LGED: Small scale water resources development interventions

--Md. Shahidul Haque, Project Director

Water resources play a vital role in the economic development of Bangladesh, being a riverine country downstream of several tributaries flowing from the Himalayas and other upstream sources. With frequent flood and drought cycles occurring in many places of the country, sustainable water resources ma nagement is pivotal for rural development. The food grain production plan of the Government, in line with Millennium Development Goal (MDG), puts major emphases   on proper utilization of water resources. Substantial water resources development activities of the country were initiated in the early 1960s. LGED has implemented Small Scale Water Resources Development (SSWRD) schemes as a component under different projects. Since 1995-96, LGED has been carrying out SSWRD activities as a sectoral program with participation of local stakeholders. Meanwhile, the Government made major water sector reforms with the formulation of The National Water Policy (NWP) in 1999 and The National Water Management Plan (NWMP) in 2001. The NWP mandates that “The Local Government will implement FCDI projects having command areas of 1,000 hectares or less”.

LGED, as technical support agency to all Local Government Institutions, convened the preparation of the Guidelines for Participatory Water Management (GPWM) in 2000 and is now preparing ‘District Water Resources Assessment’ for each district. LGED is implementing various SSWRD projects in conformity with the NWP, NWMP, GPWM and DWRA.

LGED’s SSWRD interventions objectives, activities and implementation process of are presented below:

Objectives of the Project

The overall goal is to support the Government’s poverty reduction effort through  an  increase of sustainable agricultural production. The Project’s objective is to develop sustainable stakeholder-driven small-scale water resources management systems with special attention to the poorer section of the population. This objective will be achieved by

(i)   Constructing water management infrastructures and establishing sustainable management systems

(ii) Strengthening operation and maintenance by institutionalizing beneficiary participation

(iii)       Strengthening Government is the safes of  projects institutions and facilities by establishing sustainable water management systems

(iv) Enhancing the access of the landless poor in the subproject areas to employment opportunities and to public natural resources.

Activities

The activities include community-based infrastructure development ensuring broad based beneficiary participation, water resources oriented support programs for concerned stakeholders, monitoring and quality control of institutional, construction and environmental

aspects and institutional strengthening of the small scale water resources sector.

Implementation Process

Subprojects programmes are implemented  in form  which is participatory and divided into four distinct stages under two parallel processes:

“Institutional” involving software elements and “Technical” involving hardware elements. The stages of the subproject development process are as follows:

Stage 1: Identification and Feasibility

Driven by the demand of local stakeholders to address specific surface water management needs, the Union

Parishad initiates a proposal to the Upazila Development Coordination Committee (UDCC). With approval from

UDCC, the concerned Upazila Engineer prepares a brief proposal in prescribed format and forwards in the same to the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Unit based at LGED HQ through district level Executive

Engineer for prescreening. A team of multidisciplinary professionals carries out field reconnaissance, followed by

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and feasibility studies. Subproject proposals are reviewed and approved by the

District Level Inter Agency Project Evaluation Committee (DLIAPEC).

Stage 2: Design and Institution Building

Following the approval of DLIAPEC, engineering design and establishment of Water Management Association (WMA) process are completed  along with motivational awareness campaign among stakeholders. The WMA on being  formalized through registration with  the Department of Cooperatives when it becomes Water Management. Cooperative Association (WMCA). Draft designs are prepared, discussed with the stakeholders in a meeting in the field and approved by them. The WMCA, Union Parishad and LGED Executive Engineer sign a formal tripartite implementation agreement before tendering for civil works and contracting out Labour Contracting Societies (LCS) for earthwork. Before signature of the implementation agreement, the WMCA requires to fulfill some prerequisites including:) enrollment of at least 70% of the direct beneficiary households in the WMCA ii) collection of full O&M fund from direct beneficiaries and deposit in a joint account operated by WMCA and LGED iii) project affected persons are consulted, environmental mitigation and land acquisition plans are prepared and approved.

Stage 3: Construction and First Year O&M

Civil works are implemented by the  contractors while earthworks are awarded to LCS groups comprised of local landless, disadvantaged destitute males and females. The WMCA monitors construction quality through a 7-member construction supervision committee including one man and one woman from the Union Parishad. The members of this committee usually continue to form the O&M Committee, Training is provided to committee members so that they can undertake O&M of completed infrastructure. After having observed the infrastructure performance during the first year of O&M,the subproject is handed over to the WMCA through a formal lease agreement with LGED.

Stage 4: Sustainable Operation and Maintenance

This stage starts after subproject hand over and continues throughout its lifetime. Continuous monitoring and support is provided by the IWRM Unit of LGED and other partner agencies. The WMCA and the O&M committee receive regular trainings so that they are able to carry out O&M of the subproject.The WMCA prepares O&M plans, undertakes routine maintenance works and collects O&M fees from direct beneficiaries in proportion to their land area benefited by the subproject.

Completed, ongoing and upcoming Small Scale Water Resources Projects

Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project at Union and Upazila Level (1995-2002)

The project was implemented during – 1995 to 200. It covered 37 districts ie. the western half of Bangladesh.The Project cost was US$ 58 million funded by the  Asian Development Bank (ADB), Government of the Netherlands (GON), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Government of Bangladesh (GOB) and beneficiaries. 280 subprojects were completed including construction of 613 hydraulic structures, re-sectioning 945 km of embankments and re-excavation of 1,162 km of canals. About 164,900 hectares of cultivated land provide benefit to around 142,500 farm households. 21 millions cubic meter  earthworks created temporary employment of about 8.38 million person days. Incremental production recorded in 2005 was 242,371 tons of cereal, 158,900 tons of non cereals and 2,072 tons of fish.

Second Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project (2002-2009)

The Second Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project covers the whole country except 3 hill districts. The Project cost is USS 78 million, funded by ADB, GON, GOB and beneficiaries. The Project implemented 300 sustainable stakeholder-driven, small scale water resources management subprojects. Through implementation of the Project, incremental cereal production is estimated at about 200,000 tons from about 180,000 hectares of cultivated land. About 280,000 farm families comprising about 1.70 million people are planned to benefit and temporary employment of about 10 million person-days is expected to be generated from about 20 million cubic metres of earthwork implementation. Poverty reduction will also be facilitated through increase in farm labour. Implementation of the Project is still under way and the overall progress is approximately 90%.

Project title

Participatory Small Scale Water Resources Sector Project (3rd Phase)

The Projects is implemented all over Bangladesh except the 03 (three) hill districts during 2010-2017 time period. The overall goal of the Project is to support the Government’s poverty reduction effort through the increase of sustainable agricultural production. The Project’s objective is to develop sustainable stakeholder-driven small-scale water resource management system with special attention to the poorer section of the population.

This objective will be management achieved by (i) Constructing water management infrastructure and establishing sustainable management system, (ii) Strengthening operation and maintenance by institutionalizing beneficiary participation, (iii) Strengthening Government institutions and facilities by establishing sustainable management system & (iv) Enhancing the access of the landless poor in the subproject area to employment opportunities and to public natural resources.

The estimated cost of the Projects is USD 114.86 million funded by ADB, IFAD & GoB. ADP provides USD 55.00 millions as loan, IFAD provides USD 32.00 millions as loan and GoB provides USD 27.86 million. Under the project 270 new subprojects and enhancement of 150 subprojects implemented under the two predecessor Projects will be implemented.

After implementation of the Project, incremental cereal production is estimated at about 181,352 tons and non-cereal production of 131,574 tons from 230,000 hectares of cultivable lands. Poverty reduction will also be facilitated through temporary employment in earthwork and increase in farm labour.

Overall physical progess of the project is 40% up to August 2013.