• Introduction
  • Bangladesh is an agricultural country. A sustainable management of water resources is essential for agricultural development. The growing population is enforcing the demand of water to rise in domestic, agricultural, industrial and development activities. Reliance on underground water is increasing due to the climate change and decline of the flow of rivers. Ministry of water resources is responsible to ensure the needs of the people and the sustainable development of water through a balanced and integrated water resources management. Ministry of Water Resources through its departments and agencies play central role in various welfare activities.
  • Bangladesh is a silted up delta. About 405 nos. of rivers along with the Padma-the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Jamuna and the Meghna are flowing through Bangladesh. Ministry of Water Resources is providing services by the implementation of development projects on flood control, irrigation and drainage, protection of river bank erosion, delta development, construction of barrages, regulators, sluices, embankment, rubber dam, flood control embankment in coastal areas, excavation and re-excavation of canals, irrigation, reduce water logging, flood control, protection of border river bank and prevention of river erosion, land reclamation for water resources development and management. At present, large irrigation projects and large river dredging under Capital Dredging Project to restore the navigability of rivers and Haor-baor development activities are given priority. The Ministry also contributes to increase the country’s territory through land reclamation activities from sea.
  • To achieve the Purpose and Objectives of Vision-2021, Delta plan-2100 and & 7thFive year Plan of the present Government, this ministry is working sincerely and attentively as instructed by our honorable Prime Minister. The success of Bangladesh has been acclaimed worldwide for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Subsequently, the goals of sustainable development within 2030 declared by the United Nation, the government is committed to moderate, efficient and sustainable use & management of water resources as well as to ensure adequate and safe water for all by keeping in mind the demand of future generation.
  • Ministry of Water Resources is working to ensure more participation of women in productivity growth and labour market & income generating activities. In this ministry, employment opportunities is being created as a result of more participation of women in infrastructure development, maintenance, ground work, water management in the implemented projects. This will increase their income and social dignity as well.
  • Major Functions of the Ministry
  • Formulate national policy for irrigation, flood control, mitigation of water logging, improvement of drainage system, protection from river erosion and prevention of salinity and desertification and issues relating to technical assistance.
  • Manage all issues relating to flood forecasting and warning, management of flood control and other activities related to causes of flood and appraisal of the damages owing to flood.
  • Manage all issues relating to flood forecasting and warning, management of flood control and other activities related to causes of flood and appraisal of the damages owing to flood.
  • Conduct basic and applied research on river basin and flood control infrastructures and carry out hydrological survey and data collection.
  • International and regional co-operation in the areas of flood control and development of Water Resources and works related to trans-boundary rivers by Joint River Commission.
  • Excavate and maintain canals and construct and maintain water control infrastructures under canal excavation programs.
  • Issues related to land conservation and reclamation, drainage, water logging and integrated development of Haor and Wetlands.
  • Issues related to construction of water reservoirs, embankments and barrages.
  • Conduct dredging to enhance water reserve capacity of the rivers and protection from erosion.
  • Strategic objectives of the Ministry of Water Resources for Women’s Advancement and Rights
  • Ensure balanced, integrated and sustainable management of water resources:

Women will be engaged in the irrigation activities of Water Development Board which will create employment opportunities. “Irrigation Management Improvement Project (IMIP) for Muhuri Irrigation Project has been taken to increase overall crop production through irrigation facilities around 17000 hectares of land. An effective revenue collection system and procedures will be set up through Pre-Paid Meter under this project. 5% of employment generated from civil works and 20% of employment related to Smartcard recharge vending will be reserved for women. As a result the financial and social status of women will be increased.

  • Flood control and township protection: Enhancing navigability of rivers, reducing rate of river erosion, ensuring water supply in dry season, moreover reduction the country’s poverty, the work of 156 km river dredging, 178 km excavation and re­excavation of irrigation canals, construction/repair of 490 km irrigation structures, construction of 1 no. barrage/rubber dam will be completed. Flood control, prevention of saline water intrusion, removing of water logging construction/repair of 84.53 km flood control and coastal embankment’s, construction/repair of 271 nos. flood control & drainage structures and excavation/re-excavation of 648 km. drainage canals will be completed. As a result, the loss of crops and property of the poor people will be reduced. By implementation of these activities the employment opportunities will create for the poor. To prevent important installations and border rivers from erosion99 km of river bank protection work will be done by involvement of the poor people which will create employment opportunities and protect their properties, it will contribute to poverty reduction
  • Development of Haor and wetlands and water management of coastal region:

30,770 hectares of land has been developed under CDSP-4 Project. The socio­economic condition of the poorest community in the coastal areas will improve through the implementation of the project. 30683 hectares of land will be distributed to the landless peasants under this project. By construction of Musapur Closure near the mouth of the ChotoFeni river at Companiganj in Noakhali at a cost of Tk. 170.00 crore, a large areas in c/s of the closure free from flood as well as 300 hectares of land has been restored which is helpful to growth the main land of the country.The fair distribution of reclaimed land to destitute women will be increased their Social security.Houses to be constructed in the char and wetlands will also be distributed to destitute women. The involvement of women in river bank protection work will also increase. It will have a positive impact on the advancement of women.Participation of rural marginal farmers, among others, in the Water Resources Management Groups and in the management of other related general resources will be ensured. Involvement of the management groups in the planning and management of the activities of Water management development project and transfer of management responsibilities to the groups after the end of one year of the implementation will be ensured. Responsibility for the collection of service charges of Teesta Irrigation project will be given to rural marginal farmers along with

WMO. They will also be given training in water management. Consequently, employment opportunities will be created for income generating activities. The implementation of Landless Contracting Society (LCS) policy in earth-work related projects of BWDB will provide opportunities for employment for the rural poor. Women will be given training and their participation in the groups for water resource management will be ensured. As per guidelines of water management directory women will constitute 33% of total members in the water management organizations. This will contribute to the economic solvency and empowerment of women as well. 30% of the earth-work under of BWDB will be implemented by women organized under LCS which will induce economic solvency of the women. With the assistance of Development Partner JICA “Haor Flood Management and Livelihood Improvement Project (BWDB Part)” has been taken at a cost of 993.37. By implementation of these projects, ensure transportation system of crops in haor areas and the internal navigability of rivers & canals will increase. As a result, employment and income opportunities of the localities will be created.

  • River basin management: Women and children are the worst victims in the Floods, storms, storm surge as well as any natural or man-made disasters. To strengthen Flood Forecasting and Warning System a project “Strengthening Hydrological Information Services and Early Warning System” has been taken. If the project is implemented, the intensity of flood damages will be reduced. It is noted that, by modernization of the flood forecasting and warning system it has been possible to forecast flash floods in advance of 5 days in 54 important points and 10 days in 30 points in special cases from 2012-13 fiscal years. As a result, the mortality rate of women and infant has decreased. If the availability of water is increased by water basin management, poor farmers will be able to increase their productivity. As a result their income will increase and it will increase and it will have a direct impact on poverty alleviation. There is no direct impact.
    • Roles and Responsibilities of the Ministry of Women’s Advancement and Rights
    • The main objective of the Ministry of Water Resources is to fulfill the people’s requirements of water and ensure sustainable development through integrated water management. The National water Resources Policy 1999 was enacted for proper implementation and direction of different activities related to water sector. Until now different development activities were carried out in light of this policy. Considering the wider scope of water resource management and its involvement with a number of Ministries and Departments, an integrated act has been formulated by involving all stakeholders. ‘Bangladesh Water Act’2013 has ensured development, management, exploration, distribution, use, protection and conservation of water resources. Proper implementation of the act will prevent misuse and wastage of water resources as well as ensure its proper use. Women as well as the whole people will certainly get its benefit.
    • For sustainable development of the socio-economic condition of the people living in the 19 southern coastal districts, a comprehensive ‘Coastal Zone Policy, 2005’ has been formulated. The objective of this policy is alleviation of poverty, sustainable development of life and livelihood, integrated coastal development and involvement of the coastal people in the mainstream of development of the country. Under this policy people living in the coastal area will be provided education, medical assistance, safe dwelling place and safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. In addition, it will contribute to employment generation, proper use of land, water, fisheries, animal husbandry, and forestation for the people living in coastal area. The policy also targets ensuring gender equality in distribution of assets and employment opportunities in the coastal area. Thus the policy will directly impact on Women’s development of 19 coastal districts.
    • To alleviate poverty of destitute women, their participation has been ensured in the various infrastructures maintenance related activities of water sector in accordance with “Participatory Water Management Regulation 2014” prepared under Bangladesh Water Development Board Act 2000. According to this rule, every water management group will form cluster groups including landless men and women of the project area for infrastructure development or maintenance related activities of which 30% will be women. Moreover, to ensure the proper maintenance of earthwork in the various projects, there is a provision to include 2 (two) female members out of 6 (six) members in the executive committee of water management groups.
  • Priority Spending Areas and Benefits for Women’s Advancement


Priority spending Area/Program Impact on women’s advancement

(Direct and Indirect)

1 2 3
1. Excavation/Re- Excavation of Rivers and canals, Construction

of Structures and their

maintenance works

❖   Rivers and canals are the primary source of water for irrigation. These rivers and canals are gradually being silted up and as such, excavation /re-excavation of rivers and canals has become imperative.

❖   Excavation/Re-excavation of rivers/canals, construction of structures and their maintenance will protect agriculture and properties, create employment opportunities for the poor, a large number of whom are women. This will increase women’s social security and empowerment.




Priority spending Area/Program Impact on women’s advancement

(Direct and Indirect)

1 2 3
    ❖ Employment opportunities for rural women will be created in different irrigation activities to be implemented during next three years.
2. Repair/ maintenance and development of existing coastal embankment /

structures and construction of

new embankment/structures

and forestation works

❖ Repair/maintenance, rehabilitation and development of existing embankments/structures, construction of new embankments &structures, and afforestation programs in the coastal area have been included as priority that will ensure protection and proper use of resources will create employment opportunities for women and increase their social security.
3. Construction and maintenance

of flood control embankment

and erosion protection works to protect economically important places, lives and properties of the people and crops of the agricultural land.

❖   Valuable public and private properties, permanent buildings, industries and factories, business enterprises etc. are being destroyed due to riverbank erosion leading to huge economic


❖   Poor people will engage in the construction of 99 km riverbank protection works and will create employment, protect properties and alleviate poverty. Riverbank protection works will create employment opportunities for women.

4. Conducting surveys to prepare water resource planning ❖ Surveys and mapping of water resource sector through the proper planning, implementation and management will create a qualitative change in overall water resource management.

Women will be benefited from it.

5. Reclaiming the fair share of the

water resources of border and

common rivers.

❖ Establishment of the rights to fair share of water on border and common rivers will promote irrigation, increase agriculture production and collection of fish. This will make positive impact on women’s development.
  • Women’s Share in Ministry’s Total Expenditure
(Taka in Crore)

Budget 2017-18                        Revised 2016-17                      Budget 2016-17

Description Budget Women Share Revised Women Share Budget Women Share
  Women percent Women percent Women percent
Total Budget 400266 112019 27.99 317174 86586 27.3 340605 92781 27.24
Ministry Budget 5926 2729 46.05 4756 2355 49.51 4713 2168 45.99
Development 4675 2444 52.29 3789 2113 55.76 3759 1928 51.28
Non-Development 1252 285 22.77 966 242 25.01 954 240 25.17


  • Success in Promoting Women’s Advancement

❖ Activities of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) has helped prevent floods, protect towns from river erosion, prevent loss of life and property from cyclones, prevent salinity intrusion to coastal land, reclaimed land from sea etc. Women’s participation in the implementation of these project has been ensured.

♦♦♦ Under C.D.S.P.-4 project, cluster villages prepared by partner agencies are being distributed among destitute women. Socio economic conditions of the poorest people in the coastal areas will be improved through the implementation of this project. 30683 hectares of land will be distributed to the landless peasants under this project. The total settlement will be 28000 families (155000 people). Women’s rehabilitation would be possible through this program.

♦♦♦ It has been possible to forecast flash floods in advance by modernization of flood forecasting and warning system. So the lives of the people are protected from floods in the coastal areas. As a result, the mortality rate of women and infant has decreased.

  • To ensure the participation of women in In the matter of water resources

planning, policies and implementation of   management,             149532 water

water resources projects;                         management    teams (WMGs) have

_         .     .                    ….               been formed till March, 2017, out of

  • To undertake necessary initiatives to

which, the participation of women was

incorporate the opinion of women for

  1. 4383 Water Management

the implementation of water resources

.                                                         Associations     (WMA) were formed


where 912       women participated.

  • To take necessary steps by creating
Serial Activities recommended for Previous years Achievements
1 2 3
employment opportunities for women in

water resources activities

3. Water Management Rules entail the provision to from groups for water Management of which 33% will be women. In accordance with policy related to

water resources management, 33%

female members are accommodated in

There need to take proper steps to execute the groups formed for water the rules;                                                                     management.


  • Recommendations for Future Activities
  • Generating employment opportunities for women in several activities such as excavation/re-excavation of rivers/canals, repair/maintenance, rehabilitation and development of existing embankments/structures, construction of new embankments &structures;
  • Special resettlement arrangements should be taken into consideration by preparing a separate list of women and children affected by river erosion and natural disasters;
  • There are a good number initiatives to improve/build new infrastructure of Bangladesh Water Development Board throughout the country. Greater participation of women should be ensured for the construction and maintenance of these infrastructure;
  • Water Management Rules entail the provision to from groups for water Management of which 33% will be women. There need to take proper steps to execute the rules;
  • The Ministry can undertake initiative to retain water in the project areas of the Ministry and promote fish culture through women’s participation;
  • Massive afforestation activities can be taken on the large infrastructures of Bangladesh Water Development Board with participation of local women;
  • Ensure Women participation during planning and policy making of water related projects
  • Arrange seminars, meeting, workshop etc. on water resources management to develop awareness among women to reduce the misuse of water as per the national water act.