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i Table of Content I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND A. Country Context B. Sector Context C. Regional Context ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND EXTERNAL FUNDING AGENCIES Historical Perspective, and Formulating Water Sector Policy and Plans Water Sector Institutions Investments in Water Resources Management 1. Overview 2. Impacts of Key Interventions Flood Control and Drainage Schemes D. Support by External Funding Agencies 1. Overall Trend and Key Lessons 2. ADB Assistance a. Overview b. Lessons Learned A. B. C. NATIONAL GOALS, POLICIES, AND PLANS Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy National Water Policy and Related Policies Draft National Water Management Plan 1. Overview 2. Contents of NWMP 1 1 2 6 7 7 9 13 13 14 15 15 16 16 17 20 20 20 22 22 22 26 26 26 26 27 30 31 32 33 33 34 34 34 38 39 40 40 41 41 43 44 44 46 47


III. A. B. C.


PROGRESS AND ISSUES TOWARDS SECTOR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Institutional Framework 1. National Water Act 2. WARPO 3. BWDB 4. LGED 5. Local Government Institutions 6. Water Management Associations B. Generic Institutional Issues 1. Collaborative Process and Working with Stakeholders 2. Quality of Construction 3. Operation and Maintenance a. Surface Water Management for Agriculture b. Urban Water Infrastructure 4. Corruption C. Key Technical/ Investment Issues 1. River Erosion 2. Urban/ Rural Land and Water Management a. Rural Areas b. Urban Areas 3. Disaster Management 4. Groundwater Arsenic 5. Environmental Management 6. Fisheries A.

ii V. DIRECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Priority Agendas 1. Water Policy and Plans 2. Reform and Restructuring of Key Institutions 3. Strategic Thrusts for Investments B. Recommendations for Future Operational Strategy of ADB 1. Policy and Institutional Reforms 2. Investments A. 49 49 49 50 54 60 60 61 63 69 71 73

SECTOR ROADMAP Appendix 1. Appendix 2. Appendix 3. Bibliography External Assistance to the Water Resources Sector Impact Summary

ACRONYMS ADB BAMWSP BUET BWDB CIDA DPHE DOE ECNWRC EGIS EIA FAP FCD FCDI FY GOB GPS HYV IDA IECO IWM JBIC LGED LGI MEO MOU NGO NWMP NWP NWRC O&M PRSP Asian Development Bank Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology Bangladesh Water Development Board Canadian International Development Agency Department of Public Health Engineering Department of Environment Executive Council of NWRC Environment and Geographic Information System Environmental Impact Assessment Flood Action Plan Flood Control, Drainage Flood Control, Drainage and Irrigation Fiscal Year Government of Bangladesh Global Positioning System High Yielding Varieties International Development Association International Engineering Company Institute of Water Modeling Japan Bank for international Cooperation Local Government Engineering Department Local Government Institution Mechanical Engineering Organization (of Bangladesh Water Development Board) Memorandum of Understanding Non-Government Organization National Water Management Plan National Water Policy National Water Resources Council Operation and Maintenance Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

iii SSWRDSP SRP WARPO WASA WMA WMCA Small Scale Water Resource Development Sector Project System Rehabilitation Project Water Resource Planning Organization Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Water Management Association Water Management Cooperative Association




1. This report records the findings of a review of the Bangladesh water resource management sector in 2003. The objectives of the review is to assess the recent policy, plan and institutional development in water resource management, examine past interventions and lessons learned from those, outline the outstanding issues facing the sector and suggest priority agenda for development partners, especially ADBs role, in water resource management in the future. The primary focus of this report is on water resource management. To the extent water issues are interrelated and keeping in mind ADBs involvement, this report also touches on issues and policies related to water supply for domestic use. 2. The report is divided in 5 parts. The first part provides the country and sectoral contexts. The second part reviews the role of Government and donors until to date. The third part reviews the policy and plan framework including the draft National Water Management Plan (NWMP). The fourth part assesses the progress and issues towards the sector goals, and the last part suggests a road map for the future. The source of the materials presented in the report is abstracted or synthesized from existing reports (including background studies for National Water Management Plans) and discussions with local officials and experts. A. Country Context

3. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world with a per capita income of approximately $365 in 2001. High population density, poor resource management, and numerous natural disasters coupled with frequent political turmoil have affected the economic and social development of the country over the past two decades. Economic growth has remained low and poverty is prevalent among both rural and urban households. Since the early 1990s, the country has been endeavoring to carry out a comprehensive set of structural reforms aimed at strengthening fiscal and monetary management, liberalizing foreign trade and exchange rate regimes, restructuring the industrial sector, and encouraging private sector investment. As a result, a degree of macro-economic stability was achieved, and the economy has grown averaging 5% during the 1990s compared with 4% in the preceding decade, which is a reasonably good growth rate but still is below a rate that is required for a significant progress toward reduction of poverty. 4. Over the last two decades, agriculture sector showed overall steady growth as a key sector of the economy, with an annual average growth rate of about 2.8%. Although the share of agriculture in the countrys GDP declined from about half during 1970s to a quarter now, the sector provides employment to about 60% of labor force 2. Food grain production nearly doubled since independence to some 26 million tons in 2002 and the country has been largely self sufficient in food production in recent years, thanks to improved policy environment that contributed to rapid growth of minor irrigation and improved availability of seeds and fertilizers. The urban sector has increased its importance in the economy, producing most of the countrys exports and are driving force behind economic growth and creation of jobs, with the services sector rather than the manufacturing sector providing the jobs, such as transport and
1 2

This report was prepared on the basis of the contribution provided by Dr. Rashid Faruqee, who was engaged as Staff Consultant, ADB. Government of Bangladesh, IPRSP document

2 communications. Along with the process there have been noticeable progresses on the social front such as population control, reduction in infant and child mortality and mul-nutrition, disaster mitigation, mobilization of NGOs and CBOs in development activities, and democratic transition. 5. Despite these progresses, poverty remains pervasive in Bangladesh. The 2002 Household Income and Expenditure Survey, along with previous rounds of the same survey, provide data on poverty levels and trend during the past decade. In 2000, 50% of Bangladeshs population was poor, as compared to 59% in 1991-92. Thus incidence of poverty declined by about 9 percentage points over the course of the decade. Throughout the decade, poverty in rural areas remained higher than in urban areas 3. In 2000, about 85% of the countrys overall poor population of 63 million live in rural areas. The poverty headcount index in urban and rural areas were 37% and 53%, respectively. 4 6. Looking towards the future, although population growth rate has slowed to about 1.6% per annum, in absolute numbers, this still means that total population will increase 40% by 2025. The majority of the predicted population increase is expected to be in urban areas, i.e., the proportion of people in urban areas will double in the next 25 years, posing significant challenges to the infrastructure and services in urban areas. B. Sector Context:

7. Main Challenges of Water Resource Management. Bangladesh is a lower riparian country located within flood plains of three great rivers, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. There are many tributaries and distributaries of these rivers and in total 57 rivers pass through the country. These rivers drain a total area of 1.72 million square kilometers in India, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Over 90 percent of the catchment area for the rivers in Bangladesh lies outside Bangladesh. As a result, huge inflows of water enter the country, over which Bangladesh has no control. The lack of controls is a critical problem because Bangladesh has an agrarian economy dependent on water, and at different times within a year, Bangladesh has either too much or too little water. The average surface water flow in peak-wet season (August) is nearly 112 billion cubic meters and in the dry season (February) is about 3.7 billion cubic meters. During the wet season (June September), massive river flow in a flat delta topography (which severely limits effective drainages) further accentuated by high rainfall occurring only in a limited four months period makes flooding a recurring phenomenon. 8. Floods, however, vary in intensity. In a normal year, about 22 percent of the country is flooded during the wet season. Sixty percent of the country experiences a flood every twentyfive or so years. Bangladesh suffered major floods in 1954, 1955, 1974, 1987, 1988 and 1998. The major flood in 1998, for example, inundated two thirds of the country, affected some 30 million people, and caused over 1000 deaths. That flood also severely damaged the infrastructure and homesteads and disrupted economic activities. There was also considerable short-term damage to agriculture (particularly aman rice). Severe floods thus can have a substantial adverse impact on the economy. Floods, however, have some positive effects. They improve soil conditions and crops planted after flood usually yield bumper harvests. Annual flooding is also necessary to replenish fish habitats and creates temporarily common fishing areas for the landless poor and to facilitate river navigation. Flood is a problem when it is prolonged and severe. The challenge is to manage flood in a manner that its adverse effect are mitigated, but its beneficial effects are not lost.
3 4

World Bank Poverty Report 2002 Preliminary Report of Household Income and Expenditure survey 2000, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS)

3 9. Associated with floods are riverbank erosion and siltation. The Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) has estimated that about 1,200 kilometers of riverbank in the major rivers is actively eroding and more than 500 kilometers face severe problems associated with erosions. The average sediment load that passes through the country to the sea is huge (0.5 to 1.5 billion tons a year), eroding an estimated 10,000 ha of floodplain land annually. A part of the sediment is deposited on the flood plains as a short-lived and low-lying char-land, gradually changing its topography and seriously reducing the carrying capacity and navigability of the drainage channel. 10. Water scarcity in the dry season, which normally lasts from November to April is also an issue, characterized by a drastic reduction in the discharge of major rivers, drying of water channels, falling water tables, and salinity intrusion. This is the season of greatest demand for groundwater. The Quaternary alluvium of Bangladesh constitutes a large aquifer with excellent storage and transmission characteristics. While estimates differ, the Master Plan Organization suggested that the available recharge was about 21x109 m3. More information on ground water is required to make reliable projections of availability, but it has been instrumental to gains in agriculture production, 5 and in meeting domestic and industrial water demand both rural and urban. Nevertheless, the discovery of arsenic in this key resource has altered the planning framework, and created a problem of access to safe drinking water in the affected areas. 11. Coastal regions face severer water scarcity, with salinity intrusion and limited availability of fresh groundwater, in particular in the southwest, which faces acute associated environmental degradation and inter-sectoral conflicts in water use. A large part of the coastal region also faces another challenge: drainage congestion. The problem is severer in areas protected by polders. The polders, while protecting the area from flooding and saline water intrusion, restrict tidal flows that might otherwise keep the sediment in suspension and prevent deposition on the low-lying lands. 12. Water Resource Management and Agriculture. Agriculture is the centerpiece of the Bangladesh economy and supports the vast majority of its population. While the sectors share has declined to 24% of GDP in 2001/02, it employs about 60% of the country's labor force. Food crops represent about 57% of the value added by agriculture, followed by fisheries (22%), livestock (12%), and forestry (8%). Paddy is the dominant crop, accounting for roughly three fourths of the total cropped area. Other important crops include pulses, wheat, jute, and oilseeds. Miscellaneous other crops include vegetables, fruits, cotton, sugar, and tea. 13. Crop agriculture showed strong growth in particular the latter half of the 1990s, particularly food grain production, which is estimated to reach 26.9 million tons in fiscal year (FY) 2002/03, exceeding the food self-sufficiency target. The resulting reduction in food grain prices has particularly benefited poor people in both urban and rural areas, given that 70 per cent of rural households are net purchasers of rice. This robust growth is largely attributed to increased groundwater irrigation and an adequate supply of key agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, diesel, fuel, and high-yielding variety seeds at stable prices, and increased availability of agricultural credit. The Governments proactive policies have also contributed to this process, including the removal of import restrictions on small irrigation pumps in 1988, and deregulation of the fertilizer trade in 1992. 6

5 6

The latest estimated irrigated area during the dry season has reached 4 million ha in 2002/03, over 50% of the net sown area. The cereal production during the dry season accounts for over 50% of annual production in FY2002/03.

4 14. While the production growth rate has been much less dynamic, the large areas of the country is protected by flood control, drainage (FCD) and irrigation systems. In Bangladesh, FCD systems are in the flood plains of the rivers or along the coast. Embankment along the periphery provides protection against river floods or salt intrusion. Regulators are located in these embankments to drain natural khals and to prevent backflow from high river levels to the low areas within the polder. FCD systems are designed primarily to protect standing aus or boro against flood (early flood in haor areas and monsoon flood in other areas), reduce salt intrusion (in coastal area) and help growth of high yielding aman by excluding floodwater from the protected area. Some FCD systems include irrigation (then called FCDI) to deliver water to farmers field. Irrigation is practiced in FCD system through low lift pumps, tubewells or traditional irrigation devices. 15. Despite success in food production growth so far, continued growth will be essential to keep pace with population growth (expected to reach 175 million in 2025) 7 and to ensure food security to the poor. Enhanced production of non-rice crop is also becoming increasingly critical given the expected increases in income per capita over the coming decades. Meeting this challenge of agriculture growth will require increased adoption of HYVs and availability of appropriate mix of inputs and expansion of rural infrastructure and marketing facilities. In addition to all these, providing effective and sustainable water management infrastructure will be important to the required growth of crop agriculture. 16. Water Resource Management, Fisheries and Environment. Inland fishery production, which comprises capture and culture fisheries, also performed strongly in late 1990s and in recent years, achieving annual growth rates of nearly 8%. Continued rapid growth in inland fishery production will be highly desirable, given that it is an important source of income and protein for the poor. Capture fishery production is stagnating due to over fishing, loss of flood plain habitat to agriculture and other activities and obstruction of migration routes by flood control structures. Addressing these will require improved management of water control structures, better understanding of fish migration behavior and enhanced conservation activities. Culture fishing production has substantial scope for further increases in water bodies such as ponds, lakes, canals, and rice fields with effective flood management. Promoting access rights of the poor to publicly owned water bodies and wetlands remains a key challenge, given the existing Government system of leasing these out for exploitation through a bidding process. 17. The natural environment has also been under stress. Environmental degradation is quite serious in terms of declining soil fertility and land degradation, loss of biodiversity due to degradation of natural forests, wet lands and coastal environment. Water quality is also affected by intensification of agriculture from increased use of chemical inputs. Given the fact that most rural households depend on continued productivity of soil, water and fisheries resources, careful attention to the conservation and management of the natural environment, should be a key element of integrated water resource management. 18. Water for Household use in Rural and Urban Areas. Water is a basic need and the National Water Policy rightly recognizes this as the first priority in water resource allocation. Rural population is expected to rise from about 104 million now to 110 million in 2025. This means that the pressure for supplying safe drinking water will remain strong, as the demand for quality, along with quantity, will keep on rising. At present, about 98% of the rural population have adequate access to potable water. This is now seriously threatened by the rise of arsenic problem. Shallow hand tubewells are the most common source. Given that about 30% of the

Draft NWMP

5 tubewell is contaminated with arsenic exceeding the countrys standard of 0.05mg/l, effective mitigation measures including the alternative sources of supply (such as rainwater harvesting, dug wells, etc.) need to be promoted in the arsenic affected areas, with operation of effective monitoring mechanisms. 19. Bangladesh has about 550 urban centers, including 64 district towns. The largest cities, Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, and Rajshahi account for almost 50 per cent of the urban population. Excluding these cities, there are just over 100 urban centers with populations above 50,000 containing about 25 per cent of the urban population. The balance of the urban population is located in small towns. Water supply coverage is about 38 per cent in these urban areas. Water supply in the large urban areas of Bangladesh has never been developed in a planned manner. Rather, individuals and companies progressively sink deep tube wells as needed to augment water supplies. The small urban centers are characterized by an almost total lack of piped water supply. Water is supplied mostly by hand tube wells, which is subject to various forms of contamination including arsenic and, where well maintenance is poor, faecal contamination. 20. Urban Land and Water Management. As noted, rapid urbanization is a reality facing Bangladesh. Urban centers play a crucial role in the economy, accounting for nearly 45% of GDP. Dhaka accounts for nearly one-third of the urban population. With expected faster growth of exports and services sectors, cities are expected to play increasingly significant role in the economy in the future. However, the rapid urbanization in Bangladesh is characterized by (i) poor air and water quality; (ii) high incidence of poverty (about 25% of the population live in extreme poverty); (iii) sub-standard housing conditions resulting from high land prices, insecurity of tenure, and lack of loan finance; and (d) limited coverage of piped water supply. 21. Water Problems and the Poor. As noted, half the population in Bangladesh is below poverty line and the poor are more predominant in rural areas (where the percentage of people below poverty line is 53%). The poor in Bangladesh consists of landless, smallholders, smallscale non-farm operation, urban slum dwellers, displaced persons as a result of natural disasters and households headed by disadvantaged women. Poverty in rural Bangladesh is multi-faceted: standard of living are low, health and nutrition are poor, education and health facilities are lacking, too many women and children have been abandoned, and few people have protection or reserves to withstand natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. 22. For the countrys rural people, access to productive resources, particularly water resources, is of fundamental importance to their livelihoods. Water is essential to the countrys main income source, agriculture, and to many other rural activities including inland and coastal fishing, water transportation, water supply and rural industries. The poor in Bangladesh faces two kinds of water related problems: (a) lack of access to water and (b) exposure to water related disasters. In Bangladesh, lack of access to safe drinking water by poor people has reemerged in areas affected by arsenic contamination of groundwater. Similarly, smallholders or the poor farmers having land at the low-lying areas affected by drainage congestion have only limited access to agriculture. Poor farmers are also generally at the tail end of irrigation systems and are often deprived of access to irrigation water. Furthermore, the brunt of the loss and damages caused by floods are borne by the poor, as they are the ones who have the least capacity to respond. The poor are most affected by river erosion and they are also expected to be most severely affected by disasters coming from climate changes. 23. The water management systems that have evolved in the country are diverse and complex. The dominant activity in rural life is agriculture and in particular rice cultivation; where

6 seasonal flooding is a problem, flood protection of agricultural land is desirable. On the other hand, many rural families, particularly the poor, depend for subsistence on the capture fishery, livestock breeding, jute processing, and other economic activities that require abundant water during the monsoon season. In addition, many rural areas depend on the waterways of the country for transport communication links. Rural households need adequate and safe domestic water supplies, even as groundwater is increasingly exploited for irrigation purposes and widespread arsenic contamination must be addressed. Finally, water is a vital resource for the maintenance of the countrys natural ecosystems and bio-diversity. 24. Given the pervasive poverty in Bangladesh, importance of water for the livelihood and welfare of the poor, and diverse and complex implications to different stakeholders, it is of paramount necessity for the country to manage its critical water resources in a strategic, integrated, and participatory manner to sustain economic growth and poverty reduction. Water resource management and development contributes directly to alleviating poverty in 3 major ways, in addition to helping poverty reduction indirectly by promoting economic growth: (i) (ii) (iii) C. Ensuring rural water supply, hygiene promotion and sanitation; Facilitating water for production and sustainable rural livelihoods, including pro-poor irrigation and ecosystem management; and Prevention and mitigation of water related disasters in rural areas. Regional Context

25. The four countries in the eastern South Asia (Bantladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) and China share three large international rivers: the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. The area drained by these rivers altogether is the 12th largest in the world (1.48 million km2), and has the fourth largest discharge of water with the highest quantity of sediment transport. Consequently there are 57 transboundary rivers that cross the border between India and Bangladesh. With the basins runoff heavily concentrated in the monsoon season, there has been an increasingly severe competition on the use of the dry season flows in particular in the Ganges River over the past several decades. This is mainly associated with the increased abstraction of water in the upstream regions of the basin in India. As a result, the dry season flows of the Ganges entering into Bangladesh have reduced substantially, and significant environmental changes have been reported in its Southwest region that includes the Sundarbans. 26. India and Bangladesh has attempted to cope with this particular issue through a series of bilateral water sharing agreements since 1977, following the construction of the Farakka Barrage by India in 1975 at 17 km upstream of the border. The original agreement covered 5year period. It was then followed by two short-term arrangements, but there was no agreement between 1988 and 1996, when the latest agreement, the 1996 Treaty on Sharing of the Ganges Water was reached. However, although this treaty stipulates the water sharing arrangements of the Ganges in the 30-year period up to 2026, it does not provide a long-term guaranteed minimum flow to Bangladesh, as the flow of water in the Ganges is subject to abstractions by upstream Indian states, which may further intensify in the event of rapid economic growth there. There is no water sharing agreements for other trans-boundary rivers. As a data sharing arrangement for effective flood forecasting and warning, the Government of India provides flow data of over 10 transboundary rivers gauged at their near-border stations when the water level approaches to the danger levels. The Joint River Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources deals with the transboundary water issues for Bangladesh.


27. This section reviews the evolving role of the government over the years in the area now forming Bangladesh in 3 critical areas: (i) historical perspective and formulating water sector policies and plans; (ii) water sector institutions; (iii) water sector investments; and (iv) role and experience of external funding agencies. A. Historical Perspective, and Formulating Water Sector Policy and Plans

28. Zamindar System. Because of importance of water for the welfare and prosperity of people, various governments (central, provincial and local) have had taken a role in water resource management in the Indian-subcontinent. There was a time when Zamindars (landlords) had a role in building and maintaining water related infrastructure - - a role that the Zamindar used to perform with taxes collected from beneficiaries. Even in British India, local bodies (such as district and union boards) were given some role in water. The first step in establishing central or provincial government role was taken in 1930s, when the Department of Public Health Engineering was established to provide safe drinking water. The Zamindar system was abolished in 1952. Then in 1954 and 1955 two severe floods occurred. Also, during the 1950s, local government bodies lost their effectiveness and were, in any case, unable to cope with the magnitude of the flooding. 29. 1956 UN Technical Mission. A United Nations Technical Mission (Krug Mission) was invited to Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1956 to study the flood problems. This resulted in the creation, in 1959, of the then East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority, which also absorbed the provincial irrigation department. Other recommendations of the Mission included: examine the feasibility of embankments along the major rivers; implement smaller flood control, drainage, and irrigation projects; examine the feasibility of a barrage on the Teesta River; raise homestead platforms in flood affected areas; implement zoning to restrict construction of economic infrastructure where flood control cannot be ensured; and work with India and other riparian countries to establish flood forecasting in the common rivers. 30. Hardin and Thijsse Missions. In 1963, General Hardin (Ex-Chairman, Mississippi River Commission) reviewed water resource development in the country, and for the most part, his conclusions were in line with the Krug Missions report. However, he also specifically proposed channel improvements and confinement of river flows within embankments, as well as regulators in embankments to release water when flood flows exceeded design limits. The following year, Prof. J. Thijsse of the Netherlands examined the flood problem. He suggested that the existing distributaries of the main river system should be maintained as long as possible, and recommended channel improvements and embankments as a means of reducing flood hazard. However, he cautioned against confining unstable rivers between embankments without thorough study. 31. 1964 Master Plan. The first major step in water plan formulation was the preparation of the 1964 Master Plan, which focused predominantly on flood control for agriculture and included a portfolio of 58 large projects including 3 barrages on major rivers. Some of the big projects included in the plan were implemented by mid 1980s. It became, however, evident by then that the design of these projects had largely overlooked their impact on fisheries, navigation, salinity and the ecosystem as a whole. The plan did contribute toward protecting the coastal zone from tidally induced flooding. The 1964 plan over-estimated the public sector capability and over emphasized large sector surface water interventions. It largely overlooked the countrys ground water resources, which later proved to be the key to rapid expansion of irrigation.

8 32. 1972 World Bank Study. In 1972, the World Bank helped in the preparation of a land and water sector study that emphasized integrated development of land and water resources with special focus on small scale (minor) irrigation. Also, during this time, integrated rural development, based on Comilla experiment, peaked. In this program, planning at the level of thana (now called upazila) and implementation of water resource management project were implemented. Under this program, district and thana plan books, which were initiated in late 1960s were further developed books that aimed at providing integrated plans for flood control, drainage, irrigation, transportation and communication infrastructure at the thana and district levels. In practice, this integrated approach did not go very far for various reasons, of which bureaucratization of the program was the prime factor. During this period, private sector irrigation using shallow tube-wells expanded in a big way. 33. National Water Plan in 1980s. In 1983/84, work began on a National Water Plan, whose objective was to consolidate the existing information base, to rationalize ongoing and planned activities and to guide future investment in the future. Master Plan Organization under the Ministry of Water Resources completed the first phase of the work in 1986 and it provided an assessment of water resources and future demand by different users. This time the plan recognized the weak performance of existing flood control drainage infrastructure and emphasized the groundwater use for agriculture. The government of the time, however, did not accept the plan, because it was heavily oriented toward engineering projects and did not pay enough attention to inter-sectoral and environmental needs. Phase II, started in 1987, developed planning models, recommended strategies and programmes, presented a draft water law, and proposed means to institutionalize the process of long-term water management and planning. However, the Plan focused too narrowly on structural measures for water development for agriculture, restricted its institutional focus on the Bangladesh Water Development Board, and limited its planning horizon to about 20 years. Events related to the unprecedented flooding of 1987 and 1988 upstaged this Plan (which was completed in 1991). 34. Flood Action Plan. The unprecedented floods of 1987 and 1988 had a lasting impact on the thinking and approach to floods. The immediate response to the 1987 and 1988 floods was the preparation of a series of studies variously supported by UNDP, France, USA, China and Japan. The World Bank coordinated the activities of these donors to prepare a Flood Action Plan consisting of 26 studies and pilot projects. The FAP program and process gradually produced a consensus on the following. The FAP also produced guidelines for peoples participation in water sector investments and guidelines for undertaking environmental assessments. (i) (ii) (iii) The objective of water resources management should be flood management and not flood control; More attention should be given to social dimensions participation of beneficiaries is a key; and Environmental consideration must be integrated into water resource management.

35. Post Flood Action Plan. At the end of the FAP in 1995, Bangladesh, assisted by the World Bank, produced the first long-term strategy for the water sector called the Bangladesh Water and Flood Management Strategy (BWFMS). The strategy envisaged the formulation of a National Water Policy (NWP) to provide guidelines for managing the water resources of the country in a comprehensive, integrated and equitable manner. It also envisaged the preparation of a National Water Management Plan (NWMP) that would include national, regional and basic programs with overall assessment of water supply and demand in the country. The Government acted promptly to implement BWFMS and strengthened the WARPO and gave it a new

9 mandate and the task of formulating NWMP that would include national, regional and basin programs with overall assessment of water supply and demand in the country. 36. Reforms in late 1990s. A milestone in formulating policy and planning for the water sector was the adoption of the NWP in 1999. This was done after extensive consultation with stakeholders, related sector agencies, NGOs, the civil society and major donors. The NWP examined all water related issues of the country embracing multiple sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, environment, forestry, land, industry navigation etc. and provided guidelines for development, utilization and management of water in an integrated manner. The NWP also defined major institutional reform and the role of the government (including the decentralization and transfer of water resources management schemes), the private sector and the civil society in the management of water. The NWP has called for accelerating the development of sustainable public and private water delivery systems with appropriate legal and financial measures and incentives including formulation of water rights and water pricing. 37. As directed by the NWP, the Government revised its earlier formulation of the Guidelines for Peoples Participation (GPP) and replaced it with a Guideline for Participatory Water Management (GPWM). The guidelines lay down the mechanism for establishment and working of beneficiary organizations like water management associations (WMAs) and their linkages with state institutions. 38. In line with NWP, a National Water Management Plan (NWMP) has been prepared to provide a framework guiding principles for future approaches and investments for water resources management in the short- to long-term. The principal feature of the NWMP is its focus on integrated water resource management. The NWMP was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Water Resource Council in February 2002 and discussed but not formally approved by the Water Resources Council in October 2002. Although not formally approved, the elements of NWMP have been incorporated in the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (IPRSP). 39. The Government policies for water supply and sanitation have evolved over several years. The National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation, published in 1998, among other things defines the requirements for sharing the capital cost of water supplies and promotes the concept of several delivery process whose focal position will be the user communities. B. Water Sector Institutions

40. Institutions and the way they are set up would determine the long-term ability to manage water resources. Water policies and plans give the countrys priorities and indicate how those priorities could be achieved, but the institutions are the tools to realize them. 41. Legal and Regulatory Framework. Water sector institutions, like other sectoral institutions, must have a legal and regulatory framework under which they will operate. The legal and regulatory framework generally has to specify the following: the rights, powers, and duties of individual users and the government with respect to water; ancillary power over land; registration and leaving of right to water and administration structure to execute laws and regulations. Existing laws and regulations in Bangladesh do not cover all these area. Existing laws and regulation relating to water are summarized below: 1876 The Irrigation Act

10 1882 Transfer of Property Act 1908 Registration Act 1950 The State Acquisition and Tenancy Act 1952 Embankment and Drainage Act 1958 Inland Water Transport Authority Ordinance 1982 The Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property Ordinance 1983 Irrigation Water Rate Ordinance 1984 Cooperative Ordinance 1985 Ground Water Management Ordinance 1990 Land Management Manual 1992 Water Resources Planning Act 1996 Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Act 1998 Local Government (Upazila parishad) Act 2000 Bangladesh Water Board Act 42. The legislation spans a period more than 100 years and there is clearly some overlap and redundancy. The National Water Code under preparation will take care of the problems of overlapping, outdatedness and redundancy of some of the laws listed above and will rationalize the legislative framework governing the water sector. 43. National Institutions. There are basically four types of public sector organizations in connection with water: (i) policy and planning, (ii) research and data management, (iii) development, service delivery and its regulation. Among these, the National Water Resources Council (NWRC) is the water sector apex body chaired by the Prime Minister, and is the highest authority for formulating water policy and ensuring inter-agency coordination. NWRC is supported by an Executive Committee to ensure prompt action on routine matters, and to ensure that issues requiring attention of the full Council are properly handled. The Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) was established under the Ministry of Water Resources as the secretariat to the NWRC and serves as multi-disciplinary water management planning organization. This organization is to take account of the water management needs of all users and to develop and maintain an information base to facilitate planning for water resource development. 44. Regulatory agencies include the Joint Rivers Commission and the Department of Environment. The Joint Rivers Commission was set up under the Ministry of Water Resources to work with co-riparian countries in resolving issues related to trans-boundary water resources. The Department of Environment has widespread and unilateral powers to set and enforce environmental standards. 45. Key development project implementation agencies of water management investments are the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), responsible for projects exceeding 1000 ha in size, and the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) responsible for projects smaller than this. However, other agencies do construct infrastructure that affects the availability and/or the distribution of water. Local government has historically had a marginal role in the process of implementing water management investments, though it is forecast that this role will become more dominant in accordance with the directives of the National Water Policy. Table 1 lists existing water organization and their key activities.

11 Table 1. Water Sector Organizations: Their Current Functions and Major Issues/problems Organization
National Water Council

Current functions
Approving national water policies

Major issues/problems
Too few meetings and inadequate service support from the Water Ministry Too much attention to routine and process matters; too little attention to strategic direction Limited physical resources and staff capacity to perform required functions

Planning Commission

Water Resource Planning Organization (WARPO)

Geographical Information System Unit Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB)

River Research Institute (under BWDB) Institute of Water Modeling (under BWDB)

Establishing multisector investment priorities; recommending allocation of resources Water policy formulation; National water planning; monitoring; formulation of water legislation and regulations; intersectoral coordination of water plans; central data system Collecting hydrologic, topographic, soil, and flood regime data Project planning and implementation; flood control and watershed management; salinity control; maintaining water channels for transportation; regulating water channels Physical modeling; river-training studies Mathematical river, flood management, irrigation system, national and regional, and environmental modeling; and survey and data collection; developing a national hydrological data base Collecting and disseminating information Planning, designing, and implementing rural infrastructure development projects; Thana/Union drainage and embankment planning, irrigation planning, land and water use planning; small-scale water schemes, canal digging programs, town protection schemes Constructing and maintaining primary and secondary roads

Support for continued existence after Flood Action Plan Weak implementation, and operations and maintenance capability; too large, centralized and too heavily oriented toward engineering Physical modeling for, among others, surface and ground water; inadequate funding Support for continued existence after Flood Action Plan

Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (under BWDB) Local Government Engineering Department (LGED)

Lacks proper coordination and linkage with the national Data collection and monitory Units Little or no coordination with Bangladesh Water Development Board and other agencies; inadequate authority for enforcing water regulations

Roads and Highways Department (RHD)

Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) Water Supply and Sewerage Authorities (WASA)

Rural and urban water supply and sanitation Construction and upkeep of potable water supply, sewerage and storm drainage in major cities.

Road networks intervening with water courses and affecting hydrological regime; little or no coordination with Bangladesh Water Development Board and other agencies Little or no coordination with BWDB and other agencies; inadequate enforcement of water regulations Lack of autonomy from Government control and financial dependency

12 Organization
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority

Current functions
Disseminating information on agricultural technology, including water and land use Operating low-lift pumps and tubewells; harnessing hill streams; controlling salinity; distributing water for irrigation River conservancy work, including river training for navigational and meteorological information, including river charts; hydrographic survey; programming for dredging and reviving dead or dying water bodies; developing, maintaining, and operating inland river ports; developing rural water transport Monitoring pollution in rivers and underground and drinking water; working with other water agencies to develop environmental protection measures; collecting and analyzing environmental data; monitoring and analyzing surface water for pesticides and heavy metals; analyzing wastewater samples for different agencies; helping agencies prepare environmental impact assessments

Major issues/problems
Little or no coordination with Bangladesh Water Development Board and other agencies Little or no coordination with water sector agencies; inadequate responsibility for enforcement of water regulations Inadequate coordination with water sector agencies; inadequate authority for enforcement of water regulations

Department of Environment

Insufficient coordination with other water sector agencies; inadequate enforcement of water regulations


Water Resource Management in Bangladesh: Steps Towards a New National Water Plan, World Bank, March 1998.

46. Local Government Institutions. Local Government Institutions have a key role in schemes of local development including water resource management schemes at the local level. As noted, National Water Policy requires that public water resource management schemes with command areas upto 1000 ha will be gradually made over to local and community organizations and the local governments will own them. A review of the status of the local government institutions (LGIs) is therefore important for an understanding of what role LGIs can plan in water resource management. In rural areas, local government system came into operation from time to time at four different levels village, union, upazila and zila. Unfortunately some sort of local government system exists (or is going to function soon) only at two levels village and union. The issues of development of local government institutions in rural areas are discussed later. 47. Urban centers consist of four city corporations and 206 Pouroshavas. Two biggest City Corporations are supported by Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASAs), which are corporate bodies responsible for provision and upkeep of potable water supply, sewerage and storm drainage. The WASAs can levy tariffs and fees at rates approved by the Government. A Pouroshava is defined as town in which three-quarters of adult population have their main job in non-agriculture areas. Each Pouroshava is responsible for its own water supply, sewerage and storm drainage and for charging and collecting fees. They are assisted by the DPHE who are responsible for planning, design and construction of schemes that are handed over to

13 Pourashova on completion. Municipal Corporations and Pourashavas can play a significant role in O&M of flood protection embankment project that safeguard the towns and cities. 48. LGED grew from a rural works program that started in the early 1960s. Its initial role was to provide technical support to government bodies. But in the absence of well-functioning local government system, it filled in the vacuum and became an executing agency for rural development projects, which it implemented with participation from local people. Currently it is implementing several rural development projects, many of which are donor financed. In regard to water resource management project, LGED draws its mandate from Upazila Parishad Act, which makes LGED responsible for ensuring the best possible use of surface water, for adoption and implementation of minor irrigation project in line with government directions. Current LGED is the implementing agency of ADB financed Small Scale Water Resource Development Sector Project (SSWRDSP), of which first phase covered the western half of the country and the second phase of the project will cover the whole country. C. 1. Investments in Water Resources Management Overview

49. Table 2 presents public investment allocation for major sub-sectors in water. The table clearly shows that water resource management got the major share of public investment. Public investment in water resource management has primarily focused on mitigating the negative effect of excessive annual fresh water floods in inland areas and tidal salt-water intrusion in coastal areas. Since 1960s, this activity has expanded with the proliferation of FCDI projects by WAPDA and then its successor in the water sector, BWDB. Table 3 presents the total allocation and expenditure in such project since 1991-92. Table 1 does not show any significant decline in overall allocation to water resource management in current taka term, but a decline will be evident if expenditures are estimated in constant term. Resources for BWDB have definitely declined since 1998-99. As a result of past investment by BWDB, there are today nearly 600 schemes with various combinations of flood control, drainage, irrigation and salt water intrusion mitigation objectives, owned and operated by BWDB covering a total areas of about 6 million ha, almost 60% of the net cropped area of the country. Public investment in these schemes (projects) has been huge (about $ 3.4 billion up to year 2002). Table 2. Water Sector Investment by Main Sectors (Tk. Million)
Sector Fisheries Water Resources (FCD, Irrigation, etc.) Water Supply & Sanitation Inland Water Transport 94-95 1,212 10,811 3,989 139 95-96 1,121 10,480 2,915 234 96-97 760 11,107 2,797 158 97-98 290 10,410 5,230 86 98-99 475 7,358 3,859 130 99-00 855 7,099 3,771 313 00-01 779 9,916 4,348 60

Source: NWMP

Table 3. Allocation and Expenditure of BWDB projects since 1991-92 (Tk. million) ($ Million in parenthesis)
Year 1991-92 Allocation Total 7,532.9 (1,974.5) Project Aid 5,454.7 (1,429.8) Expenditure Total Project Aid 5,555.9 3,611.8 (1,456.3) (946.7) Total expenditure/ allocation 74% Aid expenditure/ allocation 66%

Allocation Total 7,899.7 (201.83) 6,098.7 (1,524.6) 7,013.7 (1,744.7) 7,266.0 (1,779.1) 9,020.1 (2,112.4) 9,440.3 (2,076.6) 11,427.8 (2,377.8) 10,945.2 (2,175.5) 9,740.4 (1,805.1) 7,863.0 (1,369.1) Expenditure Total Project Aid 6,776.0 4,515.4 (1,731.2) (1,153.6) 5,260.0 3,030.0 (1,315.0) (757.5) 6,268.3 3,292.2 (1,559.2) (818.9) 5,344.0 2,670.9 1,308.5) (653.9) 7,863.5 4,595.7 (1,841.5) (1,076.2) 8,748.4 5,587.5 (1,924.4) (1,229.1) 8,444.5 4,606.4 (1,757.0) (958.4) 9,298.1 4,348.0 (1,848.1) (864.2) 5,240.9 1,960.9 (971.2) (363.4) 6,804.7 1,897.0 (1,184.8) (330.3) Total expenditure/ allocation 85% 86% 89% 73% 87% 92% 73% 85% 59% 87% Aid expenditure/ allocation 86% 87% 86% 59% 82% 95% 73% 73% 44% 75%

Year 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02

Project Aid 5,269.5 (1,346.3) 3,476.0 (869.0) 3,841.4 (955.5) 4,511.0 (1,104.5) 5,637.3 (1,320.2) 5,869.8 (1,291.2) 7,322.4 (1,523.6) 5,935.8 (1,179.8) 4,412.4 (817.7) 2,524.3 (439.5)

Source: BWDB

50. The schemes (projects) range in size from less than 1,000 ha to more than 15,000 ha. By number, half the schemes are classified as medium sized (1,000-5,000 ha), but large schemes account for more than 60% of the total area, each more than 15,000 ha. Only 20% of the schemes include infrastructure for surface irrigation and actual use of the irrigation has been declining since 1950s, as private sector ground water irrigation rapidly expanded. As a result, today only 8% of irrigated land in Bangladesh is served by irrigation schemes. There have been some investments significantly only from early 1990s, in other areas of water resource management riverbank erosion mitigation, restoration of river (Gorai) and flood proofing. 51. The Government and external funding agencies have invested in improving water services in rural and urban areas. Considerable progress has been made, as noted earlier, in the provision of potable water supplies in towns and rural areas in the 1990s, mostly through private sector investments. However, as noted earlier, arsenic contamination of ground water has become a serious health threat being assisted by several external funding agencies. 2. Impacts of Key Interventions Flood Control and Drainage Schemes

52. The overall impact of FCD projects promoted under public investment does not seem to be unambiguously positive. At best, the results are diverse, partly because of the diversity of conditions in FCD project areas. Many projects are quite complex in hydrological terms. There have been a few evaluation studies (e.g. Flood Action Plan study No. 12 and evaluation study for the System Rehabilitation Project), which have highlighted some problems and derived some lessons. The main design shortcoming relates to drainage. Many projects suffer from drainage congestion due to the absence of an adequate drainage network in the project design. Some projects were planned without undertaking essential regional assessment of hydrology.

15 53. Success was mostly evident with protection against early flooding, whereas much less was evident with protection against salinity exclusion, reduction of monsoon flood depths, and surface water irrigation (which is dominated by expansion of tubewell irrigation). The important positive impact in agricultural output from FCDI project was on Kharif cropping patterns, with changes from broadcast aus/aman to locally transplanted aman and transplanted HYV aman. Cropping intensity rarely increased as a result of FCDI, but the yield level of paddy increased as a result of the shift to higher yielding varieties. Boro expansion occurred where protection from early flash floods or irrigation was provided. 54. The evaluation studies thus indicated that economic returns have been mixed at best, due mainly to the weak institutions to achieve and sustain the intended benefits. Of the 17 projects evaluated under FAP12, nine were found economically viable and eight were not viable. Logically one would expect a reasonable correlation between percentage increase in aman production and percentage increase in FCD coverage. The increase in yield would be expected to come from a combination of a shift to more productive paddy types and the reduction of crop losses from flooding. In fact a study undertaken by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 1998 found very little correlation (with correlation coefficient of only 0.07) between percentage increase in aman production and percentage increase in FCD coverage. A similarly low correlation was found between FCD coverage and HYV adoption. This study raises questions about overall agricultural impact of FCD investment. 55. Impacts on fisheries have been usually strongly negative. Overall social impacts have been positive, though the distribution of benefit has not been even. Capture fishermen and boatmen were generally the greatest losers whereas farmers, especially the large farmers, were the greatest gainers. Other adverse impact has been increased social tensions and conflicts and dissatisfaction land acquisition of land required for FCD infrastructure. The polders and sluices have adversely affected the waterways, but the embankments serve as roads. 56. The results of smaller projects (covering 1000 ha or below) have been somewhat better. These projects are executed by LGED with ADB assistance using a participatory approach, which has now been mandated for all water resource management projects. One positive feature of small-scale projects has been that they can be undertaken by identifying intervention areas having minimum social and environmental impacts and with closer interaction with the stakeholders. Taking a demand-driven approach with an arrangement to ensure sufficient institutional development prior to initiating physical works, initial institutional and physical progress has been good and major delays have not occurred, although it is too early to make a judgment on their sustainability and impacts. D. 1. Support by External Funding Agencies Overall Trend and Key Lessons

57. Total external assistance to the water sector in Bangladesh until now amounts to nearly $3 billion coming from both multilateral and bilateral donors. Since 1971 World Bank has committed about 1 billion dollar to the water sector. ADB has provided nearly $700 million since 1975. Other multilateral sources of financing include IFAD, the European Union, and the UNDP. The Government of Netherlands has been a major bilateral donor contributing more than $200 million (Appendix 2). 58. The trend in external assistance to the water sector shifted from medium and large FCI(I) projects in the 1970s and early 1980s to smaller projects and rehabilitation of existing

16 systems in the late 1980s and early 1990s. More recently, there has been a further shift in emphasis to ensure stakeholder participation and improvement of operation and maintenance (O&M). There has been a trend among the donors to focus their assistance more sharply by reducing the number of sectors and sub sectors in which they are involved. While selection principles vary, the result is a changing landscape of support to investments in water resource management. Specifically, the Government of the Netherlands has increased its emphasis on the water resources sector while the Government of Canada has reduced its involvement. The World Bank has not approved any new water project since 1995. As indicated in Table 4, overall assistance by external funding agencies to the sector has been declining since 1995. The leading factor contributing to this declining trend is the realization that major reforms are needed in the water sector institutions and the approach to water resource management, especially to ensure adequate O&M of the completed infrastructure. Table 4. Water Sector Assistance by External Funding Agencies (Million US$/year)
Annual Average
Source: BWDB

71-75 20

76-80 80

81-85 150

86-90 150

91-95 125

96-00 60

01-02 35

59. Major lessons learned from assistance by external funding agencies include the following. (i) There is a need to develop a coordinated and integrated approach to water resource management after a careful review of the lessons learned from past; water sector project and programs. Here the formal adoption and implementation of just completed NWMP is urgently called for. There is a need to pursue much more vigorously the program of institutional reforms to achieve the objectives of sustainability of the project and greater involvement of and accountability to the beneficiaries in management of project; There is a need for revisiting the investment design and programs for water resource management. The experience of past FCDI projects indicates that further large irrigation development in Bangladesh is not necessarily opportune. However, rehabilitation of existing systems would provide high returns; Operation and maintenance of completed infrastructure continues to be a key challenge, for which a viable approach has to be designed; and The approach to management of water project has to change. Beneficiary participation in planning and management of water project, formally linking with local governments, creating checks and balances to address governance problems, water resource management directly contributing to poverty alleviation are some of the directions of change desired in the management approach. ADB Assistance a. Overview



(iv) (v)


60. ADB has been a major donor in the water sector, it has so far provided 19 loans with a value of almost $700 million to water management investment in Bangladesh. In recent years ADB has pioneered or led in some areas such as strengthening irrigation water management associations and infrastructure multi sectoral approach in Loan No.1399: Command Area Development projects focusing on large-scale FCDI schemes, and in Loan No. 1381: Small-

17 scale Water Resource Development Sector Project (SSWRDSP) and its successor Loan No.1831: Second SSWRDSP. The SSWRDSP has also simplified the implementation procedure by reducing number of implemented agencies to be dealt in implementing project, in which LGED is the only executive agency with other agencies providing services through MOUs. ADB has also initiated Loan No.1941: Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project to pilot test and establish cost-effective measures to mitigate the impacts of river erosion through low-cost technologies and non-structural measures while strengthening the central and local organizations. 61. Regarding the impacts of ADB assistance, according to the seven available Project Completion Report and Project Audit Reports, four projects were considered successful, 8 and three were considered partly successful 9 in terms of reaching the project objectives. (See Appendix 3 for summary of post-evaluation.) All investments resulted in increased agricultural production, though in all cases, increases were less than anticipated at appraisal. The extent to which on-going system maintenance was undertaken governed the sustainability of these production increases. However, in three of the investments, the uncertainty was increased because of erosion and potential for erosion of infrastructure from adjacent major rivers. 62. Institutional aspects (including beneficiary participation, executing and supporting agencies) were not incorporated to any great extent in the early investments. This changed over the course of time with a corresponding improvement in the quality and sustainability of investment impacts. In other words, virtually all of the early financial support was directed at physical infrastructure, which provided some level of, not necessarily sustainable, production increase. By extension, it could be argued that, despite increased levels of institutional support incorporated into recent investments, even higher levels of such support are warranted. 63. Based on the experience of the design of institutionally complicated projects in the 1970s, ADB improved the implementability of projects by reducing the number of primary agencies involved. In part, this reduced time over-runs and contributed to the success of the later investments. Environmental impacts of the investments were evaluated as generally either benign or positive. However, given that three of the early projects substantially altered flood plain regimes, it is probable that negative impacts on open-water capture fisheries were underreported. Better data acquisition and more careful analysis were incorporated into later projects. b. Lessons Learned

64. Over the course of the past two decades, the basic lessons learned have not changed substantially. What has happened is that ADB has learned, through experience, how to incorporate more effective responses to these lessons, which are broadly categorized into (i) beneficiary participation; (ii) environment; (iii) planning; (iv) implementation; (v) O&M; and (vi) management. 65. Beneficiary Participation. That farmer organizations and beneficiaries have a crucial role to play in water resources management was identified as an important lesson from Loan No 467-BAN(SF): Tube Well Project approved in 1980. The response, incorporated with some success in the Second Bhola Irrigation Project (1992), was to involve BRDB in establishing
8 9

Including Loan No.381 Low-lift Pump Maintenance Project; Loan No.593 Bhola Irrigation Project; and Loan No.671 Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation Rehabilitation Project; and Loan No.1159 Second Bhora Irrigation Project. Including Loan No. 293 Serajgonj Integrated Rural Development Project; Loan No.333 Meghna-Dhonagoda Irrigation Project; and Loan No.378 Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Project.

18 farmer organizations. Subsequently, BRDBs mandate changed to working only with landless as did their commitment to providing longer-term support of these groups. It was then recognized that the institutional framework also needed to be addressed to improve the performance of agricultural projects. The underlying cause was cited as a development approach emphasizing Government ownership and management of facilities. It was further recognized that the prerequisites to achieving meaningful beneficiary participation included: (i) programming that allowed sufficient time and resources to establish viable local organizations, (ii) the utility of providing a legal status for these organizations, and (iii) the need to ensure that there is a clear and well-defined process in place at all stages of project development to ensure the participation of beneficiaries. An important related lesson that emerged is the need for Local Government to fulfill its mandated role in establishing, operating, and maintaining water management infrastructure. 66. Current investments provide for programming schedules that allow time for local water management institutions to mature. In addition, various means to increase the role of Local Government are being tested. 10 This role clearly needs to include conflict resolution since stakeholder interests are diverse and can be conflicting. At the same time, interventions need to be selected with a minimum of social conflict. The next generation of investments in water resources management will need to consider that if bottom-up or participatory planning is truly practiced, it will be necessary to view the investments as an integral part of the local environment. This means that the linkages between water management (for agriculture and fisheries), transport, water supply, sanitation infrastructure as well as homesteads needs to be addressed in a total development landscape. 67. Environment. The main lessons learned, by the early 90s, with respect to addressing environmental concerns are to incorporate environmental planning during project conception to avoid and minimize adverse impacts right from the start. Equally important is an environmental monitoring program during and after implementation to allow early identification if mitigation measures fail or unforeseen impacts occur. Accordingly, environmental assessments are being carried out in line with the regulations of the Government, and guidelines of ADB. In the interests of transparency, access to the information has been made public. In addition, a strong emphasis has been placed on an environmental monitoring program, particularly with respect to capture fisheries. The latter because flood control projects often reduce the capture fishery, directly affecting the poorest segments of society since they lose access to a common property resource. 68. Planning. The experience of the Ganges-Kobadak Project is that planning further large irrigation developments in Bangladesh is not necessarily opportune but that rehabilitation of existing systems provides potentially large economic returns. Planning projects along the major rivers needs to take account of the need for, usually costly, protection works, which affects the sustainability and thus the viability of the investment. The preparation of rehabilitation projects must be as rapid as possible and limited to restoring infrastructure to pre-flood levels. These lessons are being incorporated in the design of new investments. 69. Implementation. A key lesson with respect to implementation, which is repeated as an outcome of a review of a number of projects is that construction supervision and quality control

Within the Loan No.1381 Small-Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project , extensive training was provided to the members of the Union Parishad Council focused on their rights and responsibilities vis--vis water and natural resource management based on the mandate as described in the Local Government Ordinance.

19 requires rigorous attention. This lesson reflects an understanding that shoddy construction affects maintenance requirements and, more importantly, discourages both the involvement of beneficiaries and, in those instances where appropriate, the transfer of ownership to the beneficiaries. It should also be recognized that poor construction is often not simply inadequate knowledge of proper construction practices but the result of corruption. Despite having documented this as a lesson learned, investment projects are still designed without building in adequate oversight of the construction process. 70. O&M. O&M of completed infrastructure continues to present challenges. In this regard the lessons learned are: (i) operation and maintenance related activities need to be initiated early in the project cycle, (ii) beneficiaries need to be fully involved and provided with training on operating and maintaining systems, (iii) the capacity of the implementing agency to fulfill operation and maintenance requirements needs to be factored into project design, (iv) where contributions for operation and maintenance are collected from beneficiaries as part of the project design, they need to be collected prior to the commitment to proceed to implementation, and (v) cost recovery would be facilitated by providing a level of service for which farmers are willing to pay. 71. All are important and have been incorporated into subsequent project designs. However, they do not adequately address the institutional focus on new development projects rather than on improved operation and maintenance of existing facilities. A recent project preparation document, deals with this more directly in mandating that as part of the implementation arrangements, procedures be agreed to that result in the executing agency supervising completed schemes through sound annual technical, social, and financial audits. Establishing long-term management information on the operational status of projects, possibly linked to subsequent investments, should be considered a sound initial step towards better maintenance practices. 72. Management. Lessons related to management of water sector interventions are: (i) the importance of well established management information systems both during project implementation and during the post-project life, (ii) that coordinated support from various government agencies is workable but arrangements need to be clearly defined during the project design stage, (iii) the commitment of the executing agencies to the poverty agenda needs to be strengthened, and (iv) with regards to flood damage rehabilitation, projects need to be prepared as rapidly as possible and disbursement arrangements should be simple. 73. Many of these lessons have been incorporated in recent project designs. However, more work is needed on establishing effective means to increase the commitment of executing agencies to the poverty agenda. In water resources investments the poverty agenda is undermined through (i) circumventing a participatory planning and design process, (ii) failure to establish sound local institutions to provide sustainable management of the infrastructure, (iii) constructing shoddy infrastructure, and (iv) corruption. These are all fundamentally driven by the construction activities since this is mainly where financial resources are allocated. So, in addition to promoting ADBs (and Governments) interest in the poverty agenda, the analysis again points to the need to program sufficient time for establishing institutions, and the need for effective monitoring of the construction process itself.

20 III. A. NATIONAL GOALS, POLICIES, AND PLANS Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy

74. The Government has completed A National Strategy for Economic Growth, Poverty Reduction and Social Development (NS-EGPRSD, or interim poverty reduction strategy, i.e., IPRSP). The I-PRSP sets out a medium-term macro-economic framework, supported by public resource provision to achieve the desired growth targets. It visualizes that by 2015 the country will achieve the following major targets: (i) reduce the number of poor by 50% (compared with the level in 1990 that was 59%); (ii) attain universal primary education; (iii) eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education; (iv) reduce infant and under-five mortality rates by 65%; (v) reduce the proportion of malnourished by 50% and eliminate gender disparity in malnutrition; and (vi) reduce maternal mortality rate by 75%. 75. The strategic pillars of the I-PRSP include (i) pro-poor economic growth to increase income and employment of the poor; (ii) human development to raise the capabilities of the poor through education, health, nutrition, skills training and social interventions; (iii) womens advancement and the closing of gender gaps; (iv) social protection to the poor against income/consumption shocks and vulnerabilities to disasters through targeted efforts; and (v) participatory governance to involve the poor in development processes. In promoting these strategic thrusts, the I-PRSP emphasizes the accelerated growth in rural areas where most of the poor people live, and recognizes the importance of improved water resources management to this end as well as essential means to cope with natural disasters, 11 although a critical requirement of integrated land and water development in urban areas to promote rapid urban development and urban poverty reduction is less emphasized. The I-PRSP is forming the core of the Governments Three-year Rolling Plan providing the basis for the annual budget. B. National Water Policy and Related Policies

76. National Water Policy. The Government adopted in January 1999 the National Water Policy (NWP) that set out a comprehensive policy framework for the water resources sector, defining the sector policy objectives and laying out broad guidelines and institutional framework to achieve those objectives. In brief, these objectives are to (i) address issues related to surface and groundwater and their management in an efficient and equitable manner; (ii) ensure the availability of water in due recognition of the needs of the poor and vulnerable people; (iii) develop sustainable public and private water delivery systems with appropriate legal and financial measures and inceptives including water rights and pricing; (iv) bring institutional changes to decentralize the management; (v) develop a legal and regulatory environment for decentralization, environmental management, and sound investment climate for the private sector; and (vi) build knowledge and capacities to design water management plans in a holistic and participatory manner. 77. The NWP then elaborates the roles and responsibilities of various sector institutions involved in water resources planning and management, and spells out administrative, economic,

I-PRSE recognized the need for (i) promoting rational management and optimal use of water resources (ii) improving the quality of life by ensuring equitable, safe and reliable access to water for production, health and hygene; and (iii) ensure availability of clean water in sufficient quantities for multipurpose use and reservation of the aquatic and water dependent eco-systems. Specific programs cited for BWDB include (i) saving properties and lives by controlling river erosion, monsoon flooding and saline water intrusion; (ii) improved irrigation and drainage congestion and mitigating drought through re-excavation of khals and canals; (iii) rationalization of existing projects while promoting stakeholder participation and multi-purpose use of flood embankments.

21 financial, environmental and social guidelines that will be followed in achieving the stated objectives. Key institutional aspects having relevance to sector operations include the following: (i) Planning and management of water resources is undertaken with comprehensive and integrated analysis within the context of hydrological regions. WARPO will prepare a NWMP addressing the issues in each region and the whole country for the short to long runs. Sector agencies and local bodies will prepare and implement subregional and local water management plans in conformance with NWMP. 12 The local government will be developed as the principal agencies for coordinating the process of planning, design, implementation, and O&M of publicly funded surface water resources schemes, with participation of all stakeholders. With declaration of state ownership of water, the Government reserves the rights to allocate water. Rules of water allocation will be (a) developed for in-stream needs, off-stream withdrawal, and groundwater recharge and abstraction, and will be (b) exercised in water identified water scarcity zones on the basis of specified priorities including the use of shallow groundwater aquifers. The management of public water schemes with command area up to 5,000 ha will be gradually made over to local and community organizations and their O&M will be financed through local resources. Larger schemes will be placed under private management, or joint management by the implementing agency along with local government and community organizations. Regarding sector institutions, there should be separation of policy/planning/ regulatory functions from operation/implementation functions at each level of the government, and each institution must be held accountable for financial and operational performance. Public service agencies will be converted into financially autonomous entities, with effective authority to charge and collect fees. Cost recovery of flood control and drainage (FCD) projects is not envisaged for the foreseeable future. 13 In case of FCD and irrigation (FCDI) projects water rates will be charged for O&M. Water charges realized from beneficiaries for O&M in a project will be retained locally for the provision of services within that project. The Government will enact a National Water Code revising and consolidating the laws governing ownership, development, appropriation, utilization, conservation, and protection of water resources.







78. National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation. This policy aims to improve the standard of public health and environment with specific goals of (i) making safe drinking water available for each household in urban areas; (ii) increasing the coverage of safe drinking water in rural areas by lowering the average number of users per tube-well from the present 105 to 50; and (iii) ensuring supply of quality water through observance of accepted quality standards, in particular supply of arsenic free water from alternate sources or arsenic removal in affected areas, among others. In attaining these goals, the policy adopted several strategic principles, including (i) improved coordination of relevant institutions and devolution of


In implementing the plans, BWDB will implement all major surface water schemes with command area of above 1,000 ha. Smaller schemes will be implemented by the local government. It is also stipulated that planning and implementation of all projects will follow the Guidelines for Project Assessment, the Guidelines for Participatory Water Management, and the Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment. However, new projects proposed by a community or local institution will be considered for implementation only when the beneficiaries have mobilized a certain percentage of the total cost as their contribution to the project.

22 responsibility to the local government levels including WASAs, Pourashavas and city corporations; (ii) increased user participation through greater involvement of peoples organizations including women; (iii) prioritized programs for un-served and under-served areas; (iv) economic pricing of water and gradual reduction of subsidies with safety net for the hardcore poor; (v) encouraging and promoting the role of the private sector with complementary partnership with NGOs/CBOs; (vi) adopting a range of technology options suitable to the socioeconomic conditions of specific area and people; and (vii) capacity development at all levels. 79. Other Relevant Policies. Other relevant policies include National Environmental Policy (1992: providing directives on the legal framework and institutional arrangements to regulate activities that pollute and degrade the environment addressing 15 sectors, in which environmental audit of existing FCD projects were called fore); National Forestry Policy (1994: proposing 20% of geographical area of the country afforested by 2015 with special emphasis on new charlands, denuded state forest, fallow lands and on the sides of road, rail, and flood embankments); National Fisheries Policy (1998: aiming at enhancing fisheries production with due consideration of livelihood of capture fishery households and maintenance of ecological balance, and highlighting the need for conserving fish habitat through prevention of further reduction of standing water bodies for agricultural development); National Agricultural Policy (1999: aiming at self sufficiency of food and increased production through diversification of crops in particular those for agro-industries and export, with an emphasis on efficient irrigation, and sufficient supply of other inputs and credit). C. 1. Draft National Water Management Plan Overview

80. The draft NWMP, which provides a framework to guide future approach and investment in water resource management, was prepared in 2001. The NWMP is presented in 5 volumes, of which volume 2 is the main presenting the context, the plan and the implementation arrangement for the plan. The plan presents 84 programs for next 25 years with indicative or prospective financial requirement of $17.9 billion. The proposed programs are grouped into 8 clusters (comprising 2 institutional and 6 investment clusters) and spatially distributed across eight planning regions of the country. In the short-term, the draft NWMP has heavily focused on the institutional development and enabling environment, along with urgent programs such as metropolitan flood protection, water supply and sanitation; urban and rural water supply and sanitation (towards meeting the targets for millennium development goals); preparation of national pollution control plan; and various other studies to fill the knowledge gaps. The indicative cost of the proposed program for the next five years is about $1.5 billion. The draft NWMP is awaiting the final approval by the National Water Resources Council (NWRC), based on which its highest priority programs are to be initiated. Once launched, its implementation needs to be continuously monitored, and its contents regularly enriched and expanded on the basis of relevant sector operations. 2. Contents of NWMP

81. Institutional Development. This has been placed as the first of the 8 clusters of programs, and is aimed to put the institutional landscape of the NWP into full operation. Key programs include (i) institutional reform and capacity strengthening of WARPO for effective NWMP implementation monitoring and further strategic planning; (ii) reforms and capacity building of BWDB for sub-regional management and rationalization of FCD(I) schemes; (iii) clarification of the roles and responsibilities of local government institutions (LGIs) in water

23 management and their capacity development (including LGED and DPHE); (iv) establishment of independent regulatory bodies for water supply and sanitation services; and (v) capacity development of other relevant organizations such as Department of Environment, Disaster Management Bureau, etc. Most of the programs are envisaged for implementation within 10 years, except for the programs for LGIs that could take longer terms. 82. The Enabling Environment. This cluster is intended to provide necessary instruments to operate the key principles of the NWP, encompassing legal and regulatory framework; data and information management including research and development; public awareness; and private sector participation and alternative financing of water sector investments. Programs for legal and regulatory framework include preparation of national water code and relevant underlaws and regulations; preparation, testing, and refinement of various guidelines; and identification and establishment of regulatory and economic instruments (such as groundwater regulation, water pricing for irrigation and water supply, regulation for wastewater discharge and pollution control). Programs for information management include strengthening of existing data collection and processing facilities, and research capacities for technical, social, economic, environmental, and institutional issues. Institutional studies and follow-on reforms to create legal and regulatory framework for investor confidence are envisaged for private sector participation and alternative investment financing. Most of these elements of the enabling environment are also envisaged for establishment within the next 10 years. 83. Main River Development. This cluster is aimed at the comprehensive development and management of the main river systems for multipurpose use through a variety of measures, including a system of barrages, and other structural and non-structural measures. For the main river development, the programs envisaged start with studies for long-term development in main and regional rivers in the medium-term with a focus on the Ganges dependent areas, followed by possible major investments for water abstraction including the construction of barrages and regional water distribution networks. Among the investments, however, the restoration of the Gorai River is considered as a short-term requirement. The initial studies will also cover master planning of river training and hydro-power development, which will be followed by more detailed study in the next 10 years, and by investments afterwards. (The overall investment cost envisaged for this cluster is about $5 billion, with a focus of initial 5 years on the studies and the short-term priority investment such as Gorai river restoration.) 84. Towns and Rural Areas. This cluster aims to satisfy increasing demand for safe drinking water and sanitation, and within the towns to provide adequate flood protection and storm water drainage. The programs intends to achieve the full provision of safe drinking water to the population (including arsenic mitigation facilities) within the next 10 years, increase the provision of household piped water in towns and rural areas to 90% and 40% of the households and household sanitation coverage to 70% and 20% in towns and rural areas in 25 years, respectively, and provision of flood protection of all towns by that time. It also envisages the gradual increase of private sector participation in town water supply and sanitation to 25% of the coverage by 2025. (The total envisaged cost for the cluster is over $5 billion with increasing level of investment towards the long-term.) 85. Major Cities. The cluster includes programs for metropolitan areas including Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Rajshahi, of which population is expacted to triple over the next 25 years. The programs include (i) bulk water supply; (ii) sanitation and sewerage systems; and (iii) flood protection and storm water drainage for the 4 major cities. Significant technical assistance to promote institutional and financial reforms is also envisaged, which could include integrated land and water resources planning and management; commercialization of the urban water and

24 sanitation sector to encourage private sector participation through management contracts, BOT schemes, and concessional agreements; introduction of market-oriented financial systems, and establishment of necessary regulatory framework. (The total envisaged cost for the cluster is over $6 billion with increasing level of investment towards the long-term.) 86. Disaster Management. This cluster includes disaster prevention and mitigation measures, preparedness plans and related warning systems especially at the upazila level, emergency response measures and post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation. Key activities include (i) cyclone protection through construction of shelter-cum-schools in areas of highest risk at appropriate density; and (ii) flood proofing for the rural population in the low-lying haor basin and in the charlands, and key feeder roads and railways. Strengthening and operation of effective information management systems for disaster preparedness and management is also envisaged. (The total cost for the cluster is about $0.5 billion with increasing level of investment towards the long-term.) 87. Agriculture and Water Management. This cluster aims to expand and diversify agricultural production and to maintain food security, with contribution of water sector to remove constraints caused by shortage or excess of water. The programs places primary focus on the continued expansion of minor irrigation development through groundwater and low-lift pumps, mainly through private sector investments. Regarding the public irrigation schemes, improving the performance of existing BWDB irrigation schemes is a priority, followed by expansion of such schemes where appropriate, i.e., in areas of limited availability or salinity of groundwater (e.g., in the southwest), and where feasible (e.g., in the southeast). As to the FCD systems, the NWMP envisages rationalization of existing inland and coastal FCD infrastructure that includes rehabilitation, improvement, and decommissioning, and handover of schemes to LGIs and community organizations in accordance with the NWP. Studies and possible implementation of land reclamation and further protection of coastal areas are also envisaged. (The total cost of the cluster is slightly less than $1 billion, with initial 5 years focusing on studies and institutional strengthening measures, along with continued private sector investment in minor irrigation.) 88. Environment and Aquatic Resources. The key objective of the cluster is to ensure provision of clean water for multipurpose and sustainable use, restore and maintain fish habitats, preserve wetlands, and to protect the aquatic environment especially be institutionalization of environmental impact assessment and management procedures. Three key areas of focus have been identified: (i) water pollution and control (with programs including preparation and implementation of national pollution control plan that includes anti-pollution regulations and clean-up projects, and operation of national water quality monitoring systems); (ii) water management for fisheries and ecologically sensitive areas (with programs including formulation of national fisheries master plan, construction of fish pass throughout the nation, and improved water and environmental management of critical areas such as the Sundarbans); and (iii) public awareness raising for environmental management. Institutional reforms and strengthening of the concerned organizations including BWDB, Department of Environment, and Department of Fisheries are also envisaged to support the programs. (The total cost of the cluster is slightly less than $0.5 billion, with gradually increasing level of investment over the long term.)

25 Box 1. Brief NWMP Assessment In the Bangladesh Water and Flood Management Strategy (BWFMS), NWMP was envisaged to define a clear strategy and prioritized programs to achieve the NWP goals, and to provide a firm plan for the next 5 years, an indicative plan for the subsequent 5 years, and a perspective plan for the long term (for review and update every 5 years). It was to be prepared using the knowledge base of the National Water Plan, FAP, lessons learned from previous projects, and urban and sectoral water need projections. As a basic framework, BWFMS provided a shortterm strategy to promote (i) institutions (policy, legislation, organization, expertise), (ii) socialeconomic and environmental norms, (iii) beneficiary participation and sustainable O&M, and (iv) investments to meet urgent sector needs, along with a long-term strategy towards operating (i) long-term perspective planning, (ii) integrated water and land use planning, (iii) achieving intersectoral balance, (iii) basin-wise development with management of cross-border flows, and (iv) reforms to meet the long-term requirements. The NWMP was to be prepared building on these and by assessing development options and priorities with intensive stakeholder consultation. The draft NWMP has provided, through substantial work for information collection and analyses, a basis to this end, and its approval by the NWRC is currently awaited. Given that making progress on the required institutional reforms and priority investments is most critical, early confirmation of the draft NWMP would be justified. Nevertheless, there are some aspects that may be strengthened, possibly during its implementation in achieving the NWP goals most effectively. While viable assessment of the substantial NWMP outputs would require more resources, key issues that might be relevant would include the following. (i) The draft NWMP largely remains a framework plan for the entire period. While long-term strategy and programs would remain indicative and perspective, its short-term plan may be strengthened to provide specific and prioritized strategy and programs/project proposals, and realistically implementable targets, building on BWFMS and FAP. (ii) In particular, actions and its timeframe to address the short-term strategy in BWFMS may need to be thoroughly defined through assessment of actions already taken, remaining issues, options, and sequence of the selected actions. For example, involvement of LGIs has several options, whereas the ways to achieve sustainable O&M is still not so clear. (iii) The draft NWMP may strengthen and further elaborate its regional plans to guide the identification and implementation of specific local initiatives. This could be addressed by strengthening its linkage and consistency with the relevant part of the FAP regional studies. (iv) In implementing the NWMP, while the NWP envisages that LGIs and sector agencies will prepare and implement sub-regional and local water plans in conformance with NWMP, the programs, process and arrangements to operate this end is not clearly envisaged (e.g., coordinated planning for rural roads, highways, and railway embankments). (v) The draft NWMP may consider strengthening its strategy, actions and programs to address long-term agenda identified under BWFMS, such as operating integrated land and water use planning and basin-wise development, achieving inter-sectoral balance in water use, and perspectives for cross-border water resources management.


89. In accordance with the NWP, a comprehensive Water Act is to be prepared to govern ownership, development, appropriation, utilization, conservation, and protection of water resources while integrating and expanding the existing laws and regulations. The ensuing act and its under-law and regulations are expected to provide institutional framework (including organizational responsibilities and managerial procedures and arrangements) to operate regulatory functions including water appropriation, licensing, and water rights administration in particular in the water scarcity zones to be designated under the NWP and for groundwater use in particular in arsenic affected areas; water quality management and pollution control; crosssectoral demand management through regulatory and economic instruments. While an initial draft has been prepared with the assistance of the World Bank (WB) for preparing the NWMP, the process has not progressed after completion of the WB assistance for the NWMP. 2. WARPO

90. WARPO was set up under Water Resource Act of 1992 and its mandate was further elaborated in National Water Policy of 1999. According to NWP, WARPO has two broad responsibilities: (a) to work as the exclusive government institution for macro level water resources planning and (b) to work as the Executive Secretariat of the WRC and its Executive Committee. The various responsibilities assigned to WARPO by Water Resources Act of 1992 and National Water Policy of 1999 would fall into two categories, namely: routine core services and periodic services. They can be defined as follows 14: Table 5. WARPO Functions Periodic Services
Update of the National Water Management Plan Contribution to Five Year Plans Provision of adhoc advice on policy strategy, institutional and legal issues Execution of special studies, research etc. as required from time to time

Core Services

Maintenance, updating and dissemination of the National Water Resource Data Updating of water resource assessment Monitoring NWMP and its impacts Functioning as clearing house for all water sector project (this has to be further defined in relation to Planning Commission) Secretariat to the NWRC/ECNWRC Responding to the NWRC/ECNWRC requests for information and advice

91. Clearly if these tasks are to be fulfilled adequately, WARPO will have to attract and retain a cadre of qualified permanent staff supported as and when required by reliable, high caliber contractual experts. Equally, in the interests of continuity, WARPO will have to offer an alternative career option for long-term employment. WARPO also has to be housed in a permanent, functional and properly built office. Finally, it must be assured of adequate source of finance. Unfortunately, WARPO and its predecessor organization like Flood Plan Coordination Organization and Master Plan Organization suffered considerably from a lack of

NWMP vol. 3

27 permanence. Adequate funding for WARPO establishment was provided only during the plan preparation (mainly because funds were available from donors) and very little before and after preparation of plans. These cycles of under-funding of WARPO establishment can be costly in terms of loss of information and institutional memory. For the present staff in WARPO, career opportunities are limited and therefore their morale is low. 92. During preparation of NWMP, staff members of WARPO worked with a consulting firm and this has given WARPO good experience. However, the consulting firm did most of the work on the plan and the WARPO has not acquired enough skills and experience to extend or revise the plan. WARPO has also acquired a national data set to manage and update periodically. Strengthening WARPO is, therefore, an important challenge for the water resource management sector. The challenge is to find a way to place WARPO on a sustainable footing with the necessary high caliber staff to serve as a center of excellence, which is the long-term vision about WARPO. The organization will have to be a multi-sectoral body and to perform its role; it has to work closely with the Planning Commission. 3. BWDB

93. Among the most important organizations responsible for future management of water resources in the country is the BWDB. There has been severe criticism outside and inside the country about BWDB although it has been the main architect of water infrastructure development in past 45 years. This is partly due to the fact that although the focus of water management has shifted towards joint management, user directed activities, transparency and efficient management techniques over the years; the organizational culture is changing slowly. 94. The BWDBs mandate has been to work as a sole agency for planning and implementation of projects on flood control, irrigation, water resource management and protection of coastal area. Over time, its original mandate has become inappropriate, as economic, social and demographic changes and the consequent increasing competition for water use added new and complex dimensions to its original basic tasks. At the same time, there has been a change in the process through which development takes place. Initially public investment was paramount and now with the growth of the market economy, a considerable part of the development activity has and should become the domain of the private sector. Consequently the role of public institutions has to change. 95. The NWP promulgated by the national parliament in 1999 provides the direction for future management and provides the future shape of water organizations. Under NWP, BWDB will no longer be the only key player, the overall policy, macro planning and strategy functions was taken out of BWDB (and given to a new multi sectoral organization, WARPO), and even for implementation of water projects local government and water users themselves was to assume increasingly important roles. In addition, BWDB will need to make the transition from a supplydriven construction focus to a demand-driven institutional development focus with integrated river basin management approach, concentrating more on efficient and effective operation and maintenance of existing structure, than on new construction. 96. A large number of studies 15 conducted by the Government and development partners have consistently pointed the following problems with BWDB:

During last 25 years there were about 20 studies including (1) a joint government-IDA review of BWDB in 197879, (ii) a government task force report on the organizational and implementation capacity of BWDB in 1981-82, (iii) Report of the committee for reorganization of Bangladesh Water Development Board in 1984, (iv) a study of

28 (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) Overly large and over extended organization; Overly centralized; Heavy emphasis on construction of project with inadequate concern for sustaining them in the future; Top management interference in operational matters and shedding of responsibility by middle management; No multi-disciplinary focus; Limited contact with the people using its services; Units that have outlived their utility and would be better off as commercial organizations.

97. The institutional reforms currently on the agenda are grounded on the principles of the NWP and to some extent, reflect the past studies related to organizational strengthening of BWDB. These are promoted mainly under projects assisted by the World Bank, in particular in the context of preparing the Water Management Improvement Project, as well as the Twining Mission arrangements assisted by the Government of the Netherlands, and policy dialogues and capacity development support provided under the ongoing projects assisted by ADB. In particular, to work with the Twining Mission, BWDB formed a task force comprising senior and mid-level staff organized into five working groups (covering implementation of BWDB Act 2000; BWDB 5-year plan; procurement and financial management; human resources development, and services and revenue) to develop action plans for these five working areas. The following are summaries of the latest reform efforts. 16 98. Institutional Structure. In accordance with the BWDB Act 2000, the BWDB management has been separated from the Governing Council. 17 Accordingly, the role of BWDB was modified to separate the policy and operational management, vesting many of the power formerly exercised by the Government to the new Governing Council, with an intention to make way for increased autonomy of BWDB from Governments closer supervision and oversight. As a result of the reform, the BWDB management has increased authority in deciding on operational matters, and the Director General is taking decisions, which used to be referred to the Board and the Government routinely before. The DG has also been assigned with threeyear fixed assignment to strengthen the management leadership. As to the management structure, central implementation wing and O&M wing were merged into two regional O&M wings in 2002 to ensure staff integrity and smooth transition of schemes from investment to O&M phase. As a move towards decentralization, while the Governing Council meeting in late 2000 agreed in principle to separate zonal units as fully autonomous entities and to pilot test the

16 17

the institutional capability of BWDB by the international accounting firm SGV in 1988, (v) a study of BWDB under the Bangladesh Agriculture Sector Review done by GOB and UNDP in 1989, (vi) a study by IDA done under IDA financed Third Flood Control and Drainage Project, (vi) BWDB Task force in 1994 and (vii) the FAP 26 Institutional Study in 1995. Some of these observations are based on Aide-Memoire of WB Mission dated Jan-Feb. 2003. The Governing Council is lead by the Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources as Chairman, The 12 members are: the Secretaries of the Ministries of Water Resources, Finance, Local Government Division, and Forestry and Livestock; the Director Generals of the Water Resource Planning Organization and Bangladesh Water Development Board; the Vice-Chairman of ADAB; two water resources experts, at present Dr. Huda exSecretary of the Ministry of Water Resources and Dr. Monwar Hossain of BUET; one representative from each of the GK Project and Teesta Project Water Users Associations, and a CFA from the Institute of Cost Management.

29 concept in one zone, this has yet to be initiated. The Government has also decided to de-link the Mechanical Engineering and Dredger Organizations. 99. Staffing and Skill Mix. In 1998 the Government started implementation of a plan to downsize BWDB from 18,032 to 8,860 by 2006 through a natural attrition process. This has been implemented with the current staff as of 2002 standing at about 12,300, of whom about 2,000 belong to the Mechanical Engineering and Dredger Organizations, although nonrecruitment of new staff has started to affect the staff cohort management. BWDB has also taken some steps to diversify its skill mix, by creating positions for a sociologist, and fishery, forestry, and environmental experts, and expansion of managerial positions for non-engineers, which was done in 2001. BWDB is also to prepare Policy and Service Rules for Recruitment, Promotion, and Job Rotation to ensure strategic skills development, and continuity in field operation through fixed tenure assignments and on-site promotion. While these are all positive moves, there is significant gap between the existing and required capacities in establishing and operating water resources schemes with effective beneficiary participation through management transfer or joint management as envisaged under the NWP, which requires significant skills, willingness and dedication within the organization as a whole including engineers to support the development of and work with the local institutions as an accountable service provider. 100. Operational Procedures and Arrangements. In 2001, BWDB formulated the job description for all professional personnel from Assistant Engineer through the DG thereby established a chain of command, individual responsibility and accountability. Towards the end of 2001, BWDB also reformulated its delegation of administrative and financial power, and detailed rule of business. BWDB is further pursuing procurement reforms under the ongoing Bangladesh Public Procurement Project assisted by the World Bank, has revised the standard bidding documents and is encouraged to publish contract awards and establish independent audit system. While these are aimed to strengthen the transparency and accountability of BWDB, the extent to which the changes lead to more effective and efficient delivery of services will depend on (i) strong leadership to ensure staff compliance with the established rules and procedures; (ii) ownership of BWDB staff to fully operate these initiatives, and (iii) establishment of effective management information and quality control systems to supervise and enforce their effective operation without any leakage. 101. Budget and Financial Management. Assistance from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is being provided to improve the accounting systems of BWDB as well as WARPO (by establishing separate accounting functions in the field offices). While this rationalizes the manner in which accounts are maintained and improves transparency, it has not necessarily addressed the manner in which budget are allocated and utilized, which is a policy matter. In this connection, the Government agreed, in the context of the recently approved Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project, to consider adopting a performance-based budget allocation mechanism, which will prioritize the allocation of O&M budgets on the basis of the performance of the project entities (e.g., on the basis of the irrigation service fee collection and local resource mobilization for self-sustained O&M), for which specific policy will be developed. To improve the irrigation service fee collection, BWDB is also preparing the amendment to the 1983 BWDB Water Rate Ordinance to authorize the project entities to collect, retain, and utilize the service charges in accordance with the 2000 BWDB Act. While these efforts, if fully implemented, will contribute to improving the O&M sustainability of public surface irrigation schemes (subject to the clear commitment on the part of the Government to pursue the issue in irrigation schemes), O&M sustainability of FCD schemes has not been addressed in the reform process so far.

30 102. Thus there has been some progress in reforms in some areas, especially in downsizing the staff, in separating the management from the Board and in having appropriate and stable leadership. Progress has been mixed in changing the corporate management of the organization and in financial and accounting reforms. Progress has been slow on some fronts summarized below. 103. First, there is no clear long-term vision within BWDB, although the draft vision statement was prepared in 2001 that is currently reviewed under the twining arrangements. Second, although several actions have been taken and the task force seems to have done a good job, the overall progress toward the problems of BWDB (outlined earlier) has not been substantial. Only in disseminating the BWDB Act 2000, there was good progress. So far there is not much progress toward changing engineering orientation of BWDB, the skill mix and improving capacities in establishing water management associations, in decentralizing the role and functions of BWDB, and introducing participatory management practice in BWDB projects. The work by Task Force has to be disseminated more widely within BWDB. The actions under the twining arrangement need to be supported by financing under a new project or under ongoing projects. Third, preparation for transferring small projects to local councils and water management groups has not progressed much. There was an attempt to transfer 4 projects, but no progress could be made for lack of funds in doing the preparatory work for the transfer. Another possible constraint is the lack of community mobilization skills in BWDB skills that are needed for implementing the transfer program. Finally, one of the key reform objectives is to shed certain BWDB outfits, which can be operated on commercial line. These two organizations are: BWDBs Dredging Directorate (DD) and Mechanical Equipment Directorate. The plan for commercialization of DD was approved a few years ago, but only recently the Government approved the plan to go for management partnership. 4. LGED

104. In 1982, under the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, the Works Program Wing was created to administer the rural works program. 18 In 1984, this wing was transformed into the Local Government Engineering Bureau and financed under Governments revenue budget and in 1992, was upgraded into the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). The activities of LGED have expanded beyond rural infrastructure to include urban infrastructure. Unlike many agencies and departments in Bangladesh, LGED has not been plagued by frequent leadership changes and this continuity of leadership is reflected in the corporate culture of the organization. The organization is decentralized, tends to minimize bureaucratic procedures, works at the grass-roots level, and is responsive to change. 105. The National Water Policy places the responsibility on Local Government for implementing investments in flood management, drainage, and irrigation with command areas of 1,000 ha and less. The technical arm of the Local Government is LGED, which historically has had minimal involvement in surface water management. To respond to this mandate, LGED has reviewed its organizational structure and staffing positions to establish a water resources wing under an Additional Chief Engineer that would deal with small-scale water resource management. The wing includes a small but multi-disciplinary cell at headquarters and additional engineering and social field staff at the District and Upazilla levels. This reform

The nation-wide rural works program was one of the four elements of the Comila Model which was conceptualized essentially as a strategy for increasing agricultural production. The other three elements were the two-tier cooperative system, the thana irrigation program, and the thana training and development centers.

31 agenda is intended to buttress ADBs support for the Second Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project (SSWRDSP) and the changes are to be fully implemented by 2004. 106. Over the period of implementation of SSWRDSP and its second phase, a steady progress has been observed to institutionalize participatory and demand-driven approach of water resources development and management with an increasing attention to ensuring firm development of WMAs and resolution of any social and environmental conflicts of interests prior to initiating any physical works, thus generating increasing number of well-performing subprojects where WMAs are capable of sustain the benefits on their own. In general, however, LGEDs capacities to ensure quality control of institutional development of water management associations (WMAs), physical construction, and WMAs self-sustained O&M processes remain a challenge, and need continuous strengthening by establishing sufficient capacities and functions in the central water resources unit to train and supervise field staff to these ends. 5. Local Government Institutions

107. The Provisions of the Constitution of Bangladesh (articles 9, 11, 59, and 60) and the Local Government Ordinances mandate the Union Parishad, Upazila Parishad, and Zila Parishad with a wide range of development functions including planning for the provision of general physical infrastructure such as roads, culverts, bridges, potable water supplies, flood control, and irrigation infrastructure. The Ordinances specify that development activity implemented by Government and Non-Government Organizations, is to be coordinated by the Union Parishad and Upazila Parishad within their territorial and functional jurisdiction. The Union Parishad is also empowered to protect government property, public easement land, khas land, rivers, canals, and water bodies from encroachment through the exercise of its judicial powers. 108. At present, the Zila is an important administrative unit of the central government with no elected local government institution. The Zila administration consists of representatives from the various line agencies. The Deputy Commissioner fulfils an informal leadership role and has traditionally coordinated development activities, though without legal jurisdiction over officers of other departments posted to the Zila. In a more recent development, Ministers conduct the District coordination meetings. The Zila Parishad Act specifies that a Zila Chairman will be elected to establish local government at this level. 19 The Zila Parishad will then consist of the one Chairperson elected by the people within the District, supported by the elected Upazila Chairpersons. 109. In parallel to the Zila, the Upazila at present is an administrative unit of the central government with no elected local government institution. The Upazila administration also consists of representatives from the various line agencies. While the Upazila Nirbahi Officer can play a coordinating role, he has no legal jurisdiction over officers of other departments posted at the Upazila. The Upazila Parishad Act specifies that elections will be held at the Upazila to establish a local government at this level. 20 The elected Upazila Chairman will then become the executive head of the Upazila Parishad. On the other hand, the Union Parishad consists of an elected council and chairman and is the oldest local government institution in Bangladesh.

19 20

These elections are scheduled to follow the elections for the Upazila Parishad. These elections are expected following the national election. However, there are 300 elected Members of Parliament whose constituents are the people living in the 464 Upazilas of Bangladesh. The Members of Parliament are unlikely to strongly support establishment of elected representatives at the Upazila since this would in effect diminish their own power base and authority. At present, the impetus for elections at the Upazila is from the national governing party, which sees this as a means of extending influence at the local level.

32 Experience has shown that the support of the Union Parishad Chairman, either tacit or active, is essential if any activities are to be carried out within this jurisdiction. 110. From the foregoing, it is clear that representative Local Government presently exists only at the Union Parishad. The compulsory functions of the Union Parishad include adoption and implementation of development schemes in the fields of irrigation and flood protection. However, there are difficulties. Firstly, the Union Parishad is unclear of its roles, rights, and responsibilities defined under the Local Government Ordinance. Secondly, in part because of the centralized operational structure of government, development projects and funds are channeled through the technical departments with the result that the Local Government has been unable to develop experience in implementing their own development activities. 21 Nevertheless, there is a need to involve creatively local government institutions in the design of investment initiatives to ensure that the public is engaged throughout the process. 111. (i) The NWP envisages the involvement of Local Government in the following areas: Local Governments (Parishads) will be principal agents for coordinating the participation of project-affected persons in planning, design, implementation, and operation and maintenance of publicly funded surface water development plans and projects. Local Governments are mandated to encourage people to reduce water pollution and wastage.


112. The NWP poses a further dilemma with regard to Local Government. The policy specifies that Ownership of FCD and FCDI projects with a command area of 1,000 ha or less will gradually be transferred to the local governments, beginning with the ones that are being satisfactorily managed and operated by the beneficiary/community organizations. There are two difficulties. The local government as an owner may not necessarily be a user (in a direct sense) and consequently there will be limited interest in ensuring operation and maintenance of the systems. More importantly, this results in a constantly increasing inventory of infrastructure for which Government is responsible. 22 A more practical approach would be to transfer small projects to community organizations directly benefiting from the project and to establish a supporting role for Local Government. There is precedence where Government has divested itself of the ownership of various industries. 113. On the other hand, there are elected representatives in urban centers including city corporations and Pourashivas. (Responsibilities for planning, design, construction, and O&M of

water infrastructure (vis--vis BWDB and DPHE) including flood control, drainage, water supply, and sewerage to be explained, along with key institutional issues.)
6. Water Management Associations

114. According to the Governments Guidelines for Participatory Water Management (GPWM), which was approved by the NWRC in November 2000, it is suggested that WMAs


In recognition of this, In May 2000, UNDP put in place the Sirajgonj Local Governance Development Fund Project, which aims to finance development activities directly through the Union Parishad. The Project is experiencing significant teething problems, in large part because of the Project design, which set in place TA Team with a hierarchy paralleling that of the Zila and Upazila; this has created a number of communication and control issues. In a separate initiative, the NGO CARE has a Project to strengthen the Union Parishad. This policy is a digression from the system adopted for ADB supported Small Scale Water Resources Sector Project (Loan No 1381-BAN(SF)), where ways are being sought to transfer infrastructure to beneficiaries.

33 should be registered under the Cooperatives Societies Ordinance and Rules until such time that the separate rules for registration would be established based on the experience of cooperatives framework. Following the guidelines, a large number of WMAs have been established under several water sector projects implemented by BWDB and LGED. The available experience has indicated that, while the cooperatives framework is advantageous given the ready availability of essential regulatory services provided by the Department of Cooperatives as well as of its facility to expand the scope of WMAs to undertake diverse economic activities, these may also divert the attention of the stakeholders from the core activities of water management. Careful assessment of the initial experience and alternative options is necessary to define most appropriate legal framework of WMAs. B. 1. Generic Institutional Issues Collaborative Process and Working with Stakeholders

115. The GPWM represents progress in that they document a process to be followed at each stage of developing an intervention. Nevertheless, the prescribed process tends to codify the status quo falling short of promoting meaningful participation by promoting concepts such as the executing agency will assess the capacity of local stakeholders for participation. In general, the guidelines approach the participation issue from the perspective of devising mechanisms and procedures to encourage local stakeholders to participate in achieving the objectives of the executing agency rather than the reverse establishing mechanisms to ensure that the agencies are better able to respond to the local stakeholders. Nevertheless, there is acknowledgement that the guidelines provide an outline for stakeholder participation and that the concerned implementing agencies will develop their own procedures. There is a further acknowledgement that these guidelines will have to be updated regularly. 116. During the past years, BWDB has undertaken preparation of a number of feasibility level studies. There is little evidence that the process followed in this planning exercise differed significantly from past practice. LGED has progressed further in this regard in part because of its close proximity to local government, in part because it deals with more manageable smallscale interventions, and in part because of stipulations associated with the one large project that is under implementation. Nevertheless, there is considerable room for improvement in both agencies. As a starting point, within both these agencies, management level commitment is needed combined with a designated responsibility center that provides direction as well as oversight to pursue seriously an agenda that promotes participatory water resources management. 117. The disparity between the guidelines (what should happen) and practice (what does happen) is also a logical outcome of the lack of emphasis on training. To successfully implement investments in a manner that ensures meaningful participation of direct stakeholders is a complex task that requires substantial managerial and technical skills. The guidelines, as with many institutional and policy changes, are promulgated by the Government but the individuals responsible for implementing these are not provided with an understanding of how this is to be done. Investment in human resource development needs to be substantially increased if the ongoing institutional and policy reform agenda is to result in meaningful change. This is particularly germane given that participatory processes are still being refined and that issues such as how to mobilize resources, who will establish O&M priorities, how will finances be controlled and audited, have yet to be resolved and input from field practitioners is essential to derive meaningful structures.

34 2. Quality Construction

118. Stakeholder participation will have little sustainable impact on investment efficiency if the infrastructure with which they are provided is either inappropriate or dysfunctional. The former can be dealt with through appropriate consultative processes during planning. The latter, however, is a quality issue that is under the control of the executing agency. Both agencies (BWDB and LGED) have demonstrated difficulty in delivering quality infrastructure though BWDBs capability in constructing hydraulic structures is stronger. 119. (i) Common causes include: Planning and design studies, often carried out through private sector firms that do not reflect the needs of beneficiaries, impacting on infrastructure quality. This reflects in part weak management on the part of the implementing agencies and the ability of the private sector to respond to the changing priorities in the sector. Contractors who, often because of inexperience, bid work at well below the engineers estimate with the attendant results that include delays and/or the use of inferior or insufficient materials. Where contractors have patrons, control and management also becomes an issue. Uneven fund flows hamper implementation. During the first two quarters of the fiscal year, funds are generally released in accordance with the budget. As the year progresses, Government priorities change, with the result that funding during the last two quarters becomes uncertain. Operation and Maintenance a. 120. (i) (ii) Surface Water Management for Agriculture The NWP stipulates the following regarding the O&M of water resources schemes. For FCDI projects, water rates will be set to cover the full delivery cost of the irrigation component. Collection of these fees will, to the extent possible, be undertaken through means such as leases with beneficiaries and other target groups given preference for such contracts. Government will finance all other operation and maintenance costs for the foreseeable future. Water charges realized from beneficiaries for O&M in a project will be retained locally for the provision of services within that project. Effective beneficiary participation and the commitment to pay for O&M will be realized at the project identification and planning stages.




(iii) (iv) (v)

121. However, these have not yet to be implemented. As noted, inadequate operation and maintenance has been the overriding problem with most water sector schemes. The consequence of inadequate O&M is a fast decline in the condition of the infrastructure and poorly maintained structure can no longer be operated as intended. The maintenance task is often made more serious by erosion of embankments during flood.

35 122. O&M Status in BWDB. The most important reason of inadequate O&M is, inadequate resource at the disposal of BWDB to do timely and adequate maintenance. BWDB has never had a sound and sustainable financial base for the O&M activities. BWDB has continuously suffers from an inadequate revenue budget, which meets only a fraction of its needs. The background work done for the NWMP shows that the total maintenance expenditure between 94/95 and 97/98 was about Tk.1,300 million, as against total funding requirement of Tk.4,500 million for maintenance. So according to this estimate the total resources available for maintenance was only one third of the requirement. Another study (FAP26) also came up with similar finding for the years 1992/93 and 1993/94. The O&M budget for those years was only enough to meet 34% of O&M needs. 123. In recent years, the funding situation is even worsening. The draft Final Report of the Water Management Improvement Project to be assisted by the World Bank records that the actual total recurrent expenditure (including wheat under food for work program) in 1997-98 was Tk. 1984 million ($41 million), some 30% decline from the level of the previous years. A recent figure since 1998-99 also shows a declining trend, but not as pronounced as was the case in 1997-98. For example, the revenue budget allocation in 2001-2002 for BWDB was 12% less than the previous fiscal year. Since the wage bill paid out of the revenue budget keeps on rising, the actual expenditure going to O&M has fallen faster than the decline in revenue budget. The actual expenditure on repairs from revenue budget that year was almost 22% less than the previous year. With such inadequate O&M, many projects would quickly fall in disrepair and would need rehabilitation work. 124. To augment resources for O&M, it was always felt that a part of the burden could be borne by the beneficiaries. But the failure to involve beneficiaries in the early stages of projects has not helped the case, because there is no sense of ownership a situation made worse by the rise of dis-benefits (e.g. drainage congestion in some areas) from some schemes. Lack of sense of ownership by beneficiaries makes it difficult to share with them the burden of operation and maintenance. 125. At present, public cuts of embankments are cited as evidence of dissatisfaction of the public with the schemes. In fact, this may not be the case. The cuts should be viewed as traditional and cost effective way letting water in when farmers need it 23. This illustrates the need for a more beneficiary participation in management, which would help in taking timely step for the benefit of the farmers and achieving a meaningful O&M burden sharing. To ensure better O&M of water project, NWP provides for handing over selected water management to stakeholders. Table 6 records what is ultimately envisaged for the completed BWDB projects. The ultimate arrangements (according to NWP) envisages transfer of ownership of the small schemes (those below 1,000 ha) to local government and management to WMAs, transfer of management of schemes between 1,000 ha and 5,000 ha to WMAs, with ownership remaining with BWDB. Finally transfer of management of schemes over 5,000 ha to a joint team consisting of WMAs and Local Government with ownership remaining with BWDB. 126. Unfortunately there has been no progress in implementing this policy since its adoption in 1999. Several factors explain slow progress in the implementation of the transfer of schemes covering up to 5,000 ha, which would have reduced the operation and maintenance burden of BWDB. First, there has been very little progress in the revival of the local government system.

In fact a careful study shows that cuts discharge water for more quickly then sluices and are far cheaper to implement, even when the cost of refilling (often done by the same people who make the cut) is taken into account. The study concludes that sluices cost on average 2.2 times as much as the actual cost of breaches.

36 Only recently elections have been held for some of the local bodies and more time will be needed before these Local Government Bodies would be able to take over ownership of the small schemes (covering up to 1,000 ha). Second, many of the water schemes are not properly functioning; so the intended beneficiaries are not deriving any benefit from those. Many of these had fallen in serious disrepair and some may actually be generating dis-benefits. So it is no wonder that the intended beneficiary groups are not rushing to get involved, which to some extent could have been possible even without full-fledged local government in place. In contrast, in managing many small scale FCD schemes, beneficiaries are participating and sharing a part of O&M cost. Third, there is some reluctance on the part of BWDB officials to part with water sector infrastructures because of the fear that their maintenance would further suffer. Table 6. Ultimate Arrangement for Management of Water Sector Schemes
Projects/ Scheme size 24 Up to 1,000 Hectares 1,000 5,000 hectares 5,000 15,000 Hectares More than 15,000 hectares Total Number of BWDB Projects/ Schemes 25 104 210 148 82 544 Area covered (hectares) 40,127 574,919 1,202,246 4,181,118 5,998,410 Management Responsibility WMAs WMAs Joint Management by BWDB with stakeholders Same as above Ownership

Local Government BWDB BWDB BWDB

127. Even with fully functioning status of the water schemes, adequate provision of maintenance of the schemes would not be possible under the present financial position. The normal year allocation for BWDB recurrent budget is about $30 million, whereas the maintenance of nearly 600 water infrastructures (at a total cost of about $ 3.4 billion) would require at least $90 million a year for adequate maintenance. Some estimates would put annual maintenance requirement at a much higher figure. 128. Need for Beneficiary Participation. Depending entirely on Government budget resources for O&M does not seem plausible. In fact, allocation from government budget has been lately declining even though the total O&M needs are in fact increasing. As per national water policy and guidelines for participatory management transferring some completed projects to and assumption of financial burden by, beneficiary groups are desirable and should be possible to some extent. But one should not expect that this would be the cure for all the O&M problems now faced. 129. Since national resources were not adequate for proper upkeep of the infrastructure constructed, many progressively fell in disrepair. As the conditions progressively deteriorated, several attempts, with donor help, were made to rehabilitate the infrastructure. As for example, System Rehabilitation Project (SRP) was undertaken, with support from the World Bank, to rehabilitate 80 projects and put in place an O&M system that would have ensured no recurrence of deferred O&M, but its performance was not satisfactory. 130. In recent years, there have been some positive steps in developing an approach to operation and maintenance with the involvement of local groups. With support from WFP under
24 25

The scheme size in terms of hectares are indicative and used as a proxy. Status as of December 31, 1995

37 Food for Work Program, Embankment Maintenance Groups (EMGs) consisting of landless women have been established in some BWDB completed projects to do preventive/routine maintenance. Similar groups of landless men have been established as Canal Maintenance Groups (CMGs). So far more than 2,000 EMGs and CMGs have been established. Such programs have been well intentioned and proved quite effective as a mechanism for routine maintenance. However, wheat used for payment has caused some problems and a report FAP13: Operation and Maintenance Study estimates that there is leakage of 20-35% in the food for work program. The system has now been adapted to include part monetary payment when funds are available. Besides routine maintenance, a system has also been introduced for periodical/annual maintenance with the help of landless contracting societies a system that must be widely replicated. 131. However, these are externally funded, and far from sufficient to fulfill the gap required for sustainable O&M of FCD(I) schemes, calling for the need for local resource mobilization wherever possible. Nevertheless, one should also note here that NWP does not even provide for cost recovery for flood or coastal protection. So the first step toward cost sharing will be amendment of NWP. Furthermore, the non-applicability of exclusion principle would make it hard to charge fees for flood or protection from salinity in coastal areas. Betterment or protection tax will be the option to pursue and this will involve a though review of the present legal framework and powers and functions of local government bodies. 132. O&M Financing for Public Irrigation Schemes. The resource gap for O&M of irrigation facilities under some of the BWDB schemes, where NWP permits charging of irrigation fees from beneficiaries, is even more serious. Experience with cost recovery for irrigation has been dismal. A background paper for NWMP records that as of 1997-98, water rates were charged only in six of the 15 large schemes involving surface water irrigation, although by end 2000, the system was extended to another six and rates were raised. Currently the irrigation fees vary between Tk. 250-500 per ha per year. 133. According to the background paper for NWMP and paper from BWDB, the following sums were collected from six schemes 26 involving irrigation for the period 1994-95 to 2001-02. Table 7. Irrigation Service Fee Collection
Year 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-2000 2000-2001 Total sum assessed (TKM) 36.5 18.9 15.3 28.4 21.6 11.0 8.00 Total sum collected (TKM) 1.4 1.8 1.0 0.7 0.8 0.2 0.2 Percentage of collection 4% 10% 6% 3% 4% 2% 2%

Source: NWMP and BWDB

134. The low recovery of cost is widely recognized to be a central problem of BWDB irrigation schemes. Table 7 clearly demonstrates the scale of the problem, which seems to have worsened over the years. It is a reflection in part of the poor quality of irrigation services. Several studies establish that farmers want and are willing to pay for reliable supplies of irrigation water. According to the evaluation report on System Rehabilitation Project in 1998, the

The six projects are: GK, Chandpur, Karnaphuli, Main River, DND and Buri Teesta

38 low collection has been partly due to procedural complexities including neglect of beneficiaries in the assessment and collection process. Even though legal provisions for collection of water rate have been in place for some time (through 1983 Water Rate Ordinance), the enforcement mechanism is weak and collection is minimal. 135. One should also note here that Tk.250 assessed (for most projects) per irrigable ha is even less than 10% of what is needed for O&M alone (leaving aside the depreciation of the capital) and the actual collection is below 5% of the assessed fee. This illustrates the nature of the gap that exists in cost recovery and the burden that the Government has to bear if its revenue budget remains the only source for meeting O&M expenditures. 136. A careful evaluation was made of the O&M budget and expenditure position of Ganges Kobadak Irrigation Project, the largest surface water irrigation project. The evaluation study found that BWDB budgeted O&M costs in 1997-98 were about Tk.2,650 per ha, whereas the actual allocation between 1995-98 has been Tk.1,640 per ha per annum. ADB estimated the level of O&M funding required for project sustainability to be about Tk.3,880 per ha. Against this requirements, consider the charged fee of Tk.500 per ha 27 of which no more than 4% was collected. This illustrates further the gap that now exists in respect to large irrigation projects. The experience with GK or for that matter with all other BWDB schemes involving irrigation do raise question about desirability of surface water irrigation schemes for areas where ground water is available for irrigation. 137. In recent years, the Government has renewed their efforts to improve the O&M cost recovery of public irrigation schemes through the ADB-assisted Loan No. 1399: Command Area Development Project, focusing on the two FCDI subprojects: Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Project and Meghna-Dhonagoda Irrigation Project. The loan has assisted the rehabilitation of the irrigation canal network and establishment of the joint management framework following the NWP with the formation of local water management associations (WMAs). Improved irrigation service fee collection system is also being established with the preparation of the new regulation (Regulation on Irrigation Service Fee (ISF) Imposition, Collection and Usage) that authorizes the project authorities to retain and utilize the ISF collected through WMAs. ISF has also been substantially increased and its collection is being started. Its process, arrangements, and performance is closely monitored under the said project and the follow-on Loan No.1941: Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project that is providing support for riverbank protection in the same project area. b. Urban Water Inftastructure

138. Bangladesh has about 550 urban centers, including 64 district towns. The largest cities, Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, and Rajshahi account for almost 50 per cent of the urban population. Excluding these cities, there are just over 100 urban centers with populations above 50,000 containing about 25 per cent of the urban population. The balance of the urban population is located in small towns. 139. Water Supply and Sanitation. Piped water supply coverage is about 38 per cent in these urban areas. Water supply in the large urban areas of Bangladesh has never been developed in a planned manner. Rather, individuals and companies progressively sink deep tube wells as needed to augment water supplies. The small urban centers are characterized by

This is highest rate charged that BWDB charges annually in GK project. In other irrigation projects water rate is lower 250-300 annually.

39 an almost total lack of piped water supply. Rather, water is supplied mostly by hand tube wells, which is subject to various forms of contamination including arsenic and, where well maintenance is poor, faecal contamination. 140. The Governments policies for water supply and sanitation have evolved over the past several years. The National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation, published in 1998, among other things, defines the requirements for sharing the capital cost of water supplies, and promotes the concept of a service delivery process whose focal point will be the user communities. The National Water Policy allocates the highest priority to domestic and municipal use in times of water shortage, aims to facilitate availability of safe and affordable drinking water supplies, and sets out to protect the interests of low-income water users. The improvements in the policy framework are not buttressed by improved institutional capacity. 141. At the national level, the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development, and Cooperatives is responsible for administering development by the local governments, including those in the water supply and sanitation sector. Under this Division, the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) is responsible for providing water supply and sanitation services. In Dhaka and Chittagong, autonomous water and sewerage authorities carry out water supply, sewerage, and drainage development. In the medium-size urban centers, the Pourashavas are responsible for water supply and sanitation services. 142. A number of factors leading to poor operation and maintenance of water supply systems have been identified. Key among these are: (i) (ii) Community involvement in the systems has been low, in large part because of the limited capability of DPHE to provide guidance to the Pourashavas in this area. O&M costs far exceed the revenue generated from taxes and tariffs. For FY 2000, water supply operation and maintenance costs for 61 District Pourashavas were reported as Tk.617 million while income was reported as Tk.6 million.

143. Failure to improve operation and maintenance of the existing water supply systems results in wastage and illegal use and mitigates against system expansion. This in turn impacts heavily on the low-income and hard-core poor among the urban population since they have the most limited access to potable water. In this regard, ADBs strategy, which is consistent with policies of Government is to (i) strengthen cost recovery and financial management, (ii) improve financial self-sufficiency through improved billing, revenue collection and tariffs, (iii) facilitate community participation to achieve long-term service sustainability through community management of the services. 4. Corruption

144. This issue is strongly interwoven with the capacity to manage effective delivery of water resources interventions discussed above. It variously affects, staff appointments and transfers with the result that merit considerations are over-ridden, appointment and management of contractors with the result that inappropriately qualified contractors are engaged, and transparency with the result that participatory processes are undermined. There are also reported incidences where construction quality is seriously compromised, in particular underwater works such as placement of revetment for river bank protection, as well as some earthworks (such as re-excavation of canals and even visible embankments). All of these combine to impact on the quality of the services that are delivered, and seriously undermine the credibility, reliability, and accountability of public service agencies.

40 145. It is arguable that, in its various forms, corruption acts in direct conflict with the poverty agreement signed between ADB and Government and, more broadly, undermines the poverty agenda of all development partners, by reallocating and misallocating resources intended to improve the welfare of specified target groups. Whilst no one agency or department can address this in isolation, it is necessary to keep this issue on the agenda, and to the extent practicable, incorporate measures that provide a reasonable level of oversight. Measures could include: establishing corruption as a factor determining ADBs continued involvement in a sector; at a project level, obtaining personal commitments from the most senior executive(s) of the executing agencies to control misallocation of funds; and conducting running audits that determine subsequent fund releases. C. 1. Key Technical Issues River Erosion

146. Most traditional structural flood control projects in Bangladesh have involved constructing embankments to confine river floods. However, along many of the rivers in the country, much of the damage to human settlements and infrastructure has been caused primarily by riverbank erosion and channel instability, not from periodic flooding or inundation. This is because most of the rivers flow through unconsolidated sediments of the GangesBrahmaputra-Meghna floodplain and delta, which are susceptible to erosion by river current and wave action. Bank erosion includes bank slumping due to undercutting and local scouring, progressive channel shifting and avulsion formation, which involves the creation of new channels during floods. The Teesta, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Meghna, and Surma-Kushiyra rivers all flow within well-defined meander belts on extensive floodplain where erosion is heavy. The Bangladesh Water Development Board has estimated that about 1,200 kilometers of riverbank is actively eroding and more than 500 kilometers face severe problems related to erosion. Since 1973, the Jamuna River has progressively widened, eroding over 70,000 ha of floodplain land while accreting only about 11,000 ha. Expansion is taking place primarily through destruction of floodplain land and creation of short-lived, low-lying char land. Whereas local people may be able to adapt to recurring flooding, they find riverbank erosion and channel instability difficult to cope with. Social impacts include increased impoverishment and landlessness, loss of income generation, reduced security, and social displacement. 147. Efforts to control bank erosion and stabilize floodplain lands have only been carried out relatively recently on the major rivers. Until the 1960s, bank protection works were mainly restricted to areas upstream of Hardinge Bridge on the river Ganges and to local town protection works such as those constructed at Sirajganj. Studies conducted under FAP-1 were intended to provide a detailed strategy for the containment of the Brahmaputra River and the improved performance of flood control measures on the right bank floodplain. However, only two structural intervention options were considered: (i) full canalization of the entire river and (ii) installation of up to 27 hard-points (groynes) based on various geomorphic studies. It has proved difficult to justify the huge cost required for these works. Selected structures have been implemented, with mixed success. So far, these works have only been able to withstand moderately aggressive conditions. In some instances when subjected to aggressive attack, substantial repairs and expensive maintenance works have been required. Therefore, the longterm viability and effectiveness of such works is still subject to considerable uncertainty. 148. These efforts to control river migration by means of expensive hard protection and structural measures represent the traditional engineering approach to river management conducted on many of the larger rivers in North America and Europe during the 19th and 20th

41 centuries. Contemporary river management strategies oriented towards forecasting future erosion hazards, reducing hazard through non-structural measures such as strategic retirement of infrastructure and re-settlement of affected habitation, and on developing low-cost measures for erosion control. Some pilot-scale programs have been attempted recently along the Jamuna River and Meghna Estuary near Haimchar. Among these, ADB has initiated the JamunaMeghna River Erosion Mitigation Project to pilot test and establish low-cost erosion mitigation measures using sand-filled geo-textile bags with combination of non-structural measures. 149. Requirements for river management include strong institutions with capacities for forecasting river behavior and future river evolution. The two institutions best positioned to provide support to river management activities are EGIS and the Institute of Water Modeling (IWM). However, IWM tends to rely on math models rather then satellite imagery/air photos/field investigations followed by the use of geomorphic analyses to make final conclusions. Mathematical modeling is most useful for very short-term prediction and design of large structures, but less appropriate for planning purposes, forecasting large-scale river behavior, threats to towns/infrastructure etc. There is a strong need for strengthening in the area of river interpretation-forecasting river behavior, etc. 2. a. Rural/ Urban Land and Water Management Rural Areas

150. Despite rapid urbanization, the rural population is still forecast to grow by 5 million people over the coming 25 years. Although significant improvements in agricultural productivity are possible, these productivity increases will not necessarily lead to commensurate increases in the number of people working in agriculture. In promoting sound rural growth, rationalization (including rehabilitation, improvement, and demolishment) of existing rural FCI(I) infrastructure, which was constructed with huge amount of resources ($3.4 billion since 1972) and yet has not delivered the intended benefits, remains a major issue. 151. The attached map shows the FCD and FCDI projects of BWDB. According to the map FCDI has almost covered 60% of cultivable area. So far BWDB has completed about 13,000 km of embankment, 8,000 km of canal excavation (for irrigation and drainage) and over 13,000 hydraulic structures. Table 8 is on the inventory prepared until 1995. Of the area covered by BWDB schemes, just over 20% area is covered by coastal embankment and nearly 15% of the projects have irrigation component. Table 8. Existing BWDB FCDI (Completed) Schemes by Size (1995)
Types FCD: No Area (ha) FC: No Area (ha) FCDI: No Area (ha) CFCD(contd) No Area (ha) Small (<1000ha) 14 5122 5 2300 6 3,029 9 5,078 Medium (1000-5000ha) 38 94,631 11 26,212 30 85,968 58 172,321 Large (500015,000ha) 24 213,779 7 61,107 27 241,659 47 365.557 Very large (>15,000ha) 19 942,771 1 159,611 16 1,108,425 22 617,080 Total up to Dec 1995 95 1,256,303 24 249,230 79 1,439,081 136 1,160,036

Types DR: No 16 Area (ha) 7,666 SFCD: (sub-mergible) No 3 Area (ha) 1,231

Small (<1000ha)

Medium (1000-5000ha) 43 107,624 9 35,686

Large (500015,000ha) 15 109,096 13 91,030

Very large (>15,000ha) 8 303,950 4 133,982

Total up to Dec 1995 82 528,336 29 261,929

NWMPP estimates based on data from BWDB and the Water Sector Improvement Programme (WSIP) studies.

152. If one considers the fact that the substantial parts of North West and South West Regions are not prone to flooding, one can conclude that most of the country where flood protection is needed and practicable already has some form of FCD. However, their physical condition is not precisely known and conditions vary greatly from one scheme to another. According to various evaluation studies and consultation with zonal chief engineers, about half of the projects are either non-operative or are functioning much below their full capacity. Many of these projects have fallen in serious disrepair. Inadequate O&M, lack of beneficiary participation, and inappropriate design in some cases - as for example, inadequate provision for drainage has been central problems. Another reason for such condition of the schemes is that many projects were not completed according to their original design. Often the completion of the schemes took much longer than the originally stipulated time, generally due to the time needed to acquire land for the infrastructure to be constructed. Table 9 presents the regional distribution of FCDI projects until 1995. Table 9. Regional Distribution of Existing BWDB FCD (completed) Schemes
FCD Type FCD/FCDI/FC No Area (000ha) CFCD (coastal) No Area (000ha) SFCD (submergible) No Area (000ha) Drainage Only (D/ID) No Area (000 ha) TOTAL No Area (000ha)
Source: NWMP estimates

NW Region 53 1662.6 -

NC Region 54 209.5 -

NE Region 32 232.0 -

SW Region 34 572.5 45 465.0

SC Region 8 27.1 56 442.5

SE Region 11 379.9 5 102.6

Eastern Hills Region 12 85.9 33 110.4

18 30.9 73 1693.5

2 5.5 7 44.9 63 259.9

28 258.4 6 47.7 66 538.2

27 414.9 106 1392.4

8 26.7 72 496.3

34 205.3 50 687.8

3 42.4 48 238.7

153. Opportunities for Small-scale Interventions for Rural FCD(I): While there has been little progress to implement the principles of the NWP in the rural FCD(I) schemes, there has been certain progress to rehabilitate and promote small-scale FCD(I)s following the NWP by LGED. Since 1996, LGED has completed 280 schemes covering over 75,000 ha of land under the Small-Scale Water Resources Development Sector Projects (SSWRDSP) financed by ADB, IFAD and Netherlands Government. SSWRDSP, in some sense, complements BWDB projects because most SSWRDSP schemes are in areas covered by larger BWDB polder system. At

43 least two thirds of the sub projects are within existing FCD infrastructure. The complementary scheme of the type SSWRDSP is needed partly to correct problems from BWDB projects or to improve/extend the project scope on the basis of felt need of the beneficiaries. Beneficiary organizations called Water Management Cooperative Associations (WMCA) have been developed to help plan and implement and then to operate and maintain the schemes. Each WMCA is required to contribute 3% of earthwork capital costs, 1.5% of structure costs, and 30% of land costs and to bear the full O&M costs. 154. Public Surface Irrigation Schemes: NWMP has stressed that there is no economic justification to go for public surface water irrigation involving large-scale high-lift pumping such as the system in the Ganges Kobadak Project, as demonstrated by its high O&M requirement of nearly Tk4,000 that is substantially higher than the shallow tube-wells. However, surface water irrigation system of the type of the Muhuri and the Chandpur projects where the gravity flow and low left pumps are used can still be justified because of low cost of irrigation from these projects. Similarly irrigation in small-scale project by LGED can be economic because the use of submergible barrier and use of low lift pumps. However, these may still not be suitable for areas where there now exists high potential for shallow tubewells, i.e., areas except northeast, coastal salinity-affected areas, and part of the northwest, southwest, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts where groundwater levels are low. In areas where shallow tubewells are difficult and expensive, minor irrigation schemes involving submersible dams and use of low lift pumps would be advisable. However, the resolution of O&M cost recovery problem is essential to consider the prospects for further expanding the public irrigation schemes. b. Urban Areas

155. An important issue facing Bangladesh is the growth of population relative to arable land and the implications of the accompanying rapid urbanization. 28 The extent to which these two aspects are managed over the next two decades will have considerable influence on well-being. 156. Urban areas process most of the countries exports, are driving economic growth, and accounted for more than 42 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 1998-99. Dhaka accounts for nearly one-third of the urban population but in the medium term, the growth of Dhaka is forecast to slow as trade with India, Nepal, and Bhutan becomes more important to the economy. Urbanization of the Khulna-Northwest Corridor is growing rapidly because it contains more flood-free land than any other corridor and is the route from Nepal to the port of Mongla. 157. The rapid urbanization in Bangladesh is characterized by: (i) very bad ambient air and water quality, (ii) high incidence (more than 27 per cent) of the population living in extreme poverty, (iii) substandard housing conditions resulting from high land prices, insecurity of tenure, and lack of loan finance, and (iv) non-availability of piped water in more than 80 per cent of the households. Projections of urban growth dictate that future investments need to be strongly oriented to supporting development of the urban areas in a manner supporting economic growth and equality as well as quality of life. Issues requiring specific support include (i) in Dhaka, emphasizing poverty reduction; (ii) supporting businesses that stimulate the demand for


The population of Bangladesh is forecast to rise from the present 129 million (102 million rural and 27 million urban) to an estimated 181 million people (107 million rural and 73 million urban) in 2025. NWMPP Study Team. (2000b). "National Water Management Plan Project Annex F: Social Analysis.", Water Resources Planning Organization.

44 unskilled labor; (iii) emphasizing the housing sector; (iv) strengthening institutions; and (v) developing relevant urban infrastructure. 29 158. Infrastructure to protect urban communities from flooding needs to be an inherent element, along with the provision of water supply and sanitation. In addition to creating considerable hardship and dislocation of urban residents, floods have a serious impact on urban economic activity. Most severely affected are often the urban poor who are living on undeveloped property, whose limited access to potable water is further reduced, and whose employment suffers. While some urban flood protection has been provided since the major flood events of 1988 and 1998, there is a need to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to flood hazard reduction in urban centers. Simultaneously, this would mean addressing issues including recovering costs and establishing and monitoring the implementation of appropriate design standards for flood protection and drainage. 3. Disaster Management

159. Water sector related disasters include floods, cyclones, droughts, and erosion. The interest of the public, officials, and financiers in these problems and opportunities tends to fluctuate considerably and depends largely on the temporal proximity to a past disaster. The level of interest in turn affects resource allocations in an environment in which there is considerable competition for scarce resources. This notwithstanding, the Government places strong emphasis on stable agricultural production to ensure food security. 160. A significant water related disaster is flooding, the direct effects of which are: loss of life, reduced crop production, and infrastructure damage. Prior to the 1950s, apart from railway and road embankments, there was little large-scale infrastructure to modify the flood regime. However, an outcome of the Krug mission and subsequent IECO Master Plan was the construction of more than 7,000 km of embankments many along major rivers. This channelization has had the effect of substantially increasing in-stream water levels, hindering drainage, and promoting in-channel sediment deposition as well as destabilizing the channel. As the protected areas become densely inhabited, ever more people are vulnerable to flood events that cannot be contained by the infrastructure. 161. During the past two decades, Bangladesh has made considerable progress in preparing for and managing the response to disastrous events and the 1998 flood demonstrated the effectiveness of the combined Government and NGO actions. Nevertheless, the October 2000 flood indicated additional resources should be warranted to improve forecasting, improve communication, and in general to improve preparation through increased annual budgets. ADB has supported Bangladesh in dealing with disastrous events through seven loans as well as through the reallocation of loan savings. Post-evaluation findings were that the support provided achieved the stated objectives and was generally very successful. There were no qualifiers to support of this type, nor outstanding issues that needed redress. 4. Groundwater Arsenic

162. High concentration of arsenic has been observed in groundwater since it was first detected in 1993. Contaminated wells exceeding the Bangladesh standard of 0.05mg/l have been identified in 61 of the countrys 64 districts, and in about 30% of the their total number. It

P.1-11 in EGIS Consulting Australia PTY Ltd 2000. ADB TANo.3226BAN: Urban Sector Strategy.

45 has been estimated that the population of 25 million to 36 million are exposed to arsenic health risk of causing skin, liver, and renal deficiencies including cancer. While the number of identified arsenicosis patients has remained about 13,000 in mid 2002, there are a large number of unidentified patients. This number is also anticipated to grow rapidly to a level of a few million in the next decades without effective mitigation measures, given the relatively short period of time elapsed since those contaminated groundwater wells were installed and started to be used by the population so far without any regulatory framework in place. 163. The countrys aquifer systems are divided into upper, middle, and deep aquifers. Arsenic is mostly found in wells taking water from the upper and middle aquifers. It is of natural origin, and believed to be released to groundwater under reducing conditions in aquifers from sedimentary materials containing the arsenic in potentially soluble forms that were transported 30 from the Himalayas and other high-lying source areas in the ancient times. 164. Since the late 1990s, many initiatives were launched by the Government, international and national NGOs, research institutions, and external funding agencies. Efforts have been focused on nationwide testing of wells and groundwater survey, emergency relief to heavily affected areas and identified patients, and pilot testing of mitigation options. Key initiatives include (i) groundwater studies (assisted by DFID with nationwide coverage and by JICA in three districts in the Southwest); (ii) Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation and Water Supply Project for national blanket screening of wells, emergency mitigation, pilot testing of remedial measures, health care, and awareness campaign (assisted by World Bank); (iii) Community-based Arsenic Mitigation Project that includes similar activities and has advanced to 45 upazilas (assisted by UNICEF); (iv) Arsenic Mitigation Pilot Project undertaken in 11 upazilas in coastal area (assisted by DANIDA); and (v) studies regarding the impacts of arsenic on the food chain (assisted by FAO and by AUSAID), among many others. These have resulted in good progress in testing of wells, identification of highly affected communities, and identification of alternative water supply options. However, progress in providing cost-effective and sustainable mitigating options as well as necessary health services have remained slow, due to the absence of policy, strategy and short, medium, and long term mitigation plans and a number of remaining technical, social, financial, and institutional constraints and knowledge gaps. 165. In January 2002, an international expert workshop was organized with the assistance of WHO, which successfully pinned down the key issues and recommendations towards effective arsenic mitigation. Specific issues to this end include (i) effective screening and continuous monitoring of wells; (ii) groundwater management to ensure sustainable use of arsenic-free aquifers; (iii) provision of appropriate short- to long-term mitigation options suitable to physical, social and economic conditions of the concerned areas; (iv) social and financial feasibility of mitigation options and affordability by the beneficiaries; (v) effective and proper referral chain for clinical case management; (vi) health worker capacity and awareness for case management; (vii) effective institutional arrangements and capacity development involving central and local governments, NGOs, and private sector; and (viii) fulfilling remaining knowledge gaps including the impacts on food chain. 166. The Government has also strengthened its efforts to address the arsenic problems in a holistic manner, and established a high level Secretaries Committee, which is supported by a National Committee of Experts to advise on technical issues. An Arsenic Policy Support Unit

On the other hand, while there is another hypothesis that arsenic is released from the pyrite through oxidation in association with expansion of groundwater irrigation and lowering of groundwater tables, this is not regarded as widespread occurrence, given the lack of compounds that releases arsenic in the oxidized conditions.

46 (APSU) has also been created in the Local Government Division and placed under the Secretaries Committee with DFID support to coordinate between the concerned ministries, and between the Government and the donors. 31 Under this improved institutional setup, the Government is now preparing a National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation (NPAM) and Implementation Plan for Arsenic Mitigation (IPAM) for its finalization in the near future. It is expected that these policy and strategy documents will provide guidance in undertaking arsenic mitigation activities. 167. (i) Key issues in addressing the arsenic problems include: Variations of arsenic concentration with time at a given well, once assumed to be negligible, are emerging as an area of concern. Effective national testing and monitoring is essential. Social feasibility of mitigation methodologies is key; educating and motivating village water users to undertake arsenic mitigation is neither quick nor easy A range of mitigation options will be needed to cover differing local conditions, and methodologies need to be developed to enable field workers to assess local conditions and determine which options are applicable (Ravenscroft 2001). Induced arsenic contamination of the deep aquifer by improperly drilled wells is a concern. Arsenic mitigation needs to be fully integrated into rural water supply development programs; it is not a band aid to be applied separately. Health studies should be undertaken to look for environmental co-factors in the Bangladesh context that either protect from or enhance the toxic effects of arsenic, as it has been observed that not all exposed persons develop symptoms. Environmental Management

(ii) (iii)

(iv) (v) (vi)


168. There are two aspects to environmental management of water resources development: firstly, defining the environmental issues, and secondly developing the means to address those issues effectively. 169. Over the last decade, a great deal has been achieved in understanding what are the key sector environmental issues. General water environment sector issues include: socio-economic and productive impacts associated with land acquisition; bounding of schemes; interaction with other development projects and trends; cumulative impacts; and environment-on-project impacts due to river erosion or climate change. 32 With respect to rural flood control, drainage, and irrigation key water environment issues include: protection of remaining biodiversity; managing conflicts between agriculture and fisheries; and the distributive socio-economic impacts of altering access to common property resources. With respect to urban and periurban flood control and drainage, key issues include: rapidly changing land use; encroachment on infrastructure; pollution; and drainage congestion.
31 32

DFID is also preparing a Support for National Arsenic Mitigation Program, which aims to support capacity building, coordination, and knowledge generation/ management and dissemination through APSU. Climate change with attendant sea level rise forecast between 9 and 88 cm over the next century is more fundamentally a planning issue. By default, designers of infrastructure use a null hypothesis for sea level rise and there is a need to make conscious decisions on alternative scenarios that will be factored into water management infrastructure design. There is also a need to review design parameters of existing infrastructure, particularly in the coastal areas.

47 170. Addressing environmental issues effectively involves developing technical means and institutional capacity. Technical means refer to feasible approaches that achieve environmental objectives. Institutional capacity includes policies and laws, 33 implementing and enforcement agencies, and stakeholder participation. 171. Much progress has been made in developing solutions to the project-on-environment impacts. For example, it has become increasingly clear that under certain hydrologic conditions, improved drainage benefits agriculture and is much more benign in terms of its impacts on other sectors than are flood control embankments. On the other hand, the environment-on-project impacts are much more difficult and costly to quantify and address. In some instances, such as in the case of an eroding river, this would lead to a strategy of avoidance. In both types of impacts, it needs to be recognized that innovation and experimentation are essential to develop better alternatives. 172. Bangladesh has put in place an apex national agency, the Department of Environment (DOE) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. DOE is assigned with significant responsibilities related to monitoring, standards, issuing clearances, and so on, but is seriously under-resourced with respect to these responsibilities. As a result, there is little enforcement of existing laws and policies. A number of institutional strengthening initiatives are underway. 34 173. Beneath DOE, the intention was to create environmental cells down through the administrative hierarchy within the line agencies, local government etc. The latter has yet to be implemented, so the existing agency framework for environmental management consists of the DOE and its several District level field offices. In practice, much environmental management does occur but it is donor driven, with each donor applying its own environmental guidelines (plus those of the GOB) to its own projects. Further work is required to tailor the environmental guidelines since the same process is required for large and small-scale investments even though the scale of potential impacts varies substantially. 174. Bangladesh needs to address the following fundamental weaknesses if environmental management is to be improved: (i) the lack of a holistic approach to environmental issues, (ii) the absence of mechanisms to support bottom-up (participatory) environmental initiatives, (iii) insufficient environmental appreciation within institutions and a corresponding lack of commitment to develop resources, and (iv) poor inter-agency coordination and cooperation (NWMPP Study Team 2000a). 6. Fisheries

175. The contribution of fisheries to gross domestic product is reportedly about three per cent and represents about seven per cent of total protein intake in Bangladesh. Total fish production has reportedly increased on average by more than four per cent per year in the past decade with much of the increase attributable to a rapid expansion of inland fish aquaculture, which grew on average almost 10 per cent annually. 35 176. Open water capture fisheries is affected by a number of factors that include: (i) over fishing; and (ii) habitat reduction and destruction that results from flood control and drainage
33 34 35

The 1995 Environmental Conservation Act; The Environmental Conservation Rules of 1997; The 1997 EIA Guidelines for Industries; and The 1999 Environmental Court Act. These include a UNDP supported Sustainable Environment Management Programme and a CIDA supported Bangladesh Environment Management Project. Source: Department of Fisheries fish catch statistics, from the Fisheries Resources Survey System.

48 works as well as silting of beels and channels. This has resulted in fish catch as well as biodiversity declining. A characteristic of this fishery, as a common property resource, is that of progressive equity distribution (benefits go overwhelmingly to the poorest). This characteristic has been nullified by the fishery leasing/land revenue system. Government policy targets the hard-core poor and this resource should be explicitly incorporated as an element in a strategy to reach this target group. 177. Culture fisheries are forecast to continue as the main source of growth in fish production in the future and can mitigate the negative impacts associated with changes in habitat wrought by flood control and drainage infrastructure. However, a characteristic of the culture fishery is that this enterprise requires resources, both land (containing a pond) and capital. Thus, without the infusion of external resources including training, this business is not accessible to those without assets. Through training and appropriate institutional structures, it is possible to promote agreements between fishers and land-owners to their mutual benefit. Particularly where the culture fishery environment is enhanced through construction of flood control infrastructure, resources need to be allocated to promote equitable distribution. 36


Cultured fish disperse when floods inundate confined water bodies.


178. This section highlights the priority agendas by the Government to move towards the sector goals envisaged under the NWP and ongoing and prospective interventions by the external assistance agencies to assist the Government in addressing those agendas. 1. Water Policies, Plans, and Legal Framework

179. NWP. Bangladesh has put in place a sound water policy and other related policies, which provide the framework for formulating the NWMP. The key related policies and their dates of formulation are: National Environment Policy (1992), National Forestry Policy (1994), National Energy Policy (1996), National Policy for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation (1998), National Fisheries Policy (1998), National Agricultural Policy (1999), Industrial Policy (1999), Land Use Policy (2001). Many of these policies would now require updating and extension. NWP has to be revised to formulate measures for cost recovery partially from beneficiaries of flood protection. Another major need for the future is to formulate policies for fiscal decentralization to provide for resources at the disposal of local bodies to take more responsibilities for local development, including water resource management and development. 180. NWMP. The most important step for the Government now is to initiate actions on the draft NWMP. The draft NWMP was prepared to translate the government NWP into an operational strategy and to provide guidance to future investment for water resource management. The Executive Committee of NWRC already endorsed the plan. This will also provide a framework for donor coordination in water resource management. 181. While approving the NWMP, provision has to be made to extend and update the plan. Extension and updating of the NWMP will have to be done particularly in the following areas: (i) (ii) (iii) Elaborating the regional plans to include what needs to be done at the regional level to meet water and drainage needs; Providing a framework to link NWMP with local level water resource planning (at the zila and upazila levels); and Providing priority and strategic directions for future investment in water resource management.

182. An appropriate extension and updating of the present plan and periodic revision of the plan would be possible only if steps are taken urgently to strengthen WARPO. Besides water management plans, work has to continue in other water related issues. The NWP also needs to be revised from time to time, especially to develop an effective system of cost recovery for even non-irrigation projects of water resource management. Here the policy revision in the water sector will have to closely link with policy and program development of the Government in rural development, local government system and fiscal decentralization. 183. National Water Act. As noted, a national water act is needed to provide a framework for water abstraction, licensing for water extraction, administering water rights in designated water scarcity zone, water quality management and pollution control and demand management. To provide this framework, the draft water act was being formulated. The draft act has to be finalized after due consultation with all concerned, and the bill has to be enacted. As this

50 legislation process is in progress, administrative machinery and procedures for administering the law should be designed. Existing institutions, such as MOWR, WARPO, BWDB, Local Government Councils, and local civil administration, should be reviewed to evolve a system for administering the water act. 184. Assistance by External Funding Agencies. The process of preparing the NWP, the draft NWMP, and the draft national water act per se was assisted by the loan provided by the World Bank 37 and was mostly undertaken from 1997-2001. It was pursued based on the experience of the past and ongoing sector operations 38 and in consultation with local stakeholders and international and domestic experts, and external funding agencies. While the draft NWMP is awaiting the approval by the NWRC and the preparation of the draft national water act is half way through, the World Bank has shown its willingness to provide follow-on support to strengthen the NWMP and further prepare the draft national water act, under the proposed Water Management Improvement Project (WMIP), with co-financing by the Government of the Netherlands. Consolidating the outputs, experience and the lessons of various sector interventions including those assisted by ADB is essential in further pursuing the process. A local consultative group of external funding agencies on water has been established to facilitate coordination among donors in promoting sector reforms and proceeding with various sector operations. 2. Reform and Restructuring of Key Institutions

185. WARPO. WARPO is to perform a critical role for the water resource management sector, especially in providing support to macro level water planning and for the national water resource database. Different options for improving capability of WARPO can be considered to provide appropriate employment packages, including establishing WARPO as Government owned trust under a Board of Governors. A permanent, suitably built high tech office will have to be provided to WARPO, potentially sharing this facility with other GOB trusts such as (IWM, CEGIS) and the Joint River Commission. In addition, specific measures will have to be taken to strengthen the planning and monitoring capabilities. 186. Since WARPOs current mandate is to provide advice and support to the ECNWRC and also to the Planning Commission, WARPO does not have any executive powers. Instead, it is expected to become center of excellence as a specialized service provider, providing advice and guidance on all water related matters, including the preparation of a management plan. A team of experts may be engaged to help build the analytical and plan overseeing capacity of WARPO in the beginning phase. WARPO also has to strengthen its role in overseeing and coordinating the maintenance and updating of national water resource date (NWRD) base. It is envisaged that WARPO in this connection will work with other data agencies and address issues such as: data format compatibility, establishment of consolidated observation network and rational storage and retrieval system. Operational linkages will have to be encouraged with the IWM for resource modeling, with CEGIS for data base maintenance and broader environmental impact monitoring of water sector development activities, and with Bangladesh Institute for Development Studies for economic and regulation issues.

37 38

Under a component provided under the Riverbank Protection Project, which was approved for $121.9 million in 1995 and closed in 2001. For example, ADB assistance for SSWRDSP with LGED under the Local Government Division has provided a basis for moving towards the transfer of smaller schemes to local government institutions and beneficiary organizations under the NWP.

51 187. In promoting above reforms, the Government needs to define appropriate institutional responsibility and arrangements to establish/ strengthen various water management functions envisaged under the draft water act including administration of water license and water rights, and WARPOs roles and responsibilities may have to be further revised in this context. 39 188. BWDB. As noted, BWDB reform has started, but has a long way to go. Further reforms will have to be carried out in phases and will be guided by the long-term vision about BWDB. The long term vision is that BWDB will be decentralized into regional bodies along eight hydrological zones 40 and its central organization will be much smaller in size but will have staff with highly specialized engineering, economic and environmental skills. The exact form of the new organization cannot be specified at this stage as the thinking is evolving under the Twining Arrangement. Various options, however, could be considered including that of a national water commission as a National River and Flood Management Administration to only manage the national rivers and the river basins. 189. While the exact shape of BWDB in the long run has to emerge through intensive consultation within BWDB (which has already started under Twining Arrangement with the Government of the Netherlands) and discussions outside BWDB with other concerned agencies, certain goals should be kept in view in shaping the future of BWDB. These goals are: decentralization, stakeholder ownership/participation and multi-sectoral coordination. 190. An important unfinished task in reforming the mandate and role of BWDB in the shortrun to start the process of transferring small -scale FCDI projects to beneficiaries, as provided under NWP. Other remaining issues include (i) strengthening multi-disciplinary capacity to promote participatory management of water resource schemes towards management transfer of small and medium (up to 5,000ha) schemes to local water management associations (WMAs) and towards joint management for large schemes; (ii) strengthening stringent internal quality control systems for WMA institutional development, procurement, and physical construction processes with effective management information system; (iii) substantially strengthening local resource mobilization for sustainable O&M of public irrigation schemes in particular and flood control and drainage (FCD) schemes as well; (iv) improving investment as well as O&M budgetary management through performance-based, transparent and accountable budgetary allocation mechanism; and (v) transforming its regional entities into autonomous boards with a similar participatory setup. 191. Among these issues, promoting participatory management of public water resource schemes while strengthening the local O&M financing and rationalizing central budgetary support remain the critical issue. In public irrigation schemes, while farmers generally develop ownership and undertake self-sustained O&M of field channels, local resource mobilization for O&M of larger canals and pump stations generally remain very poor. While BWDB is preparing the Rules on Service Charge to authorize the project entities to collect, retain, and utilize the service charges for their own O&M, efforts need to be made to substantially strengthen WMA membership, prepare accurate land record, operate effective irrigation monitoring system, and


One option (being discussed within BWDB) includes transforming WARPO into a national water management organization by according them with the responsibilities of administering water appropriation, hydrological data management and trans-boundary river management issues with transfer of BWDBs Hydrology Department and Joint River Commission to merge with the current WARPO setup. Although hydrological zones can not be defined as separate basis, the NWMP has defined 8 hydrological regions Northwest, North Central, Northeast, Southeast, South Central, Southwest, Eastern Hills and the active flood plains and charlands of main estuary on the principles of homogeneity and interdependency of water source and drainage.

52 change field staff attitudes to be responsive to the beneficiary farmers needs. Regarding the FCD schemes, the task is more difficult due to the public good nature of the benefits, as well as the difficulty of identifying the benefit areas and their level of benefits. Development of strong WMAs to be able to manage the concerned facilities delegated to them is essential. 41 Along with these, the budgetary allocation from BWDB should also be rationalized and provided on the basis of scheme performance monitored in such indicators as farmer enrollment in WMAs and level of beneficiary contribution, with stringent budgetary management mechanisms to disallow any leakage to poorly performing schemes at the field level. 192. LGIs. Development of a democratic local government system that will design and execute local development projects and provide responsive services is a key step for the future. It is hoped that the present government will vigorously pursue the initiative it has already taken in re-establishing democratically elected local government in different tiers. Once the different tires are established, the Government will hopefully delegate increasing responsibilities to the local government bodies. The local government commission (LGC) report of 1997 makes useful and relevant recommendations to the government on how to increase accountability, resources, and authority and implementation capacity of local governments. 193. It is hoped that the government will follow the recommendations of 1997 report in taking steps to strengthen the local government bodies after they are democratically elected and start functioning. Decentralization must be combined with accountability and adherence to rules. And there will be a need for sufficient resources at the local level to enable the local governments to deliver services. In this connection, 1997 LGC Report made a sound recommendation that a Local Government Finance Committee or Commission should be set up to devise ways to strengthen fiscal base of local government bodies. The commission could begin by designing inter-government transfers to improve competition for supply of public goods and services, while increasing accountability and regional equality all without undermining fiscal discipline. In addition to these general steps to be taken to establish and strengthen LGIs, some special steps will have to be taken to meet the management and training needs of LGI personnel to take over water resource management responsibilities. 194. LGED. As the local government system is reestablished and starts functioning, LGEDs role will eventually have to change. When all the different tires of the local government come into effect, the local development activities will be determined by the local councils and not through central mechanism of LGED as it happens now. LGEDs role will be to assist the local government councils in all development projects. This could come as a natural progression from the present system of participatory management. Local LGED operators should become answerable to Local Government Council. It would be ideal that ultimately the LGED technical staffs are transferred to the payroll of the LG councils and funded through a mix of local taxation and central subventions. Also LGEDs capacity to ensure quality control for WMA institutional development, physical construction, and WMAs self-sustained O&M processes also needs strengthening. Furthermore LGEDs functions could be further expanded and strengthened in line with the progress of the Governments decentralization policy and programs, with necessary capacity development support at the field level. At the central level, LGED is rightly strengthening its functions in small-scale water resource planning and management by establishing a multi-disciplinary wing headed by Superintending Engineer to prepare and monitor overall vision, strategy, and national, regional and district plans while participating in necessary interdepartmental coordination for relevant policies, laws, guidelines, and plans.

This should be made as a stringent condition that should be achieved before initiating any physical works, with financial contribution equivalent to annual O&M cost to confirm their affordability.


195. Beneficiary Organizations. In the future, both BWDB and LGED would be reformed in manner that ensures an overall consistency in approach of involving beneficiaries under the framework provided by GPWM. When such consistency and unity of approach is achieved and the roles of these organizations are defined, a time may come when BWDB and supporting functions of LGED for water resource management can merge into one. 196. Fostering establishment and proper development of community level organizations to manage local water resources should be another key element of Government reform program. This is closely linked with the redefinition of BWDBs role and, as noted, the Government policy is to transfer management of small and local water resources to local communities. So there will be a need to support the establishment and development of satisfactory local community based organizations to manage small-scale water resource schemes. Luckily, the environment is favorable to achieve this. First, GPWM now exists and the guidelines provide the framework and procedures on how these communities based organizations would work. Second, now there have been some experiences with water user associations under FAP20 and CAD project executed by BWDB and with Water Management Cooperative Associations (WMCAs) under the ADB funded small-scale water resource management project (SSWRDSP) executed by LGED, the models can be replicated to other projects. Also, in some projects of BWDB, joint management committees have been adopted. Future community based organization of stakeholders, either at the primary use level or at the federation level, can be built on the experience gained so far with beneficiary groups (see the Box 2). Box 2. Lessons on Community Organization from an ADB Project
Important lessons can be learned about the approach to be pursued in stakeholder participation from one recently completed project. The project is: Small Scale Water Resource Development Sector Project. The project financed by ADB was designed to address the longstanding issues in Bangladesh water sector through an approach that put in place beneficiary participation in management and beneficiary ownership of completed infrastructure. The lessons show that the process of establishing vibrant and sustainable groups required a combination of time and skilled guidance. In total 280 WMCAs were formed, out of those about 124 were not performing well. An important factor in poor performance is faulty construction of the infrastructure for which the WMCA was formed. According to an evaluation report, the institutions developed for beneficiary participation water management association, water management group and water management federation and the informal arrangements for union level participation permitted their constructive engagement in water resource management. The preliminary assessment of the project shows that by and large the sub-projects generated moderate to considerable agricultural benefits. The assessment, however, stresses that institution building requires time. All WMCAs, according to this assessment, have not yet developed the necessary corporate commitment, dedication and ownership required to ensure sustainable operation and maintenance.

197. Assistance by External Funding Agencies. Major reforms in the institutional structure of WARPO and BWDB that led to the enactment of the 2000 BWDB Act have been defined and proceeded with strong leadership by the then-Secretary MOWR, with facilitating support provided through ongoing interventions assisted by external funding agencies, in particular the national sector reform component of the WB-assisted Riverbank Protection Project and the preparatory studies for the WMIP. ADB has contributed to the development of institutions for small-scale water resources interventions provided through LGED with the establishment of WMAs through SSWRDSP (with co-financing support by the Government of the Netherlands). The institutional arrangements and procedures developed under this project also provided a basis for the revised Guidelines for Participatory Water Management.

54 198. In recent years, a major contribution for further promoting the reforms in WARPO and BWDB is being provided by the Government of the Netherlands through its Twining Missions, which are aimed at assisting for water sector institutional reforms through a twining arrangement between the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and the MOWR in Bangladesh. A task force comprising BWDB senior and mid-level staff has been established with formation of 5 working groups to prepare, with the assistance of the twining missions, action plans for each of the focal areas for change, including (i) implementing the BWDB Act 2000; (ii) developing a strategic five-year plan for 2002-07; (iii) reforming procurement, accounting and financial management; (iv) human resource development; and (v) services and revenues. These action plans will be implemented up to 2006/07. 199. These action plans essentially provide a very good framework for further improving BWDBs institutional performance. Accordingly, it is essential that assistance by any external funding agencies be provided in conformity with the specified actions while enhancing their effective implementation. The proposed WMIP is to provide comprehensive capacity development support for BWDB and WARPO from this perspective. Its specific components for BWDB institutional improvement include (i) consolidation of reform initiatives already undertaken (such as finalizing the vision statement and improvement in Governing Council arrangements); (ii) staff training and development (with comprehensive review of BWDB capacity development plan); (iii) improvement in BWDBs skill mix; (iv) modernization of BWDB operation through computerization; (v) improved procurement and financial management; and (vi) divestiture of the Dredging Organization and Mechanical Equipment Organization of BWDB. Components for WARPO include (i) organizational development including WARPO restructuring, revision of WARPO Act, and human resources development; (ii) updating of national water database; and (iii) support for updating NWMP and integrated water resources management framework. ADB-assisted JMREMP (approved in 2002) also provide institutional support for improving BWDBs human resource management and O&M financial resource management relevant to river erosion mitigation and large-scale FCDI scheme management, in consistency with the action plans developed with the Twining Missions. 200. Regarding other rural water sector institutions such as LGED, LGIs, and WMAs, the SSWRDSP-2 (assisted by ADB with co-finance by the Netherlands) is providing major assistance for restructuring and strengthening LGEDs water resources development functions; defining the LGIs roles for small-scale water sector interventions, and establishing and strengthening WMAs as institutions that can take the full responsibility of sustained scheme O&M. WMIP, once launched, is also expected to provide support for these organizations. 3. Strategic Thrusts for Investments

201. Major investment thrusts coming out of the draft NWMP and building on the experience of past interventions include the following. 202. Integrated Water Resource Planning and Investments. Following the NWP and the draft NWMP, stage is set to move to an integrated water resource planning approach to implement water sector investments in specific areas. An effective water resource management would involve coordination between and among all relevant agencies at the ground level. It will also require involvement of all stakeholders in planning and implementation of water resource management system. Based on the board framework of NWMP, more detailed integrated plans need to be prepared at the sub regional levels for operational purposes. This is all the more important because of the diverse and complex environmental concerns (such as preservation of soil fertility, saving wetland and fisheries and preserving biodiversity) and social concerns (such

55 as equity among different water user groups). There are also vast opportunities to enhance investment benefits through cross-sectoral integration. To initiate an integrated approach to water resource management and services in Southwest area, the Government, with support from ADB, is currently preparing a project, whose outcome will guide the possible replication inother areas. The Netherlands-assisted project for Integrated Planning for sustainable water management (IPSWAM) is also undertaking an integrated planning approach focusing on several large-scale FCD schemes in the Southwest. 203. Multi-sectoral Programs for the Poor and Vulnerable. There are two specific areas where integrated planning approach could be most effective from the perspective of direct poverty reduction: (i) the coastal areas (affected by cyclones and storm surges) including char land (affected by insecurity of land holdings in addition to exposure to natural calamities); and (ii) the haor (low lying) areas (affected by floods) and internal char land (affected by land insecurity in addition to floods). (i) Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Development. The new comprehensive approach would look at complex coastal zone issues such as: hydrology, erosion and accretion, sea level rise, mangroves and other important ecosystems, agriculture, fisheries, shrimp culture, salt production, other economic activities, local navigation and water pollution. A start of this program has already been made by theGovernment by adopting an Integrated Coastal Zone Management strategy. As noted, BWDB had already built 9,000 km of embankment in the coastal areas, where the new multi-sector and integrated approach would now be adopted. In many of the coastal areas, drainage congestion has also become a problem, associated with the construction of embankments and resulting restriction of tidal flows. On the basis of the said strategy paper by the Government, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project study has been initiated with the assistance of the Government of the Netherlands and the Department for International Development (DFID) of UK, with the objectives of preparing a coastal zone development policy and strategy, and identifying priority interventions and the enabling environment as well as local community capacities. On the basis of the past assistance in the coastal areas, the World Bank is also considering providing follow-on investments to implement the strategy and priority programs. Integrated Flood Management in Haor and Inland Charland. Like shelter program in coastal areas, NWMP has rightly stressed the need for programs for inland flood proofing. NWFP records 42 that flood proofing interventions, involving mainly the raising of house plinths and the provision of communal flood shelter, is highly costeffective and socially beneficial, because the poor benefit most from these projects. Several donors have been effective in this area. USAID funded a flood proofing project, which at a cost $ 27 million over five years has provided flood proofing for 1,025 villages in 20 upazilas. DFID is also initiating a project to improve the livelihood of vulnerable people living in the Jamuna charland. JICA has also undertaken a study to construct flood shelters to the most vulnerable people that may eventually lead to an investment project. Besides these structural measures, non-structural measures such as flood zoning and early warning of flood would provide protection to the vulnerable. There are no adverse environmental effects and sustainability of these programs would be high because of its emphasis on community participation.



NWMP vol. 3 DM003

56 204. Small-scale Interventions. As noted, there are good opportunities to enhance rural incomes by improving local water management with small-scale interventions in Bangladesh. Such interventions are advantageous with their tendency for smaller conflicts of interests associated with the smaller number of stakeholders, and quick yielding nature of investments. Key opportunities include (i) providing opportunities for supplementary irrigation and culture fishery for the poor through water retention; (ii) resolving localized water management problems within the larger schemes and outside; and (iii) promoting agriculture and fishery development through flood protection in shallow flooded areas having minimum social and environmental impacts. The ADB-assisted SSWRDSP-1 and its successor SSWRDSP-2 are providing support to these ends, while paying due attention to help reduction of poverty and to create gender balance. Through promoting micro credit programs of Water Management Cooperation Association (WMCAs) and the provision of landless contracting societies LCS, which provided direct employment to the poor and landless. Based on the lessons of SSWRDSP-1, SSWRDSP2 (which covers the whole country) will continue to allow WMCAs to deal with micro credit and use landless contracting societies (LCS) for construction and maintenance of sub projects. Although the preliminary report raises the question whether WMCAs involvement in micro credit would dilute their O&M role, the gains outweigh the possible risk that WMCAs will deviate from its core activities in a number of subprojects. 205. River Management. Bangladesh being a lower riparian country, cannot expect to take up basin-wide management for major rivers. However, attention can be given to river management, which will aim at managing particular river system within the country to bring multipurpose benefits. Studies will therefore, have to be undertaken to establish cost-effective approach to long-term development of the river systems for multipurpose use. This will involve steps such as: preparation of the physical inventory of the whole river (existing infrastructure and the development along it), an assessment of present condition of the river, existing and future trends, consultation with stakeholders, appreciation of main hydraulic environmental and other water related problems and preparation of a management plan for the river. Besides BWDB, Local Government, local community, river management will have to also involve agencies like BIWTA and DOE. It would be resource intensive. The responsibilities for such river management work will have to be distributed as follows: WARPO having macro planning, BWDB retaining responsibility for main and regional rivers, local government (with technical support from LGED) taking responsibility for regional water management plans and water resource management within their areas and local communities assuming responsibility for field level system and local channels. 206. The draft NWMP accorded due priority in undertaking studies for long-term development in main and regional rivers with a focus on the water-stressed Ganges dependent areas, followed by major investments for water abstraction including the construction of barrages and regional water distribution networks. However, such study needs to be undertaken with due attention to the possible environmental and social impacts on the affected areas including transboundary implications. Given the high amount of necessary funding, its priority against other economic development agenda would also be an issue. Significant efforts for awareness and consensus building at the national and local levels are also essential. Such investment would also require expediting necessary reforms of the sector and beneficiary institutions to effectively deliver and sustain the intended benefits of such major investments, which are currently lacking. 207. To cope with the immediate socioeconomic and environmental problems associated with the reduced inflow into the Ganges dependent Southwest, the restoration of the Gorai River through appropriate river training of the Ganges and dredging of the Gorai River has been given

57 high priority under the draft NWMP. While assistance for the pilot dredging and preparatory studies for investment project has been provided by the Netherlands Government and the World Bank respectively, the process towards initiating the ensuing investment project is yet to be started. 208. Riverbank Erosion Mitigation. Riverbank erosion is a perennial problem caused by dynamic nature of the rivers in Bangladesh. The erosion affects annually about 100,000 people living on the riverbanks who will face significant social hardship such as loss of homestead and agricultural land. The draft NWMP calls for preparation of a master plan for river training on the basis of past and ongoing experience, and provision of bank stabilization works in combination to non-structural measures. In the past, erosion protection measures were taken at few locations of strategic importance. Such approaches were highly expensive and cannot be replicated except for protecting extremely valuable structures or places, such as the river training work for the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge and to a less extent the town protection works such as Sirajgonj (assisted by the World Bank), Chandpur and Rajshahi (protected by the Government funds). Hard structures constructed to directly control riverbank erosion tend to have had other negative effects such as causing stronger attack that may eventually lead to the collapse of the control structure and causing stronger erosion downstream, besides high cost. Recently a project, Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project, with finance from ADB, was launched. This project will test some cost effective (e.g. use of sand-filled geo-textile bags) and adaptive (i.e., trying to stabilize the river courses along the naturally developing alignments) approach to mitigate the riverbank erosion. While its successful implementation may expand the scope of stabilizing the river courses in relatively less strategic locations compared with the conventional approaches, they would still have to be combined with non-structural measures such as zoning of areas with high risks of floods and river erosion, and erosion forecasting and warning to vulnerable locations. 209. Rationalization of Existing BWDB Portfolio and Further FCD(I) Program. There is also high investment priority accorded in the draft NWMP to support a program to sustain the worthwhile water management infrastructures already built and make them operate more efficiently for wider economic benefit to the community. Since a huge amount of resources ($3.4 billion) has already been spent on the infrastructures, there is high pay off to any investment to rehabilitation any of the schemes, which the beneficiaries highly value. The impact on poverty alleviation will be potentially substantial, because the rehabilitated infrastructures will contribute to agricultural growth and rural development, particularly when due attention is provided to identify and meet the diverse interests of the poor people in relation to local water management problems. The rehabilitation, however, will have to be done after a careful assessment of the existing infrastructure and determination as to which structures are to be rehabilitated urgently, which are to be done in the medium-term and which ones are to be remodeled or in the extreme case which ones are to be abandoned or retained. Since resources are limited, a rationalization program of the existing infrastructure would be most desirable. 210. The first step toward rationalization program is to prepare an inventory of all schemes with an initial assessment by BWDB field staff about their present condition. Such an inventory will be assessed by external evaluators, who will visit sites of the schemes, consult the potential beneficiaries and obtain their views about the schemes. Then, for those schemes that are found viable, the next step is management transfer of schemes under 5,000 ha to local government and/or community organizations such as WMAs, and initiation of joint management by BWDB and these organizations for larger schemes, with necessary rehabilitation support. Regarding the ownership, transfer to local government is envisaged for smaller schemes up to 1,000 ha.

58 211. As to the schemes that are found unviable, BWDB will have to consider disengagement (i.e. abandonment) of some non-performing schemes. Before retirement, active measures may have to be taken for removing structures that cause drainage congestion and also raising awareness of farmers of possible changes in flood regime. For the other projects with clear benefit, rehabilitation (with or without remodeling) of them would be desirable to bring them into full operation to practice integrated water resource management. 212. Scheme viability will have to be justified on social, economic and environment and affordability grounds. Another test is the willingness of beneficiaries to take over project O&M up to 5,000 ha. For larger schemes similar test can be made by taking the views of the beneficiaries. Generally for all schemes to be continued with BWDB, pre-requirements of rehabilitation are environmental audit; participatory planning of beneficiaries in rehabilitation works, a commitment of the government to finance its share of the O&M cost; and establishment of a satisfactory mechanism for scheme management on a participatory basis, with transparent accountability. Thus, even the old projects now selected for rehabilitation will need to follow guidelines for Participatory Management and involve beneficiaries in planning rehabilitating or remodeling the scheme. Similarly a joint management structure should be in place before civil work starts. 213. The NWMP estimates that the value of total capital investment for FCD(I) infrastructure is about Tk.75 billion 43 and even after retirement of some, the remaining infrastructure for rehabilitation would be large and therefore phasing in the investment would be required 44. The first phase should insist of the most urgently needed work. The phasing of the work will also be determined by a realistic projection of what resources will be available for O&M. It is important to stress that there is little justification on embarking on rehabilitation program if there is no guarantee to finance O&M at sustainable levels. 214. Regarding the external funding agencies engaged in this investment agenda, it is hoped that Water Management Improvement Project (WMIP), which BWDB is preparing for financing from the World Bank and Government of Netherlands, will address the rationalization and/or management transfer of small (up to 1,000 ha) and medium (up to 5,000 ha) schemes, while some of the existing BWDB schemes have already been covered under the ADB-assisted SSWRDSP executed by LGED. Rationalization of larger schemes are also envisaged under the Netherlands-assisted Integrated Planning for Sustainable Water Management (IPSWAM) and the Southwest Integrated Water Resources Management Project for which project preparatory technical assistance is being initiated by ADB. 215. A subset of this investment thrust envisaged under the draft NWMP also includes the expansion of public irrigation schemes in areas where groundwater irrigation is not feasible, such as southeast, south central, and southwest regions. However, this needs to be promoted with demonstrated progress of O&M performance improvement in the existing FCDI schemes, which are promoted under ADB-assisted Command Area Development Project and being followed up by the Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project. 216. Water Supply and Sanitation in Rural and Urban Centers. The draft NWMP rightly attaches top priority to this. The thrust of the program in rural areas has to be improvement of the quality of water services in areas already served and extension of coverage to 100 percent of the rural population. Given that the country has achieved access by 97% of its population to
43 44

NWMP vol. 3 page AW007. This estimate is less than total investment figure provided by BWDB (TK 113 billion) NWMP vol. 3 estimates that the rehabilitation work may require Tk. 21 billion over 20 years.

59 bacteriologically safe drinking water mostly supplied by groundwater through tubewells about 90% of which were provided without any public funding, the greatest challenges are to address the arsenic problem that is affecting some 30% of the countrys tubewells and expansion of sanitation facilities. Regarding the former, a number of potentially cost-effective alternative water supply options have already been identified and tested. For example, a household-based rainwater harvesting system pilot tested in UNICEFs program has demonstrated that it can supply water throughout the dry season and can be established with a comparable cost with the conventional shallow tube wells. Some NGOs have also successfully undertaken communitybased mitigation options such as dug-wells without any external funding. These indicate that vast opportunities may exist to address arsenic problems by mobilizing private sector. However, the greatest challenge appears to be the lack of awareness and incentive to adopt available options among the households, caused by the limited visibility of actual health risk, as is evidenced by the small number of severe arsenicosis patients that still remain at only about 15,000 nationwide 45 and many others suffering from diarrhea. The strategic implication of these developments is that the role of the public sector needs to be directed towards raising awareness and motivation, regular monitoring and management of groundwater use and quality, and creation of an enabling environment for private sector participation in mitigation, with necessary support to ensure access for socially vulnerable groups of people, in particular in rural areas. Similar approach is needed for the substantial expansion of rural sanitation facilities. 217. In urban centers steps will be needed urgently to improve the O&M of existing water supply and sanitation systems. The improvements in physical facilities will have to be complemented with institutional development, focused on improving operational efficiencies, reducing wastage, strengthening cost recovery and financial management and institutionalizing the community participation approach to water supply facilities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the benefits 46. Priority should be given to expand the municipal piped water supply systems in areas affected by groundwater arsenic contamination. 218. Major efforts will also be needed to develop bulk water supplies to meet the growing need in urban centers. Groundwater is already over exploited in Dhaka and surface water system will be needed there. Main water supply systems (distribution systems supplied by sources like DTW and/or surface water development) will be suitable for big cities or large municipalities. Local area systems (force-mode hand pumps and small piped system) would suit small towns or peri-urban areas. 219. Integrated Urban Flood Protection and Land and Environmental Management. This will be for the efficient management of cities, which will become increasingly important source of growth in the future. Accordingly, high priority is accorded with this investment thrust under the draft NWMP. Here a sustained program to implement changes in the institutional and financial framework will be necessary, while addressing the relevant issues in an integrated manner including flood control and drainage, land use planning with effective levying mechanisms (on benefits accrued through public investments), environmental management including urban sewerage and water quality and quantity management. The program will have to be based on the principles of effective demand management and appropriate incentive system, which will



The level is comparatively smaller than other diseases such as diarrhea and other respiratory diseases, although it is anticipated to grow up to a level of a few million in the next decades without effective mitigation, due to the relatively long period before arsenic is accumulated in the human body and causes arsenicosis. Since most tubewells were installed in the 1990s, the population exposure to the contaminated water is still relatively short. See EGIS Consulting Ltd, Urban Sector Strategy Aug. 2000

60 encourage operational efficiency and improve service delivery while ensuring sound environmental management. B. Recommendations for Future Operational Strategy of ADB

220. Over the last 5 years, Bangladesh has put in place a sound NWP, prepared a draft 25year NWMP, and initiated organizational reforms of the key sector institutions. The country has thus entered into a phase of furthering and consolidating the reform efforts to effectively institutionalize the key NWP principles and guidelines in the agency operations. The implementation of the draft NWMP also needs to be initiated with continuous strengthening for strategic sector development. 221. Under the circumstance, ADBs sector strategy for the next 5 years is to support the Governments efforts to this direction. Specifically, ADB will support further promoting effective policies and institutional framework, and management systems and capacities of the central and local government, and stakeholder organizations in the sector to implement the NWP and the NWMP. These will be aimed to operate integrated water resources planning and management, and sustainable service delivery, while promoting decentralization and stakeholder participation and empowerment including O&M contribution. Support for critical investments will be provided following the strategic framework of the NWMP and its updates supported by stakeholders, and the demonstrated progress of essential reform actions to sustain the ensuing benefits. Along with these, efforts will also be made to strengthen the capacities of section institutions to (i) catalyze the provision of essential services to ensure the intended benefits such as agriculture and fisheries extension, and other necessary inputs, through effective coordination; and (ii) address the concerns of the poor within water sector interventions through their effective empowerment, and investment prioritization. 222. In providing assistance to this direction, particular attention will be paid to strengthen partnership among the Government, external funding agencies, and the private sector including NGOs and stakeholders. While effective coordination and partnership among these parties have already been developed in particular during and after FAP implementation, they are all the more important, given the establishment of the effective policy and institutional framework, within the context of which further assistance should be provided in the most effective manner, possibly with the development and regular updating of a common sector roadmap. Thus, ADBs ongoing and future assistance will be regularly coordinated within the framework of this partnership. More specific agendas and strategy of ADBs water sector assistance are as follows. 1. Policy and Institutional Reforms

223. Policy and institutional reform is a major focus of ADBs support for the water resources sector. ADBs assistance for reform process is provided in a progressive manner, based on agreed-on goals, and with emphasis on national ownership of reform process. Issues to be pursued through policy dialogue and necessary support as appropriate include the following: (i) Improving Policy, Planning and Legal Framework. While the NWP provides effective framework for IWRM and sustainable service delivery, it needs regular updating based on the sector experience, which already calls for defining appropriate roles of local governments, and specific ways to ensure O&M sustainability of FCD schemes. The NWMP also needs strengthening and updating during implementation by providing firm short-term programs and regional development strategy. Likewise,

61 a comprehensive national water act also needs to be prepared, in which appropriate regulatory institutions for managing water quantity and quality needs to be defined. (ii) Fostering Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Conservation. Issues include (a) establishing institutions for preparing integrated water resources plans at local levels with effective involvement of local governments; (b) preparing master plans for specific issues such as river training; (c) establishing and operating regulatory mechanisms for water quantity and quality management including standards for effluent disposal and floodplain zoning; (d) improving guidelines such as GPWM and those for project preparation, and environmental examination; and (e) improving WARPOs roles and capacities to meet these requirements. Improving Service Delivery and Sustaining O&M. Issues include (a) establishing effective institutional mechanism to support the management transfer and local O&M financing; (b) improving laws and regulations for O&M cost recovery; (c) improving transparency and accountability in agency management; (d) defining most appropriate WMA organizational modality and management arrangements; (e) establishing investment and O&M budgetary allocation mechanisms linked with WMA performance; (f) strengthening capacities of BWDB, LGED, and private organizations to support the operation of these requirements. Improving Governance. Issues include (a) improving resources, management infrastructure, and organizational vision and strategy of sector agencies; (b) promoting the same for local governments while defining appropriate roles, functions, and authorities; (c) strengthening anticorruption efforts through strengthening of internal and external quality control for infrastructure and other administrative systems, and (d) improving regulatory framework of WMA management to provide annual social, technical, and financial audit. Investments Investments in software and hardware will be guided by the following considerations. Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management. Following the NWP and the draft NWMP, ADB will support integrated water resources planning at local levels, which will be followed by priority investments identified during the planning process, with necessary reform actions to ensure their sustainable O&M, and focus to meet the needs of the poor and the vulnerable. 47 Flood and River Erosion Mitigation for the Poor. Support will be considered to provide cost-effective, adaptive, and sustainable coping measures in deeply flooded areas and erosion-prone areas along rivers where poverty is heavily concentrated, with a focus on non-structural measures such as flood and river erosion forecasting and warning and low-cost adaptive approach such as flood proofing. Small-scale Water Resources Development. ADB will support the further consolidation of small-scale interventions, with added attention to its strategic implementation following sub-regional plans, and delegation of increasing power of



2. 224. (i)




In this context, assistance for rural arsenic mitigation of groundwater may also be considered to promote the identification and adoption of alternative water supply options with an emphasis on those that could be promoted through the private sector, along with the establishment of an enabling environment.

62 project operations to the local governments, with further reorganization of LGED having multi-disciplinary skills to promote demand-driven participatory development. (iv) Improvement and Management Transfer of BWDB FCD(I) Schemes. ADB will also consider supporting this thrust, building on the experience in small-scale schemes and applying a bottom-up approach, with necessary reforms for sustainable O&M. Regarding FCDI, however, consideration of further assistance is contingent on the demonstrated progress of irrigation O&M cost recovery in the ongoing project. Urban and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation with Arsenic Mitigation. Assistance needs to be provided to expand the coverage of urban water supply and sanitation systems, with institutional strengthening to improve operational efficiency and sustainability in particular in areas with arsenic contaminated shallow aquifer. Consideration should also be given to promoting appropriate mitigation options for rural arsenic mitigation on the basis of ongoing pilot activities as appropriate. Integrated Urban Flood Protection and Environmental Improvement. Providing flood-free environment in urban centers is a high priority given their increasing importance as a source of economic growth. Assistance needs to be provided with effective integration with environmental improvement including sanitation, solid waste management, and slum improvement, along with improved urban governance.



225. Finally, ADB will also explore the possibilities of exploring regional cooperation in the water resources sector, building on the activities undertaken by the national Joint River Commission. While the country has 57 transboundary rivers that are shared with India, no coordination arrangements exist regarding the sharing of water except for the Ganges River, although discussion is initiated for the Teesta River. Another issue that is important to water management in Bangladesh relates to information sharing on developments within the upper catchments. At present India provides early warning data on flood for some shared rivers such as the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Teesta and Gumti. These bilateral arrangements need to extend and better mechanism is needed for information on development with the upper catchments. So far, an initiative to extend the data sharing arrangements among Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh has been initiated with the assistance of the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). ADB should also pursue the possibility of furthering the regional cooperation building on these emerging cooperation between the riparian countries.

63 Sector Roadmap
Indicators 5 past
A. Sector Outcomes 45.7% 5.3M n.a. n.a. 45% n.a. 53M n.a. 5.7M 5.0M n.a. n.a. 3.2M 42.6% 5.3M n.a. >40% 50% n.a. 54M n.a. 5.8M 5.1M Nil >70% 3.1M TBD 5.3M TBD TBD 55% TBD 55M TBD TBD 5.2M 5% TBD TBD TBD 5.4M TBD TBD 60% TBD 57M TBD TBD 5.4M 10% TBD TBD


5 years

10 years

Rural Poverty Incidence FCDI schemes (ha) Agriculture productivity (Tk/ha) Poverty Incidence Irrigated Agriculture % of farmland irrigated Productivity of boro rice (kg/ha) Population at risk to flooding % with forecasting and warning Population at risk to cyclone Population at risk to river erosion % with warning/ mitigation Poverty Incidence Population needing flood proofing B. Sector Outputs

Policy, Planning and Legal Framework NWP NWMP National Water Act (NWA) Integrated Planning at regional and central levels Regulatory framework for water appropriation for surface water

Adopted Draft prepared Being prepared Pilot to be initiated -

Operated Implemented Adopted Implemented in selected areas Introduced in water scarcity areas Introduced under NWA Affluent control introduced in designated areas Database integrated with systems of other agencies Roles and management reviewed and reforms initiated Action plan fully implemented

Operated Implemented Operated Implemented in increasing areas Operated in water scarcity areas Operated in scarcity areas Affluent control operated in designated areas Integrated data base and DSS operated Necessary reforms substantially implemented Sound planning and management system establish-ed to qualify for program support TBD 20% 30% 100%

Regulatory framework for groundwater management Management of water quality and natural ecosystems

EIA Guidelines established -

Quality monitored in limited places Sector database established in WARPO Needs further capacity develop- ment Action plan prepared, imple-mentation started.

Database and tools for effective decision support systems (DSS)

WARPO to serve as effective macro policy and planning organization with possible inclusion of new IWRM roles Public service agency reforms in accordance with the action plan prepared with RNG twining missions

Supported by consultants

FCDI Schemes Schemes under operation (ha) Area transferred to WMAs % irrigation O&M recovery ibid (pilot schemes)

n.a. 0% 5% 5%

3.0M (?) 3% 5% 10%

TBD 10% 15% 100%

Indicators 5 past
Flood and erosion management FFW system Cyclone warning systems Cyclone shelters Flood proofed villages after 1997 River training master plan Erosion forecasting and warning Other mitigation measures Operative Operative ? River training implemented in strategic locations

Operative Operative ? 500(?) Ibid, low cost measures explored

5 years
Strengthened Strengthened TBD TBD Prepared System Prepared TBD

10 years
Strengthened Strengthened TBD TBD Initiated Operated TBD

C. Sector Issues
1. Policy and legislation

Description of issues, constraints, strategies, and milestones

The Government approved National Water Policy (NWP) in 1999, which has provided effective policy goals, guidelines and operational framework of the sector. It adopted the principles of integrated water resources management (IWRM) with due emphasis on stakeholder participation, strategic planning, decentralization, sound management of social and environmental issues, sustainable O&M through management transfer, and transparency and accountability of sector institutions. A comprehensive Water Act to govern the utilization and management of water resources is under preparation to provide legal basis to operationalize NWP while integrating the existing laws and regulations relevant to the sector and providing new framework for such issues as water appropriation and licensing, and water right administration. While its draft has been prepared, the process towards finalization has been taking more time than anticipated. As a national and regional planning framework, a draft National Water Management Plan (NWMP) has been prepared to provide short- to long-term strategy and priorities with institutional and cross-sectoral perspectives and by taking a participatory approach. The finalization of NWMP is awaited to further proceed with sector operations in a strategic manner while refining and expanding its content as necessary.

2. Institutional arrangements

The National Water Resources Council (NWRC) is the water sector apex body chaired by Prime Minister to formulate water policy and ensuring inter-agency coordination. NWRC is supported by an Executive Committee to ensure prompt action on routine matters. Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) was established under Ministry of Water Resources (MOWR) as the secretariat to NWRC and served as multi-disciplinary planning organization at the national level. It is expected to oversee NWMP implementation and its updating in periodic intervals, to prepare regional plans, and to act as a clearing house for individual projects. However, their responsibilities in these regards are not fully defined, nor their capacity developed despite a large support for NWMP preparation, with difficulties in attracting and retaining quality staff. Beyond integrated water resource planning, the country has not yet clearly defined institutional functions and responsibilities for other water management activities such as regulatory functions including water appropriation, licensing, and water rights administration, as well as cross-sectoral demand management. These need to be defined in the course of preparing and operating the Water Act. Service Delivery Institutions: Public Health Department is responsible for rural and water supply. Presently there is very little coordination between BWDB and other water service agencies. Hopefully this will be achieved through WARPO in the future. Construction and upkeep of potable water supply, sewerage and storm drainage are done by Water Supply and Sewerage Authorities (WASAs) in two largest cities. WASAs do not have autonomy from government control and financial dependency. With the formulation of National Water Policy, there have been attempts at institutional reform to achieve decentralized and devolved management with greater role for local government, community groups and the private sector. A major institutional step forward


C. Sector Issues

Description of issues, constraints, strategies, and milestones

since the formulation of national water policy has been the revision of BWDBs mandate, as embodied in the new Act. Recently efforts to put WARPO on a sound footing have weakened, but efforts to strengthen operations of flood forecasting, disaster management and Department of Environment are continuing. Key activities recommended for the future are: continuation of BWDB reforms, strengthening of WARPO; establishment/strengthening of local government institutions and reform of LGED. The BWDB reform program that has started has still to go a long way. The main thrust will have to be following the long-term vision for BWDB and take necessary steps for transfer of small projects to local government institutions and beneficiary groups. A critical area of action is to improve governance in BWDB operations. A program of strengthening of WARPO is also of high priority. Development of a democratic local government system that will design and execute local development projects and provide responsive services is a key step for the future. As the local government system is reestablished and starts functioning, LGEDs role will have to change as well.

3. Information management

Data collection and management before WARPO was established was scattered. FAP studies produced huge amount of relevant data and WARPO has now acquired a national data set to manage and update. WARPO is expected to work with other data agencies and address issues such as date format compatibility, establishment of consolidated observation network and rational storage and retrieval system. Institutional linkages will have to be encouraged with the Institute of Water Modeling for resource modeling, with CEGIS for data maintaining and broader impact monitoring of water sector development activities and with economic institutions (such as Bangladesh Institute of Development Economics) for economic and regulation issues. Increased water competition comes through functioning of water markets. Water markets can develop easily when water rights are well established, which have not yet happened in Bangladesh. More importantly, with water scarcity limited to only a few months and sever scarcity limited further to some areas, water markets and competitive supply system have not flourished in Bangladesh. However, informal water markets are not unknown in Bangladesh. In a typical trade, a farmer sells surplus ground and surface water for a specified period to a neighboring farmer with a greater need. In this way, water is allocated to more valuable uses. With the rapid expansion of tubewell irrigation, informal water markets for irrigation developed quickly. Deteriorating water quality is arising due to uncontrolled industrial discharges. Pollution is also increasing as a result of poor sanitation country wide as well as poorly guided use of agrochemicals. Arsenic contamination of groundwater is a serous problem now. Management of water resources in the coastal areas presents a particular problem given the interactions between upland fresh water flows and tidally driven saline flows. These are rendered more complex by the impacts that the coastal polder system had on the sedimentation patterns and the sustainability of the drainage networks. Water related natural disasters are relatively common occurrence. They include: floods, cyclones, riverbank erosion and occasional drought. Disaster management (including disaster preparedness) involves prevention and mitigation measures, preparedness plans and related warning systems, emergency response measures and post disaster rehabilitation. The Government has rightly emphasized on this and this is an integral element of water resource management. The key activities would include: cyclone protection programs; flood proofing measures; riverbank maintenance and erosion control programs; and drought management program. In this area, the government has been active with support from donors. Many of these programs provide much needed protection to the poor and the vulnerable aiming to address the special needs of: (a) the coastal areas (affected by cyclones and storm surges) including char land (affected by insecurity of land holdings in addition to exposure to natural calamities); and (b) the haor (low lying) areas (affected by floods) and internal char land (affected by land insecurity in addition to floods). Some disaster management programs such as riverbank maintenance and erosion control are highly costly and, therefore, efforts will have to continue to identify cost effective designs

4. Increased water competition

5. Deteriorating water quality 6. Degradation of coastal zone

7. Natural Disaster management


C. Sector Issues
8. Water resources infrastructure

Description of issues, constraints, strategies, and milestones

for erosion control This has been the major area of public investment and donor support in the past, focusing on mitigating the negative effects of excessive annual fresh water floods in inland areas and tidal salt-water intrusion in coastal areas. In total over $3 billion was spent on water infrastructures. Nearly 600 schemes of various combinations of flood control, drainage, and irrigation were undertaken. Over 13,000 km of embankments incorporating 1,300 water control structures and about 3,500 km of drainage canals were constructed. External funding has been nearly $3 billion to Bangladesh Water Sector. Of this ADB provided about $700 million and IDA $1,000 million. Bilateral assistance has been provided by 15 countries of which Netherlands, providing more than $200 million, is the largest. The level of donor support came down in later half of 1990s in part due to growing concern about slow progress in reform of key water institutions. Minor irrigation system using tube wells and low lift pumps (where possible) will have to continue to play crucial role for agricultural growth in the future. The lessons from large-scale irrigation scheme such as GK project clearly shows that there is no economic justification to go for new surface water irrigation involving large scale pumping. River management schemes such as dredging and erosion control will have to be considered for areas of high economic importance and drainage improvement schemes will require case by case consideration and justification. Dredging and desiltation will be only desirable only in cases where dredging is combined with improved flow of the river requiring reduced maintenance dredging. As for FCD, there should be no new FCD schemes in rural hinterland. The rationalization of the BWDB portfolio of FCD projects deserves highest priority in the future investment program. Participatory planning and management of the FCD schemes will be important for the overall objective of improving performance of the schemes.

9. Financing

In the past, the total financing was from the Central Government and total allocation varied between $140 million to $240 million annually with bulk of it coming from donor support. Donor support was on average about 75%. In future more contribution is expected from the beneficiaries especially for operation and maintenance. Bangladesh being a lower riparian country, much of the big river management, including storage, would require cooperation with India and Nepal. India and Bangladesh now carry out coordination through joint river commission. Sharing the water in the Ganges river has been in contention since 1975 with the commissioning of Farakka Barrage. The treaty on Ganges water was signed in 1996, which will be up for review in 2006. The treaty establishes a system of information sharing on floods and also on water flow in the upper region of the Ganges. There are no formal agreements in regard to other rivers. At present India provides early warning data on flood for some shared rivers such as the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Teesta and Gumti. These bilateral arrangements need to extend and better mechanism is needed for information on development with the upper catchments. In addition, basin wide approach of water resource management is desirable for the benefit of all the riparian countries. Although the basin-wide approach has not been taken for lack of multi-country cooperation on the subject, information exchanges (through so called Track 2) have been extensive. These are done through the workshops and seminars attended by experts of all riparian countries.

10. Regional Cooperation



Actions, Milestones, and Investments Schedule ADB SSWR2-3 SWIWRM SWIWRM SSWR2 SWIWRM

By Agency Other Funding Agencies WB and RNG (WMIP), others WB (WMIP) WB and RNG (WMIP) Govt. All

1. (i)

Policies, Planning, and Legal Framework NWP updated and further implemented


(ii) NWMP implemented with strengthening (iii) Comprehensive National Water Act prepared and enacted

2003-2013 2003-2004

WARPO, Others All

2. (i)

Integrated Water Resources Management Operating integrated water resources planning framework

2003-2013 2004-2013


(ii) Establishing regulatory mechanisms for water quantity and quality management including groundwater (iii) Improving various guidelines including GPWM, EIA, and project planning (iv) Establishing effective systems of flood and erosion mitigation management 3. (i) Improving Service Delivery and Sustaining O&M Establishing institutional mechanisms for management transfer of O&M


WARPO, Others All










(ii) Improving laws and regulations for O&M cost recovery (iii) Strengthening O&M budget and establishing effective budgetary allocation mechanisms based on performance of local WMAs (iv) Defining most appropriate WMA organizational modality and management arrangements 4. (i) Improving Governance Furthering agency reforms to improve transparency and accountability of management

2003-2004 2004-2013






(ii) Defining effective roles of local governments and promoting their engagement and capacity development





(iii) Strengthening anticorruption efforts through strengthening internal and external quality control 5. (i) Investments Integrated water resources planning and management



2003-2013 2003-2013 2003-2013 2003-2013


(ii) Integrated coastal resources management (iii) Flood mitigation for the poor (iv) Riverbank erosion mitigation through non-structural measures and low-cost adaptive structures (v) Small-scale water resources development









Actions, Milestones, and Investments Schedule ADB SWIWRM

By Agency Other Funding Agencies WB and RNG (WMIP) Govt. BWDB

(vi) Improvement and management transfer of BWDB FCD(I) schemes (vii) Rehabilitation and improvement of public irrigation systems





ADB = Asian Development Bank, BWDB: Bangladesh Water Development Board, CADP2 = Second Command Area Development Project, DANIDA = Danish Agency for Development Assistance, DFID = Department for International Development (UK), Govt. = Government, ICZM = Integrated Coastal Zone Management, IFEMP = Integrated Flood and Erosion Mitigation, JICA = Japan International Cooperation Agency, JMREMP = Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation Project, LGED = Local Government Engineering Department, M = million TA = technical assistance, RNG = Royal Netherlands Government, SSWR2-3 = Second and Third Small-scale Water Resources Development Sector Project, SWIWRM = Southwest Integrated Water Resources Management, TBD = to be determined, WARPO = Water Resources Planning Organization, WB = World Bank, WMIP = Water Management Improvement Project


Appendix 1

ADB. (1985). "Project Performance Audit Report for the Low-Lift Pump Maintenance Program in Bangladesh (Loan No 381-BAN(SF)).". ADB. (1990). "Project Completion Report of the Meghna-Dhonagoda Irrigation Project in Bangladesh (Loan No. 333-BAN(SF) and No. 883-BAN(SF)).". ADB. (1991a). "Project Completion Report of the Bhola Irrigation Project in Bangladesh (Loan No 593 Ban (SF)).". ADB. (1991b). "Project Completion Report of the Serajgong Integrated Rural Development Project in Bangladesh (Loan No 293-BAN(SF)).". ADB. (1991c). "Report and Recommendation of the President to the Board of Directors on a Proposed Loan and Technical Assistance Grant to the People's Republic of Bangladesh for the Second Bhola Irrigation Project.". ADB. (1993a). "Report and Recommendations of the President to the Board of Directors on a Proposed Loan and Technical Assistance Grant to the People's Republic of Bangladesh for the KhulnaJessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project.". ADB. (1993b). "Report and Recommendations of the President to the Board of Directors on a Proposed Technical Assistance Loan and Grant to the People's Republic of Bangladesh for the Southwest Area Water Resources Development Project.". ADB. (1995a). "Project Completion Report on the Ganges Kobadak Irrigation Rehabilitation Project in Bangladesh (Loan No 672-BAN(SF)).". ADB. (1995b). "Project Performance Audit Report on the Serajgong Integrated Rural Development Project in Bangladesh (Loan No 293-BAN(SF)).". ADB. (1995c). "Report and Recommendations of the President to the Board of Directors on a Proposed Loan to the People's Republic of Bangladesh for the Command Area Development Project.". ADB. (1996). "Project Performance Audit Report on the Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Project in Bangladesh (Loan No 378-BAN(SF)).". ADB. (1998a). "Anti-Corruption Policy.". ADB. (1998b). "Project Performance Audit Report on the Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation Rehabilitation Project in Bangladesh.". ADB. (1998c). "Report and Recommendations of the President to the Board of Directors on a Proposed Loan to the People's Republic of Bangladesh for the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Project and on a Proposal to Use Loan Savings.". ADB. (2000a). "Aide Memoire: Loan Fact-Finding Mission for the Proposed Second Small-Scale Water Resources Sector Development Project.". ADB. (2000b). "Country Assistance Plan.", Asian Development Bank. ADB. (2000c). "Project Completion Report on the Southwest Area Water Resources Development Project (Loan 1291-BAN {SF}) in the People's Republic of Bangladesh.". ADB. (2000d). "Water For All: The Water Policy of the Asian Development Bank." 7-00, Asian Development Bank. Ahmed Q K (editor). (2000). "Bangladesh Water Vision 2025: Towards a Sustainable Water World.". Ahmed, T. (2000). Reform Agenda for Field Administration and Local Government, Community Development Library (CDL) and Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (COAST), Dhaka.

Aminuzzaman, D. S. (1999). A Handbook on Union Parishads Roles and Functions, Center for Administrative and Development Studies.

Appendix 1

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. (1999). "Census of Agriculture 1996; Structure of Agriculture Holdings and Livestock Population. Vol 1.", Statistics Division, Ministry of Planning. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. "Preliminary Report of Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2000". Canadian International Development Agency. (1999). "Bangladesh Programming Framework.". Choudhury, Y. (2001). "The National Water Code of Bangladesh, First Working Draft.". EGIS. (1997). "Morphological Dynamics of the Brahmaputra-Jamuna River.", Water Resources Planning Organization. EGIS Consulting Australia PTY Ltd. (2000). "ADB TA No 3226-BAN: Urban Sector Strategy.". FAP 21. (1993). "River Bank Protection and River Training Pilot Project, Final Report Planning Study, Vol 2A.". Government of Bangladesh. (1992). "Water Resources Planning Act.". Government of Bangladesh (March 2003) "Bangladesh: A National Strategy for Economic Growth, Poverty Reduction and Social Development" (Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper - IPRSP) Haque, Q. H. (2000). "Bangladesh Water Sector Improvement Project: Public Expenditure Review.". Interagency Task Force. (2000). "Guidelines for Participatory Water Management.", Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of LGRD & Cooperatives. Meghna Estuary Study. (1999). "Prefeasibility Study of Low-Cost Bank Protection at Haimchar.", BWDB. Ministry of Water Resources. (1999). "National Water Policy.", Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh. NWMPP Study Team. (2000a). "Draft Development Strategy Volume 1: Summary of Options.", Water Resources Planning Organization. NWMPP Study Team. (2000b). "Draft National Water Management Plan". Water Resources Planning Organization. Pearce, F. (2001). "Death in a glass of water." Independent, London. Ravenscroft, D. P. (2001). "unpub. comm.". Shahjahan, A. K. M. (2000). "Country Procurement Assessment Report: Bangladesh, Volumes I and II.". World Bank (1998). Water Resource Management in Bangladesh: Steps Toward National Water Plan. World Bank (2002). Poverty in Bangladesh: Building on Progress. Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit, South Asia Region.


Source/ Project/Purpose/Technical Assistance
Canada Northeast Regional Study (FAP 6) and pilot works BWDB Accounting System Modernization Dampara Water Management Kalni-Kushiyara Community Development and Monitoring Denmark Flood Action Plan (FAP 25) Surface Water Simulation Model (Third Phase) Expansion of food for work (FFW) Services Meghna Estuary Study (FAP 5B) France Study for Five-Year Action Plan for Flood Control Bank Protection and River Training (FAP 21/22) Franc Franc 40.000 93.000

Appendix 2


Amount (million)
17.000 2.800 4.500 2.600

Year Committed
1991 1994 1997 1997

Loan Grant
Grant Grant Grant Grant

Canadian dollar Canadian dollar Canadian dollar Canadian dollar

Denmark krone Denmark krone US dollar US dollar

13.300 4.100 8.090 5.300

1993 1994 1993 1994

Grant Grant Grant Grant

1990 1992

Grant Grant

Germany Compartmentalization Pilot Project (FAP 20) Bank Protection and River Training (FAP 21/22) Japan Narayanganj Narsingdi Irrigation (Block A-1) Narayanganj Narsingi Irrigation (Block A-1) Meghna Bridge Revetment Jamuna Bridge (River Training Component) Naranyanganj Narsingdi FCDI Phase III Study Netherlands System Rehabilitation Compartmentalization Pilot Project (FAP 20) Early Implementation Water Sector Advisory Services TA Flood Action Plan (FAP 25) Environment Study (FAP 16) Char Development and Settlement Small-scale Water Resources Development Meghna Estuary Study Gorai River Restoration Procurement of 6 Dredgers Second Small-Scale Water Resources Development United Kingdom Flood Action Plan (FAP 12) Flood Action Plan (FAP 2) Fisheries Study (FAP 17) United States of America Flood Action Plan-Related Activities Asian Development Bank (ADB) Second Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Second Bhola Irrigation

Deutsche mark Deutsche mark

13.500 44.400

1992 1992

Grant Grant

Yen Yen Yen US dollar Yen

1,796.000 977.000 1,100.000 70.115 339.000

1990 1991 1992 1994 1998

Grant Grant Grant Loan Grant

Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder Guilder

26.430 13.410 38.510 1.710 0.065 0.333 43.807 12.000 13.300 47.827 15.300 64.385

1990 1991 1992 1992 1992 1992 1995 1996 1996 1998 2000 2001

Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant

Pound sterling Pound sterling Pound sterling

0.850 1.403 1.700

1990 1990 1991

US dollar




US dollar US dollar

0.250 0.250

1990 1990

Grant Grant

Appendix 2 Source/ Project/Purpose/Technical Assistance
Review of Options for Ground and Surface Water Development Southwest Area Water Resources Management Study Northeast Minor Irrigation Second Bhola Irrigation Operation and Maintenance Strengthening of the Second Bhola Irrigation Second Coastal Embankment Rehabilitation (Supplementary) Small-scale Water Resources Development Study on Privatization of Minor Irrigation Command Area Development Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Southwest Area Water Resources Development Socioenvironmental Assessment of the MeghnaDhonogoda Irrigation Project Jamuna Bridge (River Training Component) Command Area Development Small-scale Water Resources Development Kalni-Kushiyara River Management Project Second Small-scale Water Resources Development Second Small-scale Water Resources Development Jamuna-Meghna River Erosion Mitigation

US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar

Amount (million)
0.170 2.150 73.000 39.800 0.790 0.500 0.548 0.441 0.920 50.000 3.400 0.119 70.115 30.000 32.000 0.500 0.400 34.000 42.200

Year Committed
1990 1991 1991 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1992 1993 1993 1993 1994 1995 1995 1999 1999 2001 2003

Loan Grant
Grant Grant Loan Loan Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Loan Loan Grant Loan Loan Loan Grant Grant Loan Loan

International Development Association (World Bank) Systems Rehabilitation Project (SRP) National Minor Irrigation Project Shallow Tubewells and Low-Lift Pump Irrigation Gumti Project Phase 1 (FCD 1) Naogaon Polder 1 (FCD 3) Madhumati-Nabaganga Project (FCD 4) Jamuna Bridge (River Training Component) Riverbank Protection Coastal Embankment Rehabilitation Gorai River Restoration Riverbank Protection (Supplementary) International Fund for Agricultural Development Small-scale Water Resources Development European Economic Community System Rehabilitation Project (SRP) National Minor Irrigation North Central Regional Study (FAP 3) River Survey Project (FAP 24) Coastal Embankment Rehabilitation Project Jamuna-Daleshwari Left Bank Studies United Nations Development Program Flood Action Plan

US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar US dollar

40.800 38.100 52.200 23.000 21.000 11.000 70.115 121.900 53.000 3.000 45.000 10.400

1990 1991 1991 1991 1991 1992 1994 1996 1996 1998 1999 1995

Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan Loan

Ecu Ecu Ecu Ecu Ecu Ecu Ecu

13.500 65.000 1.870 12.600 2.500 15.000 4.000

1990 1990 1990 1990 1991 1993 1993

Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant Grant

US dollar




BWDB = Bangladesh Water Development Board, FAP = Flood Action Plan, FCDI= flood control, drainage and irrigation, FFW = food for work, SRP = Systems Rehabilitation Project, TA =technical assistance.

Appraisal IRR Planned Completion Actual IRR Actual Completion Components Implemented
Most, but major change in scope All

Appendix 3

Agricultural Production

Institutional Development

Environmental Impacts


Overall Assessment

Serajgonj Integrated Rural Development Project 29% 1982 18% 1986 Increased Limited No adverse impact Uncertain Partly Satisfactory Partly Satisfactory

Meghna-Dhonagoda Project 17.9% 1984 n/a 1989 Increased Limited Highly positive People displaced, Capture fisheries reduced Uncertain

Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Project All, but with substantial delays Partly Satisfactory








Low-Lift Pump Maintenance Program Limited. Missed opportunity to reshape institutional policies Satisfactory. BRDB involvement positive Limited partly because of structural changes







No adverse impact



Bhola Irrigation Project 38% 1988 16% 1991 All, at less than planned cost Increased No adverse impacts Yes Successful

Ganges Kobadak Irrigation Rehabilitation Project 73.4% 1990 14.5% 1994 All Increased Positive because of supportive components Yes Successful