* The project is also implementing farmers’ training & demonstration, environmental and social safeguard programs, and also Gender Action Plan.