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Water Resources Planning Organization
Secretariat to Executive Committee of National Water Resources Council
» Background of IWRM in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is continuously striving adapting to the their needs and changes to implementation an approach of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the country. Prior to independence a large scale flood control and drainage project and surface water irrigation were implemented following IECO Master Plan in 60s, primarily with an aim to increase agricultural production which continued in 70s and 80s also. Following the independence in 1971, as per study in 1972, extensive minor irrigation in winter season using low lift pumps (LLP), tube wells and quick-gestation flood control projects in shallow flooded areas were taken as strategy again for more food production to feed the growing population. Since then groundwater based agriculture increase in many fold and still continuing to play the major role in the countries food production. Ganges flow was reduced at Farraka in 1974 and Ganges dependent area started suffering from scarcity of freshwater since then. The National water Plan (1987, 1991) reviewed the rapidly decreasing dry season flows in the rivers and the alternate potential for groundwater resources to supplement dry season need for dry season agriculture and recommended less FCD investment. Arsenic in shallow aquifer, especially in the southern region complicated and worsen the situation of fresh water availability. Government issued National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation and Implementation Plan in 2004. Ganges treaty was signed in 1994 which bought some relief to the situation.

After the devastating flood of 1989, Flood Action Plan (FAP) was initiated. Moonson rainfall and associated cross-border causes one fifth of inundation for 2-5 months in normal year. In extreme cases over two third of land gets flooded as it happened in 1998; the inundation lasted more than 2 months and huge losses. The extreme disaster like cyclone of 1991 triggers more infrastructure in the coastal areas. Bangladesh Flood and Water Strategy (BFWMS) in 1996 from the lesson learned recommended for flood proofing and non-structural approach in rural areas and FCD only in area of high economic interest. as per recommendations Government issued guidelines for participatory water management, environmental and social analysis to reduce environmental losses from water projects. National Water Policy was issued in 1999 and National water Management Plan was issued in 2001 to implement a more coordinated approach of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). With the climate change issue coming up Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy (BCCS) and Action Plan was prepared in 2008 with a view of mainstreaming climate changes initiatives in different sectoral main activities. Very recently Bangladesh Water law has been issued in 2013 to supplement the existing laws so that directives of policy and the plan may be operationalise. 
Despite existence of sufficient policy, plan and legislative support, the water management situation is increasingly becoming complex both in technical, institutional and social terms. With the increased population growth, economic development, urbanization, reduction in wetlands and climate changes, more pressure is expected on the water management in the coming days. A more complex systems of infrastructure, management and governance, with a changing role of government and private sector are becoming essential to seek the remedy of the existing situation and impending situation with a longer term vision. Bangladesh aspires to become a middle income country by 2021. Looking back the past of 50 years Government of Bangladesh has embarked on preparing a fifty to hundred years' long "Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100" with the help from Government of Netherlands to deal with issues like climate change, water resources management, river dredging and construction of embankment in a coordinated manner. The project in question therefore aims to improving institutional capacity in support to integrated water management to prepare our self to face the future challenges ahead more prudently.

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Water Resources Planning Organization
72 Green Road, Dhaka-1215,Bangladesh
Telephone: +88 02 44819006, +88 02 44819015
Email:  dg@warpo.gov.bd
Fax: +88 02 44819002
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