Asian Development Bank

ADB grant extended to improve water resource management in Bangladesh


Source: Asian Development Bank

A new grant extended to Bangladesh will continue efforts to improve development of the nation's small-scale water resources, which offer essential support to agricultural and fish production in one of the world's poorest countries.

The Japan Special Fund is providing a $600,000 grant to design the Participatory Small-Scale Water Resources Project. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will manage the grant, and the government of Bangladesh will provide $100,000 to complete the project's funding.

The project will strengthen the Local Government Engineering Department's integrated water resources management unit's ability to plan, design and evaluate the use of small-scale water resources, as well as provide support for the operation and maintenance of the resources.

The project will also encourage local participation of the resources' beneficiaries and enhance the capacity of community-based water management organizations.

The assistance is the third in a series of small-scale water resource development projects supported by ADB in Bangladesh. The first two phases included organizational reform and capacity building for the Local Government Engineering Department.

'Key challenges faced by Bangladesh in water management include flooding, river erosion, dry season water shortages and environmental degradation,' said Yasmin Siddiqi, Water Resources Management Specialist. 'The situation is made worse by inadequate water management infrastructure, limited participation by project beneficiaries and weak operation and maintenance funding.'

Bangladesh has a total area of about 14.7 million hectares, out of which 8 million are used for farming. Despite considerable progress, the country remains one of the poorest, with gross domestic product per capita of $447, poverty incidence of 50% and a child malnutrition rate of 48%. More than 80% of the population lives in rural areas, and two-thirds are landless. Those with productive land suffer from flooding. While the share of agriculture to gross domestic product, currently at 19%, has been declining as the economy expands, it remains the primary source of income of the people, providing 63% of employment.

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