free counter
Science And Nature

Farmers accidentally created a flood-resistant machine across Bangladesh

To regulate unpredictable water and prevent floods, you may create a dam. To create a dam, you generally need hills and dalesgeographic features to carry water in a reservoir. Which explains why dams dont fare well in Bangladesh, the majority of that is a flat floodplain thats only a few feet above sea level.

Instead, in a happy accident, an incredible number of Bangladeshi farmers have were able to develop a flood control system of these very own, benefiting from the regions wet-and-dry seasonal climate. As farmers pump water from the bottom in the dry season, they release space for water to flood in through the wet season, hydrogeologists found.

Researchers published the machine theyd uncovered in the journal Science on September 15. And authorities might use the findings to create farming more sustainable, writes Aditi Mukherji, a researcher in Delhi for the International Water Management Institute who wasnt mixed up in paper, in a companion article in Science.

No-one really intended this to occur, because farmers didnt have the data if they started pumping, says Mohammad Shamsudduha, a geoscientist at University College London in the united kingdom and something of the papers authors.

[Related: Exactly what is a flash flood?]

The majority of Bangladesh is based on the biggest river delta on earth, where in fact the Rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra fan out in to the Bay of Bengal. Its an expanse of lush floodplains and emerald forests, blanketing probably the most fertile soil on earth. Indeed, that soil supports a population density nearly thrice that of NJ, the densest US state.

Like a lot of South Asia, Bangladeshs climate revolves round the yearly monsoon. The monsoon rains support local animal and vegetation and are crucial to agriculture, too. But much monsoon could cause devastating floods, as residents of northern Bangladesh experienced in June.

Yet Bangladeshs warm climate implies that farmers can grow your crops, especially rice, in the dry season. To take action, farmers often irrigate their fields with water they draft from the bottom. Many small-scale farmers started doing this in the 1990s, once the Bangladeshi government loosened restrictions on importing diesel-powered pumps and made them less expensive.

The authors of the brand new study wished to examine whether pumping was depriving the bottom of its water. Thats generally of low quality, leading to strained water supplies and the bottom literally sinking (just ask Jakarta). They examined data from 465 government-controlled stations that monitor Bangladeshs irrigation efforts in the united states.

[Related: How climate change fed Pakistans devastating floods]

The problem had not been so simple: In lots of places, groundwater wasnt depleting at all.

Its because of how rivers craft the delta. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra carry an abundance of silt and sediment from as a long way away because the Himalayas. Because they fan out through the delta, they deposit those fine particles in to the surrounding land. These sediments help to make the deltas soil as fertile since it is.

This accumulation also results in plenty of little pores in the bottom. Once the heavy rains come, rather than running off in to the ocean or increasing runaway flooding, all that water can soak in to the ground, where farmers may use it.

In which a dams reservoir is similar to a bucket, Bangladesh is similar to a sponge. Through the dry season, farmers dry the sponge. That provides it more room to soak up more water in the monsoon. Etc, in anideallyself-sustaining cycle. Researchers call it the Bengal Water Machine.

The operation of the [Bengal Water Machine] was suspected by way of a few hydrogeologists in your research network but essentially unknown ahead of this paper, says Richard Taylor, a hydrogeologist at University College London in the united kingdom, and another of the papers authors.

If there is no pumping, then this might not need happened, says Kazi Matin Uddin Ahmed, a hydrogeologist at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, and another of the papers authors.

Storing water underground rather than a dam includes a few advantages, Ahmed adds. The subsurface liquid reaches less threat of evaporating into useless vapor. It doesnt rewrite the regions geography, and farmers can draw water from their very own land, instead of counting on water shuttled in through irrigation channels.

The researchers think that other water machines might fill fertile deltas elsewhere in the tropics with similar wet-and-dry climates. Southeast Asia might host several, at the mouths of the Red River, the Mekong, and the Irrawaddy.

But an ominous question looms on the Bengal Water Machine: What goes on as climate change reshapes the delta? Most crucially, a warming climate might intensify monsoons and change where they deliver their rains. That is something we have to consider, says Shamsudduha.

The Bengal Water Machine faces other immediate challenges. In 2019, in reaction to overpumping concerns, the Bangladeshi government reintroduced restrictions which farmers reach use a pump, which will make groundwater pumping more inaccessible. Additionally, many farmers use dirty diesel-powered pumps. (The governments now encouraging farmers to change to solar powered energy.)

Also, keeping the Bengal Water Machine ship-shape means not using an excessive amount of groundwater. Unfortunately, thats already happening. Bangladeshs west generally gets less rainfall than its east, and the outcomes reflect that. The researchers noticed groundwater depletion in the west that wasnt happening out east.

There exists a limit, says Ahmed. There needs to be close tabs on the machine.

Read More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker