The country's first hydraulic elevator dam was inaugurated in Chattogram's Anwara upazila Sunday. The dam was constructed as a pilot project to preserve surface water for irrigation.
Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak inaugurated it via video conferencing from the Ministry.
The Minister said that there was a time when paddy irrigation would incur the maximum cost for farmers. But government initiatives, expansion of irrigation network and subsidies for irrigation have reduced the costs.
Under the supervision of Agriculture Ministry, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) constructed the dam on Bharashankha canal.
Chinese state-owned company Beijing IWHR Corporation built the turnkey dam at a cost of Tk21 crore. It is 38 meters long, 4 meters high and has 5 panels with hydraulic jacks attached.
The dam will help irrigate 3,000 hectares of lands by supplying surface water reserve in six unions of the upazila. According to the Agriculture Ministry, the unions produce 13,500 tonnes of food crops annually worth Tk24.30 crore.
Agri-officials said excessive pumping of groundwater to irrigate Boro paddy and other crops is depleting the water level fast. Therefore, more hydraulic elevator dams will be constructed all over the country to preserve surface water for irrigation.
Besides, the dam will help protect crops and plants on around ten kilometers of land from saline water in the dry season.
Hydraulic elevator dam is flexible and by lowering or raising the panels, water flow can be controlled. During the monsoon, the panels can be laid at the riverbed so that water flow is not obstructed.
Sixty-seven rubber dams have been constructed in Bangladesh so far.
In comparison, hydraulic elevator dams are easier to operate and maintain. This type also allows prompt preservation and release of water. Hydraulic elevator dams can also partially drain water, if required.