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Necessity of Participatory Water management plan for Tentultala Village

Tentultala Village is situated approximately 10 kilometers from Khulna City under Jalma union parisad of Batiaghata upazila in Khulna district. Jalma union is big compared to many other unions in Bangladesh and it consists of 33 villages like Tentultala. This village is located far from the city as well from the center of Union Parisad and due to these locational constraints none of the services from city council or Union Parisad reach the inhabitants of the village. There is no public transportation system and it has poor infrastructure for communication and commuting. Major occupation here is fishing and farming. According to the 2011 Census report of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), there are 668 households in the Village. In the last few years the village has witnessed high climate induced in migration from coastal upzillas.

Historically the major sources of water for both fishing and irrigation were river Rupsha and river Moyur flowing towards southeast and northwest direction of the village. Although there are floods during rainy season these are normal and manageable. Participant Sultan Molla mentioned that people started living in Tentultola Village since 1947. In those days only 18 to 20 families were living in the village and after 1952 migration started from other areas. Based on the conversation with villagers, in Tentultala village Mayur River is separated from Rupsha River by “Alutola Sluice Gate” which is also known as 10 Gate. Dam was constructed on Rupsha River in 1975 mainly to protect the city from flood water. After that Alutola Sluice gate was established in 1979 for systematic control of river water flow and to protect Khulna City. Water Development Board was responsible for the management and operation of Alutola Sluice Gate from 1980 to 2012. In 2013 Khulna City Corporation (KCC) took over the responsibility of the gate. KCC has a committee including members from Khulna City Corporation (KCC), Khulna Development Authority (KDA), Water Development Board, community representatives and some other government agencies. They decide the gate opening and closing time on a preferential basis. One gate operator is appointed by the city corporation.

Around 80 percent of the villagers here are engaged in cultivating different types of crops like rice and vegetables. One of the participant Umar Ali reveals that multi season cultivation started in Tentultala village after the establishment of dam and sluice gate. Before establishing the sluice gate people used to cultivate only one crop in a year (Aman Season). Now three crops are cultivated in a year. Rice is cultivated twice (Robi Season and Aman Season) and in Robi season vegetables are also grown. Due to improper management of Alutola sluice gate, agricultural and fish production of Alutala area is being hampered. Due to scarcity of water, farmers are unable to cultivate crops in Robi season. The gate management committee is not active. Villager Umar Ali said that, shallow boring for irrigation purposes is not effective because of heavy iron contamination in water. The villagers recommend that at least one gate should be opened always during Robi season to meet the irrigation water demand.

The upstream people complain of gate operation, which is done keeping in mind the benefits for the downstream users, and this has given rise to conflict. The problem is Tentultola Village is 6 feet higher than the downstream areas. Downstream areas would be flooded if Tentultala villagers get sufficient water for their cultivation purposes. For these reasons gate operation is mainly done considering the privileges of downstream communities. In addition downstream communities can easily preserve water required for cultivation purpose through an individual gate, which is located in Rayer Mahal Bazar. As a result Tentultala villagers are always deprived from getting sufficient water. Villagers mentioned that establishment of a gate at Chachibunia area would be a solution for this problem. The fishermen group is also affected due to improper management of Alutola Sluice Gate.

One potential solution to this problem is participatory water management plan involving upstream and downstream users, water development board, City Corporation, union parisad and upazilla parisad.

By ATM Zakir Hossain, Executive Director, JJS and Sheikh Nazmul Huda, Project Coordinator, JJS


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