Assignment on The ground water management ordinance, 1985 bangladesh
Department of Law & Justice
Course Title: Water Law and Policy
Course Code: LLMF 3221
Date of Submission: 01-09-2013
The Ground Water Management Ordinance, 1985 Bangladesh”
Table of Contents:
02. Definition of Ground Water
03. The Groundwater Management Ordinance 1985
04. Upazila Irrigation Committee
05. Licence of existing tube wells:
06. Suspension and revocation of licence
07. Cancellation of licence
08. Supply of tube wells By Corporation
10 Cognizance of offence
11 Power to make rules
12 Case Study in Bangladesh
13. Groundwater in Bangladesh
14. Groundwater Use Policies and Regulations
15. Conjunctive Use of Water
16. Impact of Declining Ground Water on Drinking Water
At first, I would like to thanks Almighty Allah for his kindness on me in
accomplishing this report. The author is immensely grateful to all of them
who have given guidance, help and co-operation during the tenure of the
study. I would like to express my deep sense of gratitude to my respected
and distinguished supervisor ‘Bahreen Khan’ Assistant Professor;
Department of Law & Justice, Southeast University for his individual
suggestions, valuable time, important information and guidance during the
study period that greatly inspired me in preparing this report successfully. Of
course there are some very special names that cannot be forgotten. I am also
grateful to the Department of Law, Southeast University for providing me
such an opportunity to come closer to real situation. Finally, I want to
express my deep gratitude to my family members to all well wishers whose
enormous helps assisted me to complete this Assignment.
Groundwater is water that comes from the ground. Sounds easy, doesn't it?
Amazingly, many people use groundwater but don't even know it. In fact,
half of everyone in the United States drinks groundwater everyday!
Groundwater is even used to irrigate crops which grow food for tonight's
Where does groundwater come from?
Groundwater comes from rain, snow, sleet, and
hail that soak into the ground. The water moves
down into the ground because of gravity,
passing between particles of soil, sand, gravel,
or rock until it reaches a depth where the
ground is filled, or saturated, with water. The
area that is filled with water is called the
saturated zone and the top of this zone is called
the water table. Makes sense, doesn't it? The
top of the water is a table! The water table may
be very near the ground's surface or it may be
hundreds of feet below.
Think about this: have you ever dug a hole in sand next to an ocean or lake?
What happens? As you're digging, you eventually reach water, right? That
water is groundwater. The water in lakes, rivers, or oceans is called surface
water...it's on the surface. Groundwater and surface water sometimes trade
places. Groundwater can move through the ground and into a lake or stream.
Water in a lake can soak down into the ground and become groundwater.
Groundwater is stored in the ground in materials like gravel or sand. It's kind
of like the earth is a big sponge holding all that water. Water can also move
through rock formations like sandstone or through cracks in rocks. An area
that holds a lot of water, which can be pumped up with a well, is called an
aquifer. Wells pump groundwater from the aquifer and then pipes deliver the
water to cities, houses in the country, or to crops.
Most groundwater is clean, but groundwater can become polluted, or
contaminated. It can become polluted from leaky underground tanks that
store gasoline, leaky landfills, or when people apply too much fertilizer or
pesticides on their fields or lawns. When pollutants leak, spill, or are
carelessly dumped on the ground they can move through the soil.
Because it is deep in the ground, groundwater pollution is generally difficult
and expensive to clean up. Sometimes people have to find new places to dig
a well because their own became contaminated.
Definition of Ground Water:
Available stores of natural water are made up of groundwater, impounded of
flowing surface water and seawater. Groundwater is water that exists in
the pore spaces and fractures in rock and sediment beneath the Earth's
surface. It originates as rainfall or snow, and then moves through the
soil into the Groundwater system, where it eventually makes its way
back to surface streams, lakes, or oceans. It is naturally replenished
from above, as surface water from precipitation, streams, and rivers
infiltrates into the ground.( Lara Fabriz)
Groundwater is often contained in aquifers: an aquifer is an underground
water saturated stratum of formation that can yield usable amounts of water
to a well. There are two different types of aquifers based on physical
characteristics: if the saturated zone is sandwiched between layers of
impermeable material and the Groundwater is unfed pressure, it is called a
confined aquifer; if there is no impermeable layer immediately above the
saturated zone, it is called an unconfined aquifer. In an unconfined aquifer
the top of the saturated zone is the water table as defined above. Usually an
aquifer can produce an economically feasible quantity of water to a well or
spring. A saturated region that, due to lower hydraulic conductivity, does not
yield a sustainable amount of water in an economic fashion is called
According to the Groundwater Management Ordinance
Effect of laws, etc. inconsistent with the Ordinance: 3. The
provisions of this Ordinance and the rules made there under shall have effect
notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law
for the time being in force or in any rule, regulation, bye-law, or in any other
Upazila Irrigation Committee: 04. There shall be constituted, in the
prescribed manner, a Upazila Irrigation Committee in each Upazila for the
purposes of this Ordinance.
1) No tube well shall be installed in any place without a licence granted by
the Upazila Parishad.
(2) An application for licence for installation of a tube well shall be made to
the Upazila Parishad in such form as may be prescribed.
(3) No application shall be entertained by the Upazila Parishad unless it is
accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed.
(4) On receipt of an application for licence, the Upazila Parishad shall direct
the Committee to hold a local enquiry and submit a report on the following
(a) the aquifer condition of the soil where the tube well is to be installed;
(b) the distance of the nearest existing tube well;
(c) the area likely to be benefited by the tube well;
(d) the likely effect on the existing tube wells including tube wells used for
(e) the suitability of the site for installation of the tube well; and
(f) the conditions on which a licence, if any, may be granted.
(6) A licence granted under sub-section (5) shall be in such form as may be
prescribed and shall be subject to such conditions as may be specified
(7) Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Upazila Parishad may file
an application to such authority as may be prescribed for review of the
decision and the decision of that authority on such review shall be final.
Licence of existing tube wells: 6. notwithstanding anything contained
in this Ordinance, a tube well in existence on the day of commencement of
this Ordinance shall not operate after six months from such commencement
unless a licence is obtained in the meantime from the Upazila Parishad on
payment of the prescribed fee:
Suspension and revocation of licence: 7.(1) The Committee may, if it
is satisfied that the conditions of a licence are being violated, by order in
writing specifying the reasons therefore, suspend the licence of a tube well
and report the matter forthwith to the Upazila Parishad.
2) The Upazila Parishad may confirm the order of suspension of a licence if
it is satisfied that there are good reasons for suspension of the licence:
Provided that the Upazila Parishad shall not confirm the suspension of a
licence unless the licensee is given a reasonable opportunity of being heard:
Provided further that, if an order of suspension is not confirmed within
fifteen days from the date of making of the order of suspension, the order of
suspension shall be deemed to have been vacated on the expiry of that
(3) An order of suspension confirmed by the Upazila Parishad shall remain
valid for a period of forty five days.
4) Any person aggrieved by an order of suspension confirmed by the
Upazila Parishad may make an application to such authority as may be
prescribed for review of the order and the decision of that authority on such
review shall be final.
Cancellation of licence: 8. (1) A licence granted under this Ordinance
may be cancelled by the Upazila Parishad if, on a report from the
Committee, it is satisfied that,
(a) the licensee has violated the terms and conditions of the licence; or
(b)the licence was suspended for more than three times during one year
preceding the order
Provided that no licence shall be cancelled unless the licensee is given a
reasonable opportunity of being heard.
Supply of tube wells By Corporation, etc: 9. Notwithstanding
anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, neither the
Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation established under the
Agricultural Development Corporation Ordinance, 1961 (E.P. Ord. XXXVII
of 1961), nor any other authority or person dealing with tube wells shall
supply tube wells to any person unless he has a licence for installation of a
tube well granted under this Ordinance.
Offences: 10. Whoever contravenes any provision of this Ordinance or
rules made thereafter shall be punishable with fine which may extend to two
Cognizance of offence: 11. No Court shall take cognizance of an offence
under this Ordinance except on a complaint made in writing by the
Power to make rules: 12. The Government may, by notification in the
official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Ordinance.
Power to exempt: 13. The Government may, by notification in the
official Gazette, exempt any project or any area specified in the notification
from the operation of this Ordinance.
Case Study in Bangladesh:
The various dimensions of increased accessibility of groundwater referred to
above, plus the finite quantity of renewable groundwater, have resulted in
widespread concern as to the sustainability of the current groundwater use
scenarios. To put the magnitudes into context, a case study assessment for
Bangladesh is developed below.
Figure 2 depicts the historical temperature trends in Bangladesh for annual,
August and January conditions. As evident for all three lines, there are
significant trends indicated. To portray the implications with time, in a
climate changing world, projections of temperature trends as characterized
by four for the Global Circulation Models (GCMs) are depicted in Figure 3
which indicates that the projected trends for Bangladesh represent a
continuation of increased temperatures with time, but with an increased rate
In parallel, there have also been modest increases in historical precipitation
rates over time, as evident in Figure 4. Further, the GCM projections, using
the same four GCMs as relied upon for the temperature changes,
demonstrate that there will be continued modest increases in precipitation
rates until approximately 2050 where there is divergence between the
various models. Regardless, the GCMs are predicting modest increases in
precipitation rates as characterized, which would naturally suggest that there
will be potentially increased water available for agricultural activities.
The similarity of rates of change of temperature, for all four GCMs, is
evident from Figure 3, as well as the demonstration that all four GCMs are
projecting increases at similar rates to that evident over the last fifty years of
historical record. Some amelioration of the rate of these increased
temperatures is evident if the various countries attain their committed levels
of emission reduction where, for example, the CGCM3.1 model suggests an
attenuation of increase in rates of change of annual temperature projections
but regardless, there is a prevalent indication that the temperatures in
Bangladesh will continue to increase.
However, it is important to note that the increases in precipitation rates are
expected in one month, namely July, which is already a very wet month, as
indicated in Table 2; for the considerable majority of the months, the
precipitation levels are projected to decrease such that in October, for
example, the precipitation rates will decrease to 72% of current precipitation
levels in 2100. Hence, these findings indicate that when monthly conditions
are currently ‘wet’, conditions will get wetter, and when monthly conditions
are currently dry, they will get drier. This prediction indicates that during the
dry season, there will be less water available, and hence this will result in
increased groundwater demands to sustain irrigation levels.
Groundwater in Bangladesh:
The hydro-geological conditions in Bangladesh allow inexpensive extraction
of ground water with simple technologies almost everywhere in the country.
In terms of the water table, there are four major areas: Low Water Table
Area (LWTA) where water is available below 8 meters, Shallow Water
Table Area (SWTA) where water is available within 7 meters, Coastal
Saline Area (CSA) where water at shallow depths is saline and the hilly
terrain of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Area where water is available at
much lower depths. In the early eighties, about 75 percent of the country was
under the SWTA, while around 8 percent of the country was under LWTA.
The CSA and CHTA area are rather static, although, due to upstream
withdrawal of surface water by India during the dry months, salinity is
increasing in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Over the years, the LWTA is
increasing rapidly and the forecast is that it will subsume around 50 percent
of the country by the year 2000 (DPHE, undated).
In the SWT area, water is extracted by common No. 6 hand pumps for
drinking water purposes, while mechanized shallow pumps draw water
irrigation; the depth for both being within 7 meters. In the LWT area deep-
set hand pumps are used for drinking purposes while mechanized deep tube
wells are common for irrigating crops. The required depth of these tube
wells is considerably below the shallow water table (7 meters) and varies
according to soil conditions and water table. The CSA and CHTA use
different types of deep tube wells and technologies for extracting ground
water from far greater depths. Successive governments in Bangladesh have
always been involved in the provisioning of water for all purposes with
varying level of involvement. Until recently, it was the exclusive
responsibility of the government to provide drinking water. In the rural
areas, this has changed considerably in the recent past as individuals are
sinking and operating No. 6 suction mode hand pumps in increasing
numbers (Sadeque and Turnquist, 1995). Despite the impressive private
sector participation in SWTA, other areas are still dependent upon
government provisioning of water and the available technologies are
relatively more expensive. In the absence of piped water system in the rural
areas, beneficiary contribution remains limited to a small down payment at
the time of installation and minor repairs only.
Groundwater Use Policies and Regulations:
Historically, rights and ownership issues concerning ground water have
never been viewed seriously. This is contrary to surface water, which has
been regulated and utilized by central authorities even prior to the arrival of
British colonialists in the eighteenth century. Central authorities have
regularly reviewed control of surface water and regulations have been
developed over the years. As early as the nineteenth century, under the
Irrigation Act of 1876, diversion or overuse of surface water compared to the
existing natural flow of water has to be notified by government if such plans
The idea behind this is twofold: first the affected people may make
alternative arrangements and claim compensation (Khan and Khan: 1987).
Similar issues with amendments were included in subsequent surface water
regulations of 1952, and in 1983 during the Bangladesh period. However, no
such regulatory framework concerning the rights of ground water by its
users as well as the stakeholders exists. It is not even considered as a similar
activity like mining, that many other countries consider (Ali et. al. 1987).
During the early eighties, there were efforts to regulate ground water use by
defining the siting conditions of mechanized DTWs, but the regulations
were never seriously enforced, as part of the deregulating and liberalizing
the economy. Tube well sinking (for irrigation) was deregulated during the
mid-eighties and no controls whatsoever exist today.
Conjunctive Use of Water:
As stated earlier, there are two principal sectors of water use in the rural
areas: agriculture and drinking water supply. Supply of irrigation water has
been the responsibility of both Water. Resource and Agriculture Ministry in
the past, while provisioning of domestic water services belonged to Local
Government Ministry. However, water sector in general has seen
privatization efforts in the recent past to attain greater efficiency and for
reducing budgetary allocations. In a seemingly water abundant country like
Bangladesh, scarcity has never featured prominently and coordination
amongst Ministries and agencies to deal with the scarcity issue has never
been a priority. Recent deregulation of the water market may have
exacerbated the problem. The NWP, 1990 recognizes the serious conflict
between expanding irrigation abstractions and viability of potable water
supplies obtained through
Impact of Declining Ground Water on Drinking Water
Over the years, winter (Boro) rice has become a critical source of food and
income for the North-Western villages. These areas used to be rain fed and
single cropped. With the introduction of DTWs they have become double
cropped areas; and due to higher productivity and less uncertainty, Boro rice
has become the major harvest for the villagers. Each year beginning in
February the irrigation machines (DTW) start functioning and after a month
or so the HTWs begin to run dry as the water table recedes well below their
suction capacity. The seasonal hand pump failure continues during March-
May for this region. The entire population of both the villages begins their
vigil for collecting drinking water. The couple of Tara Pumps in their village
are their only alternative.
These pumps are built with a capacity to supply water to about 10-15
households. But during this long 3-4 month period they are always in
operation as more and more people start obtaining water from these pumps.
These pumps are provided by the government Rural Water Supply and
Sanitation (RWSS) Program to groups of ten households. The Caretakers
(the household that organizes the signature collection of allotters and usually
pays the contribution sum), who are the de facto owners of the pump,
institute new rules for use of the pumps during this period. As they
(caretakers) are also responsible for maintenance, the extra pressure on the
pumps becomes a source of irritation for them. Previous studies on access
and equity issues of public HTW, have also noted that the caretaker
households control access to tube wells and make rules about non-owners’
access (Sadeque and Turnquist, 1995). Although religious and cultural
norms preclude total exclusionary tactics by the controlling household, the
caretaker family places restrictions of various sorts especially at times of
Groundwater withdrawals over the last four decades have been substantial
and important, in meeting the burgeoning needs of the agricultural sector
and increasingly so, the needs of the urban sectors. However, the ability to
respond to the existing and projected increased needs, including the
increasing populations, has limits. The situation, in light of climate change,
however, is even more foreboding, as the ability to rely on groundwater
resources is going to be severely limiting. While issues of the challenges to
sustainability were only demonstrated using one country (Bangladesh), the
message is consistent across many parts of the world. The potential to use
increased groundwater withdrawals as the response to climate change, is
very limited in most countries.
Groundwater has storing, filtering and transforming capacities, and regulates
atmospheric, hydrological and nutrient cycles. Groundwater stores and
partly transforms CO2, energy, plant nutrients and other chemical
substances. Groundwater can act as sink in the carbon cycle. Groundwater
can immobilize or break down a multitude of pollutants, for example from
waste disposal. Contaminants may build up and subsequently be released in
different ways, in some cases exceeding regulatory thresholds. Sustaining
biodiversity is an essential ecological function of the land.
In turn, the biological activity on the land and in the soil contributes to its
properties and characteristics, which are essential for its productive
functions. Groundwater maintains wetlands and their ecosystems.
Groundwater makes part of base flows of rivers and Support River in
ecosystem. Groundwater is principal pathway though which solute (such as
silica, nitrate, and cations) enters into lake and ultimately supports the
phytoplankton and zooplanktons.
Groundwater sustains aquatic ecological functions in rivers, lakes, riparian
zones and estuaries require huge volumes of water. Fresh water sustains
biomass growth in terrestrial ecosystems, and provides key ecological
services—maintaining biodiversity, sequestering carbon and combating
desertification. Groundwaters are principal pathways of essential and non
essential exotic trace elements in nature to get to the human metabolism
Relevant also is that increasing water needs are causing greatly increased
interest in water diversion to assist irrigation within a country. In-country
diversion of water such as is occurring in India from the Ganges by the
Farruka Barrage down to Calcutta, has ramifications to downstream
countries in terms of opportunities lost due to lower river levels and will
result in lower recharge to groundwater. The impacts are most dramatic
during the dry seasons when the demand for water from rivers is the highest.
The results from these growths in water demand are so large in the
developing world, in particular, that serious questions exist in terms of the
sustainability of groundwater as a resource. When compounded by climate
change and continued population growth, of concern is the degree to which
increased groundwater withdrawals are sustainable to meet water supply
needs. This paper describes relevant dimensions of groundwater withdrawal
characteristics, with a case study application to Bangladesh, to develop
estimates of implications in terms of the sustainability of groundwater
Ground water is a common resource, neither under complete state authority
nor in the private domain. It is now increasingly being used for productive
purposes (mainly irrigation). It is also facing intense demand from other
conjunctive uses such as drinking water, domestic use, and fisheries. Narrow
sectoral development approaches exacerbate the conflicts arising out of
conjunctive use of this resource, while the absence of a comprehensive water
policy only furthers the sub-sect oral orientation to water use policies.
Water resources, although brought under some form of government control
and regulation over the last hundred years or so, has always remained as a
common community resource.New laws and institutional barriers have been
created by the state to restrict their use by people. Bureaucratic traditions
remind us that, once under their control, governments and their line agencies
are very reluctant to relinquish authority over any resource.
The erosion of common property resources and its impact on the sustenance
of poor households is a relatively well recognized phenomenon in
Bangladesh. The dwindling forest resources of the Central Highlands are
disproportionately affecting the Garo indigenous forest dwellers of
Madhupur tract (Khaleque, 1984). Flood control embankments and other
infrastructures are seriously affecting the income, nutrition and employment
opportunities of poor households and fisher-folk communities in the flood
plains (Sadeque, 1992).
It is apparent that with increasing demands on ground water use, some
regulations are needed to deal with the emerging conflicts. While policies
and regulations are developed at the central government level, due
considerations from the perspectives of all stakeholders are a critical need in
order to formulate principles that are equitable and generally acceptable to
all. The lessons from our rapid appraisal suggest that there are points of
conflict as well as consensus in sharing the common resource.
The future of cooperative use of this common resource hinges upon these
points of conflict as well as consensus. Some of the policy options of dealing
with seasonal (drinking) water shortage and their mitigation are becoming
issues of grave concern for the water-sanitation sector. Essentially, in the
absence of large scale replacement of hand pumps by improved Tara pumps,
cooperation among all users of ground resources must be encouraged.
Irrigation sector can share some water with drinking water sector, while
newer methods of demand driven Tara pump distribution mechanism need to
be developed to ensure greater participation and ownership by all