A Bangladeshi farmer transplants rice. Underground reservoirs are being tapped to supply smallholder farms in Bangladesh. Copyright: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). This image has been cropped.

Environment Bangladesh14. December 2022

This Natural “Water Machine” Keeps Crops Growing – Even in Times of Drought

16 million small farmers in Bangladesh are now relying on sustainable, underground reservoirs of water to irrigate their crops and produce their rice.

“The Bengal Water Machine is a nature-based solution, requiring a comparatively minimal intervention – i.e. shallow irrigation wells that are less than 100 meters below ground level – relative to dams, to increase seasonal capture of freshwater that would otherwise drain to the Bay of Bengal,” explains Mohammad Shamsudduha, author of the study affiliated with University College, London.

The Bengal Water Machine provides the possibility of increasing international food security as water – replenished in this case during monsoon season – remains available even through climate extremes caused by global warming such as extreme droughts. Researchers confirm that this sustainable irrigation process could be replicated in other areas around the world.


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