04 Policy framework, history of interventions and project definition

From Blue Gold Program Wiki

Policy and regulatory framework for Participatory Water Management[edit | edit source]

BGP combines a substantial investment in water infrastructure with a strong focus on the establishment of Participatory Water Management (PWM). Given this distinguishing feature of the program – a feature which it shares with several other donor-funded water sector projects – this section provides an overview of the policy, legal and regulatory provisions, which establish the bandwidth within which PWM can be implemented.

Briefing Materials
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The following materials illustrate concepts, interventions, outcomes and lessons learnt, including through stories from community members.
Slide decks
Thematic brochures

While communities in Bangladesh, as elsewhere, have always taken initiatives towards managing water resources for their own benefit, Participatory Water Management – i.e. an explicit approach by Government whereby water management actions by water users organised on a scheme or catchment basis, or on the basis of sub-units thereof – complements or replaces centrally organised water management actions – is relatively new. Farmer groups for water management were notably formed for irrigation management purposes in the 1960s and 1970s; both for pump irrigation and in major irrigation schemes. Participatory Water Management, however, only became a Government policy applicable for all water management in flood control, drainage and irrigation schemes by the end of the 20th century. The 1999 National Water Policy sounded the starter’s gun for promulgating legal provisions for PWM: several guidelines, regulations and acts that – taken together – provide the regulatory framework for Participatory Water Management.

The table provides an overview of the prevailing policy, legislation and regulation for PWM. Short discussions of each element are available through hyperlinks and/or attachments. After the overview, this concludes with a section that zooms-out again to reflect on today’s context for Participatory Water Management.

Table 1: Overview of policy and regulatory framework
Title Formal publication / approval Status
National Water Policy January 1999 Policy
Guidelines for Participatory Water Management April 2001 Guidelines
Bangladesh Water Development Board Act July 2000 Act
National Water Management Plan March 2004 Plan
BWDB Participatory Water Management Rules February 2014 Rules under the BWDB Act 2000
Bangladesh Water Act 2013 Act
Water Rules (Bangla only) August 2018, with guidelines for District, Upazila and Union level published in 2019 Rules under the Bangladesh Water Act 2014
Bangladesh Delta Plan September 2018 Plan

In addition to the above documents that shape present-day Participatory Water Management, several other policies influence water management practices. We mention here the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009, the National Women in Development Policy 2011.

History of interventions[edit | edit source]

Water resources management in Bangladesh faces immense challenges in order to resolve diverse problems and issues. The most critical of these are floods in the wet season and the scarcity of water in the dry season; the expanding water needs of a growing economy and population; the supply of safe drinking water and sanitation; arsenic problem; water pollution and massive river sedimentation and riverbank erosion. Furthermore, there is a growing need for maintaining the eco-systems, particularly the fish resources and wetlands and there is the issue of competitive demand of various water uses. The water management is increasingly facing challenges of exogenous developments of a global nature, such as climate change and sea level rise, as well as of upstream river basin developments in neighbouring countries. Climate changes will influence both food security and water availability in the following ways: extreme weather events will lead to more cyclones and floods with consequent drainage congestion and water logging; salinity and salt water intrusion; higher glacial melt leading to higher river discharge, river and soil erosion; more droughts leading to increased irrigation demands.

Based on the above, the goals and objectives for the development and utilization of water resources in Bangladesh may, in short, be stated as follows:

Goals[edit | edit source]

  • Make efficient use of water resources to optimise the growth of agriculture, including fisheries, forestry and livestock
  • Provide navigational facilities for the growth of commerce, industry and transportation
  • Prevent land, water and environmental degradation
  • Accommodate land reclamation and accretion
  • Minimize the adverse effect of flood and drought on rural and urban communities
  • Adaptation to climate change.

Objectives[edit | edit source]

  • Irrigation objectives, including major surface water irrigation and minor irrigation to meet agricultural demand
  • Flood management objectives, including climate change resilience and adaptation through the protection of critical urban and rural areas and control of land erosion from river actions
  • Energy and power generation objectives, specifying the use of dams and other control structures
  • Navigation objectives, specifying the use of water for inland navigation
  • Land reclamation and accretion objectives, specifying the use of reclaimed land
  • Poverty alleviation objectives.

The erstwhile East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (EPWAPDA), an autonomous organisation, was created in 1959 to fulfil some of these goals and objectives, as a consequence of the United Nations’ funded Krug Mission under the East Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority Ordinance of 1959 (EP order No.1 of 1959). The mission concluded that water resources development would be essential to the increase of agricultural production. It therefore recommended the creation of coastal polders to protect the rice crops from tidal floods and salinity. Consequently, the Coastal Embankment Project constructed 37 polders in the period 1960-1972, with a view to cultivating High Yielding Varieties (HYV) of rice. Simultaneous the EPWAPDA Master plan focusing on flood control and drainage was prepared in 1964. Activities created under the Master plan yielded immediate results. However, after a few years, an evaluation showed that the increase in agricultural production was not up to the required level. The present Bangladesh Water Development Board was established in 1972 under presidential order no. 59 of 1972, when the former EPWAPDA was split into two organisations: BWDB dealing with water and PDB dealing with power. BWDB is a body corporate under the administrative control of the Ministry of Water Resources.

A mission funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) in 1972 recommended a strategy for the implementation of small, low cost quick generation Flood Control and Drainage (FCD) and Flood Control, Drainage and Irrigation (FCDI) projects.

In 1974, another devastating flood occurred. This generated a renewed interest in the area of flood control and prevention. A policy was adopted for the quick implementation of flood control and drainage improvement projects.  The Early Implementation Project was the first project implemented in line with this new established policy. Thereafter many other projects followed as can be seen below in Table 2, which includes brief descriptions of many of the projects.

Review of Water Resources Projects in the Coastal Zone[edit | edit source]

Table 2 below lists the 21 projects which have contributed to water resources development in the coastal zone over the last 45 years. Summaries of these projects can be found by following the hyperlinks. Of note is the considerable influence of the Government of the Netherlands (GoN) – which has been the main or co-funder of 14 of the 21 projects.

Table 2: Overview of water resources management projects
No. Name of the Project Implementation period Donor
1 Early Implementation Project (EIP) 1975-1997 GoN
2 Delta Development Project (DDP) 1976-1988 GoN
3 Land Reclamation Project (LRP) 1977-1991 GoN
4 Second Small Scale Flood Control Drainage and Irrigation Project (SSSFCDI) 1988-1994 WB & CIDA
5 Systems Rehabilitation Project (SRP) 1990-1997 WB
6 Flood Action Plan (FAP) 1990-1995 multiple incl GoN
7 Compartmentalization Pilot Project (CPP)-FAP-20 1991-2000 GoN & KfW
8 Khulna Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project (KJDRP) 1993-2002 ADB
9 Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP)
9a Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP I) 1994-1999 GoN
9b Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP II) 2000-2005 GoN
9c Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP III) 2005-2011 GoN
9d Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP IV) 2011-2018 GoN & IFAD
9e Char Development and Settlement Project Bridging (CDSP- B) 2019-2022 GoN & IFAD
10 Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector projects
10a Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project 1996-2002 ADB & GoN
10b Second Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project (SSWRDSP) 2002-2009 ADB & GoN
10c Participatory Small-Scale Water Resources Sector Project 2010-2019 ADB & GoN
11 Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) - Assistance to the Program Development Office of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Program (PDO-ICZM) 2002-2006 GoN
12 Integrated Planning for Sustainable Water Management (IPSWAM) 2003-2011 GoN
13 South-west Area Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management Project
13a Southwest Area Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management Project (SAIWRPMP) 2006- 2015 ADB & GoN
13b Southwest Area Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management Project - Additional Financing (SAIWRPMP -AF) 2015-2022 ADB & GoN
14 Estuary Development Program (EDP) 2007-2011 GoN
15 Small Scale Water Resources Development Project (SSWRDP) 2007-2014 JBIC
16 Water Management Improvement Project (WMIP) 2008-2015 WB
17 Coastal Embankment Improvement Project Phase 1 (CEIP) 2013-2020 WB
18 Blue Gold Program 2013-2020 GoN
19 Bangladesh Delta Plan
19a Preparation Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100) 2014-2017 GoN
19b Support to the Implementation of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (SIBDP 2100) 2018-2022 GoN
20 Irrigation Management Improvement project (IMIP) 2015-2020 ADB
21 Smallholder Agricultural Competitiveness Project (SACP) 2019-2025 IFAD

Project definition[edit | edit source]

The Blue Gold Program has been defined on the basis of accumulated insights on how best to pursue Participatory Water Management. In the course of its implementation, it has itself become an arena for refining the approach for Participatory Water Management.

The definition of the Blue Gold Program has been set out in various key project documents, which have been revised and amended over the eight+ year life of the Program:

  • The Administrative Arrangement signed on 20th February 2013 between the Minster for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Economic Relations Division (ERD) for the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) sets out the broad arrangements for the implementation of the Blue Gold Program, including the contributions of both parties, arrangements for the delegation of responsibilities, obligations concerning customs duties and taxes, reporting requirements, arrangements for evaluation and the settlement of disputes. Under this Arrangement, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) represents the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • The Contribution Arrangement signed on 4th December 2013 between the Minster for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Economic Relations Division (ERD) for the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) expands on the Administrative Arrangement setting out details of payments by instalments, reporting requirements for progress and financial reports, final reports, and annual audit reports.
  • The Program Document[1] of August 2012 prepared for the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) sets out the rationale for the Blue Gold Program 'taking account the lessons learnt over the past ten years, the new insights into how to deal with the challenges of created by the very dynamic rivers of Bangladesh and the new communication technologies.' Development of market linkages and the promotion of innovation were included in the project design. During project implementation, project design changes were incorporated by the development partners, and confirmed during Annual Review Missions.
  • Development Project Proforma (DPP) are the official Government of Bangladesh (GoB) formats for project planning and budget allocation. When approved, allocations against the Project can be made into the departmental annual work plans and budgets (Annual Development Programs). For a department to receive allocations it must have its own DPP. BWDB and DAE each have separate DPPs for the Blue Gold Program, both of which were revised during project implementation, in keeping with Government procedures.
  • Separate Memoranda of Agreement have been signed between BWDB and the Department for Livestock Services (DLS) and the Department of Fisheries (DoF) since the scope of their activities in Blue Gold did not warrant the formulation of separate DPPs. Funds for the agreed activities of DLS and DoF were provided through the budget of the technical assistance (TA) team on behalf of EKN.
  •  A Technical Assistance (TA) Contract defines the broad scope of activities for the technical assistance team commissioned by EKN to support implementation of the Blue Gold Program. Extensions to the end-date of the Program, and adjustments to the scope of services formalised through a number of amendments to the TA Contract.

Further information on these key documents is presented in Section G Chapter 28 'Project management Arrangements'.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Program for Integrated Sustainable Economic Development by improving the Water and Productive Sectors in selected Polders, Program Document (PDF). GoB, GoN, BLUE GOLD. August 2012.

See also[edit | edit source]

Previous chapter:
Chapter 03: Social, Physical and Environmental Context
Blue Gold Lessons Learnt Wiki
Section A: Background and context
Next chapter:
Chapter 05: Outcomes and Impact from Participatory Water Management
Section A: Background and context
Chapter 01: Overview, Purpose and Structure of Report Chapter 02: Institutional Setting Chapter 03: Social, Physical and Environmental Context
  1. Overview
  2. Water management for development
  3. Purpose of the Report
  4. Structure of this report
  1. Executive Authorities
  2. Implementing Agencies
  3. Other public sector organisations
  4. Private Sector
  1. Geography of the coastal zone
  2. History of polders
  3. Social context
  4. Polder infrastructure
Chapter 04: Policy framework, history of interventions and project definition
  1. Policy and regulatory framework for Participatory Water Management
  2. History of interventions
  3. Project definition
Blue Gold Wiki
Executive summary: A Call for Action
Section A: Background and context Section B: Development Outcomes Section C: Water Infrastructure


Summary and Introduction


Section D: BGP Interventions: Participatory Water Management Section E: Agricultural Development Section F: Responsible Development: Inclusion and Sustainability




Section G: Project Management Section H: Innovation Fund Files and others