fbpx 45207-002: Irrigation Management Improvement Project | Asian Development Bank

Bangladesh: Irrigation Management Improvement Project

Sovereign (Public) Project | 45207-002 Status: Active

ADB is helping Bangladesh tap the full potential of large-scale irrigation schemes. The project will modernize the Muhuri-Kahua Irrigation Project in Chittagong and finance the feasibility study and detailed design for the upgrade of Ganges-Kobadak and Teesta irrigation projects in Khulna and Rangpur. It will help establish performance-based irrigation management and agriculture support services.

Project Details

Project Officer
Ahmad, Zahir U. South Asia Department Request for information
  • Bangladesh
  • Loan
  • Agriculture, natural resources and rural development
Project Name Irrigation Management Improvement Project
Project Number 45207-002
Country Bangladesh
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Loan 3135-BAN: Irrigation Management Improvement Project
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 46.00 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development / Agricultural drainage - Agricultural production - Irrigation - Rural flood protection

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The project is designed to realize the full production potential of large-scale irrigation schemes in Bangladesh. It will address the recurrent lack of sustainable management, operation, and maintenance (MOM) and increase water productivity by transferring MOM schemes to private operators and introducing innovative infrastructure modernization. The project will focus on modernizing the Muhuri Irrigation Project (MIP) in Chittagong division. It will also finance a feasibility study and detailed design for modernizing the Ganges Kobadak Irrigation Project in Khulna division and the Teesta Irrigation Project in Rangpur division.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The primary sources of water in Bangladesh are local rainfall (about 250 cubic kilometers (km3) annually) and transboundary inflows (about 1,000 km3 annually), derived mainly from the Brahmaputra, Ganges, and Meghna rivers. Bangladesh occupies only 8% of the total drainage area of these rivers but is located at their downstream end. The result is an abundant excess of surface water during the summer monsoon months and water shortfalls during the winter dry months. The impossibility of developing dam facilities prevents flow regulation throughout the year. Despite being scarce, water is not well managed. Minimal attention is given to water use efficiency and equitable allocation. Many farmers rely on groundwater to supplement the limited and irregular surface water supplies. However, in many areas, the use of groundwater is significantly constrained by arsenic contamination and aquifer limitations. Consequently, the minimum flows required to meet total dry season demands are less than what is available from surface and groundwater. Competition for water is increasing between sectors including agriculture, domestic and industrial water use, navigation, fisheries, and conservation of natural eco-habitats. Possible changes in temperature and rainfall patterns due to global warming may also modify crop-water requirements and water availability, and adversely widen the current gap between supply and demand.

Performance of irrigated agriculture and large irrigation schemes. In 2010, 31.5% of the population was living below the poverty line. Although agriculture's share of gross domestic product has declined, it is the primary economic sector in rural areas and provides 63% of rural employment. Bangladesh has a net cultivable area of around 8 million hectares (ha). In FY2012, about 5.3 million ha were irrigated; total rice production was 33.5 million tons with 56% being produced during the dry season. Irrigated agriculture productivity remains chronically low; since FY2004 paddy yields have averaged 3.6 tons/ha. The low land productivity is attributable to unreliable irrigation supply; inadequate agriculture extension services; and poor access to farm inputs, markets, and agricultural credit services. Around 550,000 ha or 11% of the total irrigated area is under large irrigation schemes. However, only 46% of this area is currently irrigated during the dry season.

The lack of efficient and sustainable MOM continues to impact the productivity of large irrigation schemes. In 2012, MOM cost recovery from project beneficiaries of the Muhuri, Ganges- Kobadak, and Teesta irrigation schemes averaged 24%: Muhuri 63%, Teesta 18%, and Ganges Kobadak 0.26%. As a consequence, the schemes' infrastructure is degraded and needs rehabilitation and modernization. Other factors include inadequate government financing, lack of beneficiary empowerment and engagement in MOM, and limited capacity of public agencies resulting in weak service delivery. Specific issues in MIP are (i) inadequate budget for system MOM; (ii) lack of distinction between annual, periodic, or emergency maintenance of a system; and (iii) poor cost recovery from water management groups.

Since 2000 substantial efforts have been made to improve irrigation MOM through the introduction of participatory irrigation management, which has been generally successful on small and medium-sized schemes in Bangladesh but yielded limited results for large schemes. The variable performance of participatory irrigation management in improving irrigation MOM is internationally documented and private sector participation through public private partnership (PPP) is seen as an alternative approach. It has demonstrated promising results in a few developing countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, and Morocco but is still to be developed in Asia. In 2009, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided technical assistance (TA) to the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) to examine alternative approaches of service delivery agreements and management arrangements including PPP for sustainable irrigation MOM in large irrigation schemes. The TA proposed a conceptual framework for engaging a third party operator to address the shortcomings of the MIP's MOM. It established the basis for the social and economic feasibility of the approach and confirmed farmers' willingness to pay.

The National Water Policy, adopted in 1999, sets out a comprehensive framework for the water sector in general and for large surface water irrigation schemes, including a strategic vision comprising private irrigation MOM through leasing, concession, or management contracts. The government has established policy, legal, institutional, and planning frameworks for the water sector, which provide a suitable environment for developing necessary sector reforms. The Water Act, promulgated in May 2013, revised and consolidated existing laws that govern the ownership, utilization, and financial management of water.

The Sixth Five-Year Plan, 2011 to 2015 recognizes the need to increase agricultural productivity, foster crop diversification, and boost public spending on rural infrastructure. The plan also presents a strategic direction for medium- and large-scale surface water irrigation. At its highest level, the strategy focuses on modernization and improved management of existing irrigation systems and expansion of irrigation areas. To reduce public costs in sustainably operating these schemes and to improve delivery service, the strategy encourages the use of PPP wherever appropriate. As part of an overall investment program for the water sector, the government has approved an investment plan to rehabilitate and modernize all large surface water irrigation schemes at an estimated total cost of $745 million. The project will support the modernization of the MIP's infrastructure and MOM, including transferring MOM to the private sector. The project will finance preparation of a modernization strategy, including feasibility studies and detailed designs, for the Ganges -Kobadak and Teesta irrigation projects.

MIP construction was completed in 1986. The design enabled dry season irrigation as well as supplemental wet season irrigation by constructing the Feni Closure Dam and Regulator to create a reservoir downstream of the confluence of the Feni, Muhuri, and Kalidash- Pahalia rivers. The backwater from the barrage enters the natural khals (channels) and canal network by gravity. From there it was to be lifted by about 800 low-lift diesel pumps to irrigate the fields. The project was to increase the dry season rice area from about 6,000 ha to 20,000 ha. Initially, farmers experienced major improvements in production and were able to cultivate much larger areas with rice; however, siltation of the reservoir and khals due to lack of maintenance and reduced runoff in the river has reduced the benefits over the years. The area irrigated in the dry season decreased to 11,300 ha. The increased cost of diesel fuel combined with low pump efficiency and decrease in the rice price contributed to discouraging farmers from cultivating. Opportunities to substantially increase water use efficiency and reduce pumping cost through innovative design modernization and improved MOM were identified during the project preparatory TA and will be supported by the project.

The project is consistent with ADB's Strategy 2020 and country partnership strategy for Bangladesh, 2011 to 2015 by reinforcing core areas of operations (such as infrastructure and water resources management) and investing in irrigation infrastructure modernization.

Impact Sustained high growth of agriculture in Bangladesh
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Increased productivity and sustainability of the MIP
Progress Toward Outcome The PMDC services package was awarded to Mott MacDonald Limited on 18 February 2015. The PMDC third team leader was fielded by Mott MacDonald on 10 April 2018. The Mission was informed that he was dismissed on 12 July 2018 by Mott MacDonald. The team leader position must be filled in with a competent inhouse candidate following the qualification and experience criteria as outlined in the TOR. MML provided two CVs of inhouse experts, which did not meet the criteria. They assured to look for one urgently. At the same time the PPP and the communication specialists will be mobilized in January 2019. The PPP specialist will work in priority on preparation for MIP post C-IMO institutional arrangement for management operation and maintenance. The Mission reminded that the recruitment of a management irrigation management operator was included as loan covenant. Nevertheless, the expert is required to work in close collaboration with all parties and verify the suitability of the approach and interest of private parties for long term leases. The expert is required to study carefully the PPTA report. The current Mission leader, Arnaud Cauchois, remains available to support the expert in these specific tasks. The financial management specialist's input should again be mobilized/utilized (for 7 days) for developing an Excel program to monitor / track invoices and withdrawal applications at the PMU including hands on training to the PMU accounting staff. The remaining inputs of the financial management specialist may be reallocated to the safeguards specialist for GKIP and TBIP as the revised / alternative proposal (scenario 4) may call for these inputs further.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Performance-based irrigation management and agriculture support services established

2. Irrigation system infrastructure rehabilitated and modernized

3. Project efficiently managed with effective institutional development

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)






Being complied





Geographical Location
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects The project is categorized B for environment and an initial environmental examination was prepared in accordance with SPS. The negative impacts are typical to any construction activities involving earth works and can easily be mitigated through adoption of measures described in the environmental management plan. Consultations were undertaken with affected stakeholders and a suitable grievance redress mechanism has been proposed to resolve any project related grievances. The PMU will be supported by PMDC environmental specialists monitor and supervise implementation of the MIP modernization environmental management plan.
Involuntary Resettlement The Project is classified as Category C. The requirement for temporary relocation and resettlement during the scheme rehabilitation was avoided through by reducing the canals cross sections (steeper side slopes) in populated area. A resettlement framework (RF) prepared in accordance with the government's laws and regulations and ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement (SPS, 2009) as a prudent measure to address any involuntary resettlement-related uncertainty during the project implementation, should any issue arise. BWDB has experience in dealing with safeguards including with ADB projects and will be supported by appropriate consultant specialist.
Indigenous Peoples The project is categorized as C. There are no indigenous peoples as defined for operational purposes by the SPS in MIP.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design ADB maintains close dialogue with the government and other stakeholders to ensure commitment remains and the project communication campaign keeps farmers and local politicians engaged.
During Project Implementation Participation is an important aspect of the project. Public awareness programs for gender, social, and infrastructure subproject related measures will be implemented. The Stakeholders Communication Strategy implementation will engage and inform relevant IMIP stakeholders and sectors with timely, accurate, and comprehensive information shared among stakeholders. Such information sharing will help to build consensus and ensure continuous stakeholder support throughout the Project. The stakeholder Engagement and Communication Strategy (SE&C) is to significantly increase stakeholder and community awareness of the Project strategy, activities and outputs in order to improve stakeholder engagement and to develop greater community support. The EA is meeting with water management groups on concerns regarding their participation in civil woks in khal excavations. Workshops are conducted in upazilas to increase awareness on the project.Trainings on productive irrigated agriculture for farmers are carried out.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

Consultant selection and engagement will be carried out in accordance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2013, as amended from time to time). In view of the lack of experience of the Bangladesh Water Development Board with performance-based management contracts and the need to ensure expeditious mobilization, the government requested ADB to recruit the project management and design consultant (PMDC) and the irrigation management operator (IMO). BWDB retains the responsibility for negotiating and signing the contract with the PMDC and IMO, issuing the notice to proceed, and supervising their services. The PMDC and IMO recruitment will adopt a 90:10 quality- cost ratio since a high level of expertise is essential to design performance-based irrigation management approaches for the Ganges -Kobadak and Teesta irrigation projects and to establish a strong and sustainable management organization for the Muhuri Irrigation Project. In addition, incentives linked to the performance of the construction-phase IMO consultant will be paid against achievement of key milestones. BWDB, with support from the PMDC, will monitor the IMO's performance against the milestones. Least-cost selection will be used for small consulting assignments, including external audits, independent safeguards monitoring, and simple studies.

For the Muhuri Irrigation Project (MIP), BWDB will recruit a private consulting company or consortium through competitive selection and enter into a 5-year management contract agreement. The construction-phase Irrigation Management Operator (IMO) will be responsible for (i) the delivery of efficient service and revenue collection to recover the cost for MOM, (ii) construction supervision of MIP civil works, (iii) participatory design of level 3 system modernization, and (iv) development of pilot agricultural demonstrations and income generating activities. It is envisaged that after 5 years, the M-IMO will be recruited through a 15-year lease contract to maintain the MOM levels established during the 5-year first stage. The contract will be awarded through a competitive tender based on (i) a fixed fee for the lease with bidders presenting a financial offer for the water charge, or (ii) a predetermined water charge with bidders presenting a financial offer for the lease. After 15 years, the contract will be retendered.

Procurement All procurement of goods and works will be undertaken in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines. Procurement packages for civil works will be split into eight packages.
Responsible ADB Officer Ahmad, Zahir U.
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Bangladesh Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Bangladesh Water Development Board
3 DIT Extension Avenue
Hoque Chamber, Motijheel Commercial Area
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Concept Clearance 12 Sep 2012
Fact Finding 21 Jul 2013 to 05 Aug 2013
MRM 22 Nov 2013
Approval 30 Jun 2014
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 27 Mar 2019

Loan 3135-BAN

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
30 Jun 2014 14 Aug 2014 16 Sep 2014 31 Dec 2020 30 Jun 2022 -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 58.00 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 46.00 30 Jun 2014 25.12 0.00 61%
Counterpart 12.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 30 Jun 2014 15.48 0.00 38%

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.


Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Loan No. 3135-BAN: Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) [CW-06 ICB] Invitation for Bids Closed 27 Sep 2018 26 Nov 2018
Loan No. 3135-BAN: Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) [CW-05 ICB] Invitation for Bids Closed 08 May 2018 23 Jul 2018
Loan No. 3135-BAN: Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) [CW-04] REBIDDING Invitation for Bids Closed 11 Apr 2018 23 May 2018
Loan No. 3135-BAN: Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) [CW-04] Invitation for Bids Closed 13 Dec 2017 11 Jan 2018
Loan No. 3135-BAN: Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) [CW9] Invitation for Bids Closed 19 Sep 2017 18 Oct 2017

Contracts Awarded

Contract Title Approval Number Contract Date Contractor Contractor Address Executing Agency Contract Description Total Contract Amount (US$) Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)
CW-8A: Construction of New Water Control Structure S, Sluices; Rehabilitation of Structures, Sluices Loan 3135 27 Jun 2017 Dawn Corporation - Nahean Engineers & Builder Takia Road, Syed Bari, Rampur, Feni, Bangladesh Bangladesh Water Development Board Construction 1,385,553.00 1,233,449.00
Supply of Geo-Textile Bags at Kaitala in Pabna, Chauhali in Sirajganj, and Harirampur in Manikganj Dist. (G-04/2016-2017) Loan 3135 26 Jan 2017 Dhaka Metal Trunk Road, Feni Bangladesh Bangladesh Water Development Board Construction 162,959.09 144,768.67

Procurement Plan