BSS, Rajshahi : Environmentalists and agricultural scientists have put emphasis on taking effective and need- based steps to protect the existing water resources in the region particularly its vast Barind tract from further destruction. They laid stress on proper management of the existing water resources to protect the drought-prone area from ecological degradation. While talking to BSS, Prof Golam Sabbir Sattar of Geology and Mining Department of Rajshahi University highlighted the importance of the major rivers and their tributaries in ensuring environmental balance and maintaining a sound biodiversity and aquatic vegetation. He said normal flow of the rivers play a vital role in recharging the groundwater table that was being destroyed gradually due to various reasons. In the current dry season, he mentioned that most of the hand- driven tube-wells become inoperative due to abnormal declining of aquifer posing a threat to the commoners’ livelihood in the region. Dr Sabbir Sattar observed that farming of some conventional crops especially Aush paddy has become dependent on irrigation due to scanty rainfall at present whereas those were totally rainfed earlier. He said tremendous pressure on groundwater table has been enhanced with breakthrough of gradually increasing rate of irrigation and the pressure could be mitigated through protection of the surface water resources. Dr Redwanur Rahman, Associate Professor of Institute of Environmental Sciences of Rajshahi University, referred to various forms of water pollution and contamination of water and noted that effective measures should be taken against water and environment pollution on an emergency basis. “Due attention should be given on using surface water for irrigation purposes to lessen the pressure on ground water,” he said. Terming the unabated use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on agricultural lands, industrial solid wastes and clinical wastes as harmful for living beings, he called for compelling the organizations and persons concerned to follow the government’s policies in this regard. Dr Israil Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of Regional Wheat Research Center, underscored the need for creating awareness on water and sanitation among children through primary education and said steps should be taken to protect the existing water resources from pollution. He advocated for building an effective programme to maintain coordination among the experts, government and non-government organisations concerned so that they can put in their best efforts to formulate a time befitting policy for proper water resource management.