IWM: A centre of excellence on integrated water resources management

-Prof. Dr. M. Monowar Hossain

Monowar Hossain

Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) provides world-class services in the field of Water Modelling, Computational Hydraulics & Allied Sciences for Integrated Water Resources Management. The applications of IWM modelling tools cover a wide range of water related areas such as: flood control and flood forecasting, water supply and urban water management, irrigation and drainage, river morphology, salinity and sediment transport, coastal hydraulics, port, coast and estuary management, environmental impact assessment, urban water management, climate change, modelling bridge hydraulics and related infrastructure development.

Short History

The geographical location of Bangladesh at the tail end of three great river basins has compelled it to develop high level analytical capabilities in the state-of-the-art mathematical water modelling to support its water resources management. Accordingly Surface Water Simulation Modelling Programme (SWSMP) was launched in 1986 by the Ministry of Water Resources during development of Master Plan for water sector development. In the following a brief overview of development of IWM is discussed.

The SWSMP continued its 2nd and 3rd phases with the technical guidance of DHI under a new project organization ‘Surface Water Modelling Centre (SWMC)’. By the end of 1996, SWMC was transformed into an independent organization to operate under the Trust Act 1882.

From August 2002 Surface Water Modelling Centre (SWMC) has been renamed as Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) to match with its research and learning capability created in its user community and as per mandate provided in the Trust Act.


IWM has a high degree of competence in the field of computational hydraulics. Today IWM models are widely applied in Bangladesh to study river flow and floods, irrigation and drainage, morphology and sediment transport, salinity and water quality, off take dynamics, coastal and offshore-hydraulics, marine environment and groundwater flow processes. Hydrodynamic models are also applied to support the planning of dredging at river beds, hydraulic design of bridges and river training works, cooling water studies for power plants, siltation at the port and harbours, coastal  protection,   land reclamation and navigation route maintenance, flood forecasting and warning, sea level rise, biodiversity conservation, urban water management and rural water supply.

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In developing the models, IWM undertakes its own data campaign and has earned a high reputation for fast and cost effective river surveys in large rivers using state-of-the-art technologies and equipment such as RTK-GPS, DGPS, Digital Echosounder, ADCP, directional current meter and turbidity meter. Presently systematic campaigns are undertaken to produce GIS based topographic maps using Digital geo-references Geoid Models, Total Station and digital level. IWM has developed a very comprehensive database covering almost the entire country for a long period; the database is computerized and is maintained online.

Model Studies

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IWM has so far supported with models for 350 projects and at present about 30 projects are ongoing. Notable projects-are: National Water Management Plan, Mathematical Modelling for Safe Drinking Water Sources Identification in 148 Pourashava, Impact Assessment of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise on the Monsoon Flooding, Improvement of Drainage Congestion and Water Logging problems from Bhabodaho Area, Kurigram Irrigation Project: South and North Unit, Haripur Power Plant Study, Climate change impact on coastal communities and livelihood, Ganges Barrage Modelling Study, Morphological Forecast of the River Jamuna in connection with operation and maintenance of the Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge, Khaliajuri Flood Control and Drainage Improvement Project, Assessment of Future Water Supply for Dhaka City, GIS based MIS for Dhaka WASA, Pilot Study on Artificial Recharge  to Upper Dupitila Aquifer by Rainwater Harvesting, Groundwater Management and Zoning Study for Repair and Rehabilitation of DTW Project in Greater Dinajpur District, Sewerage Master Plan of Dhaka City, Chandpur Town Protection Project, Deep Tubewell Installation Project in Barind Area, Faridpur Town and Char Bhadrashan Protection from Padma  Erosion, Phulbari Coalmine Development Project, Dhaka Integrated Flood Control Embankment cum Eastern Bypass Road Multipurpose Project, Meghna Estuary Study, Khulna-Jessore Drainage Rehabilitation Project, Coastal Embankment Rehabilitation Project, Gorai River Restoration Project, Water Quality of Buriganga, Command Area Development of Teesta Barrage Project, Fourth Water Supply project for Dhaka WASA, Developing and maintaining the basic models  for Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre of BWDB, Database for BWDB hydrology, South Comilla-North Noakhali Drainage Project, Flood Management in Gumti River,  Hydraulic Modelling of Climate Change on Agriculture.

Overseas Experience

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The Institute has also provided services in the Hydraulic Salinity and Groundwater Modelling Study of Langat River Water Abstraction Studies in Malaysia, Flood Forecasting of Sarwak Valley of Malaysia, Neel Ganga River of Sri Lanka, Sea Level Rise with the University of New Zealand, Capacity building of National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia, EIA of Coastal Land Development Projects in the Johore Bay, Langkawi Island and Malacca Strait in Malaysia, Western Johore Agriculture Development Project and Navigation Improvement of Sungai Langat River in Malaysia etc, Hydrological and Morphological Study on Labuan Island in the East Coast of Malaysia, Mathematical Modelling for Flood Management in connection with Khatlon Province Flood Risk Management Project in Tajikistan, Improvement  of  Flood  Forecasting  and Warning  System of  Pampanga  and  Agno  River  Basin,  Philippines, Integrated Flood Risk Management Plan for the West Bassac Area in Cambodia, Support to Strengthening National Capacity for Flood Risk Reduction and Adaptation to Climate Change, Bagmati Basin, Nepal.

In 2011, Institute of Water Modelling has completed the setting up of its office in Malaysia named ‘Institute of Water Modelling Malaysia’ in Kuala Lumpur. Through setting up of the office, IWM can now provide more efficient service to meet the increasingly growing demand of mathematical modeling service in Malaysia.