Developing water innovations for local communities in Bangladesh

Published: 11 April 2018

The coastal zone of Bangladesh offers tremendous development potential of national importance. Multiple crops can be cultivated along with fish and shrimp culture. The coastal region is also vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones, storm surges and coastal erosion. Other challenges include waterlogging, droughts, floods and salinity intrusion, many of which have a man-made dimension. Poor communication, lack of education and health care facilities and a prolonged absence of safe drinking water further contribute to the overall vulnerability of coastal communities.

Photo credit: Laura Basco Carrera

The districts of the coastal zone of Bangladesh

To improve the welfare and livelihood activities of local communities in the Western Coast of Bangladesh by developing innovations and knowledge on water management Deltares and the Institute of Water Modelling (IWM), with the collaboration of  other partners,  have joined forces for “The Water Management Knowledge and Innovation Programme” (WMKIP). The program is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh. It started in December 2017 and will have three years of duration.

The goal of this programme to contribute to the Long Term Development Goals for the Southern Coastal Region and Objectives of the Blue Gold program through tested and sustainable water management innovations, knowledge development and participatory action research.

The program will develop innovations and knowledge on four innovation themes:

  • Drainage improvement
  • Enhancing operational water management and monitoring,
  • River and embankment management and protection
  • Participatory Water Management, with a view to including disadvantaged groups

Photo credit: WMKIP

Strengthening Cooperation

The partnership in this project will strengthen the relationship between Dutch and Bangladesh knowledge organizations. Horizontal learning is one of the critical components of WMKIP. Through this component WMKIP aims to:

  • Enhance horizontal learning of water management and agriculture-based organizations in polder water management in the polders and districts of the Southern Coastal Region
  • Improve capacity of stakeholders at community and institutional levels in support of sustainable innovation development
  • Outreach and information sharing on knowledge and innovations developed at district and national level
  • Improve partnerships between Bangladesh and Netherlands knowledge partners and practitioners with a view to long term knowledge cooperation

Local engagement

Community engagement and participatory action research are key principles within the programme. These will ensure a strong linkage between innovations, research and knowledge development to practical and sustainable improvements of people’s lives.