Speakers sought nature-based solutions for water challenges in Bangladesh at a national seminar marking World Water Day on Wednesday.
The speakers also emphasized the need for integrated solutions in water development plans that consider political, social and local realities.
The seminar was jointly organised by Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and NGO Forum for Public Health at the PKSF Bhaban in Agargaon.
The discussions were directed in line with this year's UN World Water Day theme of “Nature for Water,” which urged the pursuit of ways to protect the environment and sustain water resources, said a press statement from PKSF.
Addressing the seminar as chief guest, Environment and Forest Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud said: "We have built buffer zones across our rivers to create room for them. But people have started residing in these areas. Consequently, houses have been built, roads constructed, and markets established. In the end, the buffer zones disappear and cause floods."
The country's finite resources are invested into protecting the natural cycle and the ministry was working to increase the forest area, he added.
Chairman of PKSF Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, who presided over the seminar, stressed on the need to find a water management system that would save the environment and maintain the ecology.
He also mentioned that PKSF has been promoting access to safe water for those in poverty without hampering the environment.
Buet Department of Civil Engineering Prof M Ashraf Al, also director of ITN-Buet, said the water of the Shitalakhya River would soon become unusable and only surface water would be available for Dhaka, if development was continued without taking measures to protect nature
He stressed the development of designs and guidelines for nature-based technologies that may be applied by engineers.