The National Water Policy, promulgated in 1999 provides policy direction for water sector in Bangladesh. Water resources management in Bangladesh faces immense challenge for resolving many diverse problems and issues. The most critical of these are alternating flood and water scarcity during the wet and the dry seasons, ever-expanding water needs of a growing economy and population, massive river sedimentation and bank erosion. With the increasing of population, urbanization and industrialization, there is a growing need for providing total water quality management, and maintenance of the eco-system. There is an urgency to satisfy multi-sector water needs with limited resources, promote efficient and socially responsible water use, delineate public and private responsibilities, and decentralize state activities where appropriate. All of these have to be accomplished under severe constraints, such as the lack of control over rivers originating outside the country's borders, the difficulty of managing the deltaic plain, and the virtual absence of unsettled land for building water structures. National Water Policy will guide management of the country's water resources by all the concerned ministries, agencies, departments, and local bodies that are assigned responsibilities for the development, maintenance, and delivery of water and water related services as well as the private users and developers of water resources. The National Water Policy will be reviewed periodically and revised if necessary.
The National Water Policy sets new paradigms for the water sector, which include: decentralized water management; cost sharing and cost recovery; private sector participation; community participation; nontraditional financing modalities; regulation separated from supply; and new rights, obligations and accountability. These will have considerable bearing on the existing institutions and the way in which they manage their affairs and inter-act with others.
Institutional and Legal Framework
Over 40 different agencies, organizations and categories of organizations are involved in the water sector, of which 35 are organizations related to central Government under 13 different Ministries are involved directly or indirectly for the implementation of the policy. The National Water Resources Council (NWRC) is responsible for coordinating all aspects of water management, and issues directives through its Executive Committee. Under the National Water Policy, WARPO has been made secretariat to the NWRC and is responsible for preparing the National Water Management Plan (NWMP)/now National Water Resources Plan, its updates, and monitoring the implementation. Agencies are responsible for preparing their own sub-regional plans within the framework established by NWMP. Bangladesh water Act 2013 (BWA) provides the legal frame work for the implementation of the National Water Policy. Executive committee of NWRC is responsible for the implementation of the Act, where WARPO has been assigned to play the role of secretariat to ECNWRC.