$102.26m WB credit for water projects
The World Bank has approved a US$ 102.26 million credit to support Bangladesh's efforts in improving its national water resource management.
The Bank has approved the loan in Washington DC on Tuesday with an expectation that some 2 million households would benefit from the project, according to a message received here yesterday.
It said crop losses during pre-monsoon and monsoon periods would decline and agricultural production would increase due to improved drainage and flood control and expansion of irrigation.
“As we've just learned from the recent devastating floods, management of water resources is critical to mitigate the impact of floods,” World Bank Country Director Xian Zhu said.
“This project will support rehabilitation and improvement of existing flood control, drainage, and irrigation schemes, which will reduce the vulnerability to future natural disasters,” he added.
The Water Management Improvement Project is designed to enhance water management by expanding the role of local communities, from planning and design to operations and management.
It also aims to improve institutional performance of the country's principal water institutions - Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO).
Bangladesh is prone to recurring natural disasters like floods, erosion, cyclones and tidal surges that result in human casualties and economic losses.
Each year, up to 30 percent of the country is inundated, flooding about 6 million hectares. People living in coastal and riverine areas in general are specially exposed to the dangers of natural disasters.
The project will support rehabilitation and improvement of about 102 existing flood control, drainage, and irrigation schemes and transfer their management to the local communities through Water Management Organisations (WMOs).
It will also support measures to improve performance of another 98 existing schemes that do not require major rehabilitation and have functioning WMOs or similar organisations.
“The long-term objective of the project is to institutionalise a participatory management process for improving the performance of all feasible water schemes,” said Masood Ahmad, World Bank's lead water resources specialist and project team leader.
“Participation of all stakeholders, especially local communities, from the outset is crucial in order to promote sustainability and to ensure the long-term integration of social and environmental considerations,” he said.
The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period. It carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.