Flood defences to be improved in Bangladesh

Around one million people are set to benefit from a project that aims to improve flood defences and drainage in coastal areas in Bangladesh...

Around one million people are set to benefit from a project that aims to improve flood defences and drainage in coastal areas in Bangladesh.

Over half the population of Bangladesh’s coastal areas live below the poverty line. Improving food production and establishing business opportunities depends on creating effective protection against floods and building irrigation and drainage systems inside the polders (tracts of low lying land enclosed and protected by embankments or dykes).

The project is being funded by the Dutch government as part of the Netherlands Development Cooperation and Mott MacDonald is providing consultancy services.

Called the Blue Gold programme, it will cover 25 polders with a combined area of 160,000 ha. The programme will concentrate on three districts: Satkhira, Khulna and Patuakhali. The aim is to empower rural community co-operatives to sustainably manage their defence, drainage and irrigation infrastructure. The main components of the programme include:

  • Creating 600 new co-operatives – to work alongside the 250 that have already been formed – and equipping them with technical, advocacy, communication and project management skills to strengthen water management assets
  • Advising on irrigation, drainage, land and fisheries management techniques to improve agricultural and aquacultural productivity to create more income
  • Providing knowledge and strengthening business development.

Each co-operative will have an average of 250 members. Co-operatives will work with government departments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to decide the direction of the development and discuss what local producers can do to increase their incomes.

Hero Heering, project director at Mott MacDonald, said: “The project builds on lessons learned from previous programmes, including the Integrated Planning for Sustainable Water Management programme (IPSWAM) that we have been involved in since 2007. It takes into account new insights in how to deal with challenges created by the dynamic rivers of Bangladesh. IPSWAM has improved agricultural yields by up to 50%.”

Blue Gold will be operational in 2013 and extend over a six year period. The project will be led by Mott MacDonald, in association with Fem Consult based in the Netherlands, Socioconsult, BETS and IDE based in Bangladesh.


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