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The Bengal Water Machine: Quantified freshwater capture in Bangladesh

Shamsudduha, Mohammad; Taylor, RG; Zahid, A; Ahmed, KM; Nowreen, S; Rahman, AZ; Haq, MI; (2022) The Bengal Water Machine: Quantified freshwater capture in Bangladesh. (6612 Vol 377 ). American Association for the Advancement of Science: Dhaka, Bangladesh. Green open access

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Abstract

Global food security depends on the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. Rising groundwater withdrawals from seasonally humid, alluvial plains across tropical Asia have enabled dry-season rice cultivation. This groundwater pumpage increases available subsurface storage that under favorable conditions amplifies groundwater replenishment during the subsequent monsoon. We empirically quantified this nature-based solution to seasonal freshwater storage capture described as the “Bengal Water Machine,” revealing its potential and limitations. On the basis of a million piezometric observations from 465 monitoring wells, we show that the collective operation of ~16 million smallholder farmers in the Bengal Basin of Bangladesh from 1988 to 2018 has induced cumulative freshwater capture that volumetrically (75 to 90 cubic kilometers) is equivalent to twice the reservoir capacity of the Three Gorges Dam.

Type: Report
Title: The Bengal Water Machine: Quantified freshwater capture in Bangladesh
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1126/science.abm4730
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abm4730
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author-accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10179438
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