Prepaid Metering System in Irrigation


Dear Readers,

In this post I am going to introduce you an interesting E-Service for the Farmers and other people engaged in Agriculture related profession. The system is called Prepaid Metering System for Irrigation that are widely using in some areas of Bangladesh.

What is Prepaid Metering System?
The Pre-paid system on Irrigation charge is first introduced in BMDA throughout Bangladesh. There are different types of Organization in the Bangladesh which are related to irrigation, like Bangladesh water development board, (BWDB), Bangladesh Agriculture development corporation (BADC). But BMDA is the only one organization that starts the prepaid meter system on irrigation charges.

It is a computerized automatic irrigation charge collection system. BMDA is the first organization that has introduced the Prepaid Metering System for 3-Phase electric line. So this is a revolutionary development taken by BMDA in Bangladesh. Now this System is practiced in some zonal offices of Rajshahi, Chapai-Nawabganj, and Naogaon District and all over the upazillas of Panchagar and Thakurgaon District in the country.

There are two parts of the Prepaid Metering System:

  1. The Prepaid Meter, and
  2. The Database Server and Networking system.

The Prepaid meter is also a energy measuring unit which work in different modes like:

  • Power consumption mode – It will deduct money according to power consumption.
  • Time consumption mode – It will deduct money according to time consumption.


1. The Prepaid Meter:
Prepaid Metering System every farmer contain a user card which is embedded with his photo, name and a user number which is provided by BMDA. Then for every pump station they use a prepaid meter with a LCD display which is hung on after the energy measuring meter. They initial the prepaid meters consuming mode like power or time tariff using an initial card. The farmer will be able to charge an amount of his choice from the local BMDA offices or from a dealer or distributor. Each local office will have a Vending Station (VS) and each vending dealer will have a Mobile Vending Unit (MVU) for facilitating the charging of cards of the farmers.

The farmers /users go to the respective vending dealer and place his demand (how much money he wants to charge in his user card). After charging money he goes to his respective pump house and inserts his card in the meters slot. Then the meter starts automatically. After fulfilling his demand he presses the button on the meter and pulls out his card back. After one or two days interval a responsible person of BMDA goes to the pump station and insert his checking card in the meter’s slot and the meter automatically upload the whole information of previous pump operation. That is how the responsible person of BMDA knows the whole information of pump usage.

If it is necessary to change the tariff mode or tariff rate of the meter like time or power tariff, then it is possible to change the parameter by using parameter card. The initial card or parameter card is provided from the head office to the upazila office of the respective district.

For continuous updating and monitoring of the collected data, all VS will be connected to a System Master Station (SMS) to be located at Head office of BMDA. Therefore the Head office will automatically be able to know all vending information. The daily sales report, weekly consumption report, dealer-wise sales report etc. can be generated from the SMS. Other than the report generation, the overall control to the VS will be maintained from the SMS.


2. The Database and Networking System:
To store the whole data like: user information, charging information, meter information etc, BMDA use a central server which is called SMS (System Master Station). For storing the whole data there is a database called SQL Server and for charging the user card we use database software called PMS (Payment Management System).

The sever computer is established in head office of BMDA. Every upazilla office contains VS (Vending Station), which is a computer and connects with the SMS through telephone line. The VS is used for charging or uploading the meter information. To collect the information from VS to SMS we use telephone line. They called this procedure telephone networking or Virtual Private Network (VPN). Then they create a dial-up connection for the VS and using the telephone line the VS connects with SMS and a responsible person who is operating the VS uploads the data or charge the user card.

Some Advantages of Prepaid Metering System on Irrigation:

  • Pre-paid meter is a well-equipped and distinctly displayable data base meter. From this, one can read the operating hours, total operating hours, unit consumption per hour, total taka against total operation and so on at a glance. So it is very convenient and technically feasible than post-paid energy meter.
  • It is organized by computerized system.  So it can easily transfer the data from its memory to check card/parameter card.

So here accountability is very much obvious, distinct and precise.

  • As this meter runs only by inserting charged pre-paid card, there no scope of irrigation without pre-paid card.
  • As this meter is well protected and also computerized system, there is no scope of meter bypassing.
  • As it is possible to check the pre-paid meter by checking card, here close monitoring will be established.
  • Very often blood related relatives oblige the operator to irrigate the land without cuopon. In this system such obligation will not arise.
  • Sometime political leader creates pressure on operator to irrigate without cuopon. In this system such pressure creation is not possible.
  • As this system has direct control on DTW operation, there is no scope of the land owners to exploit the helpless farmer
  • Here no misunderstanding or no bargaining will be created from the operator at the time of unit certification by SSAE/SAE/Asst. Mechanic/Mechanic.
  • In this system one could run many DTWS at a time.
  • In this system service status will be upgraded because of high technology.
  • In this system duplication of cuopon is completely impossible.

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority is created on 15th January in 1992. From the inception BMDA acts on development of surface water, ground water lifting by DTW for the purpose of irrigation, development of rural roads/culverts/bridges/cross dam construction, Khal/khari/Pond re-excaveation and massive plantation and so on.

All over the works now BMDA acts massively in irrigation sector throughout the Rajshahi Division in Bangladesh. In past, for diesel operated DTW, there were different types of irrigation charge systems. At present existing copon system on irrigation charges is better than the past practiced systems.
Although cuopon system is now well known and reputed also, it has some limitations also to aid the benefit to the farmers directly.

Pre-paid meter on irrigation charges has so much transparency and also fast accountability at several points, here water rights of a farmer are established by recharging pre-paid card and help less farmers will not be exploited by landowners or operator or group leader or manager.

For more information’s about Prepaid Metering System please visit: BMDA


other related posts:

Advanced Search and Post Query option in BARI

Agriculture Information Service – AIS Bangladesh


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