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Local stakeholders participation for small scale water resources management in Bangladesh




Ahmed, Bashir Uddin, author
Islam, Quazi Rezaul, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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As a lower riparian country Bangladesh is largely dependent on 57 transboundary rivers. The upstream courses of these river systems traverse India, China, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. Each day, approximately 3,000 million cubic meters of water discharge into the Bay of Bengal through these rivers. However, flows are much lower during the dry season when surface water is critical to such uses as irrigation, salinity control, habitat preservation, effluent dilution and navigation. Unilateral diversion of water from the transboundary rivers impedes agricultural development using irrigation-fertilizers-modern varieties technology. Thus, sustainable irrigation system is instrumental for the growth of food production. For this, peoples' participation is prerequisite to form social capital in building consensus about the irrigation water uses. Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) has developed a model to facilitate sustainable use of water resources and demonstrated its effectiveness for irrigation management. It develops stakeholders-driven water infrastructure in subprojects each covering 1,000 ha or less. LGED involves local people in subproject planning, design, construction and operation and maintenance (O&M). It has constructed 320 subprojects under the Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project. Case study in a subproject in northwestern part of the country found that local stakeholders' participation in managing water resources and operation of water control infrastructure results in excellent performance of irrigation system and improvement of distribution system. This raises irrigation efficiency with productive use of water and releases constraints on land use through facilitating cultivation in three crop seasons and increases the proportion of irrigated area under small farms.


Presented at the Role of irrigation and drainage in a sustainable future: USCID fourth international conference on irrigation and drainage on October 3-6, 2007 in Sacramento, California.

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