Community Based Integrated Water Management

Flood Hazard Research Centre

Context

Maximising benefits of polder infrastructure developed by Blue Gold Programme depends on local Water Management Groups (WMGs).

The purpose of this innovation is testing whether a community based integrated approach to water, land and natural resources management could help communities address their priorities and improve retu/rns under BGP.

Description of the Innovation

  1. Participatory action plan development (PAPD) working separately and jointly with all stakeholders in Fedainagar WMG in Polder 43/2 E, Patuakhali District, and “DKB” (Dhani Bunia-Kanaidanga-Britti Kanaidanga) WMG in Polder 29, Khulna District reached consensus on actions to address constraints and water challenges.
  2. Facilitation by the team to help these WMGs take up priority actions (see below).
  3. Adaptive learning by networking the pilot WMGs with adjacent ones forming learning clusters, with regular review of initiatives, experiences and coordination of actions.

Results

WMGs promoted innovations identified in their PAPD with help from experienced farmers.
Vegetable cultivation in polybags was tested by 44 households, improving flood adaptation, nutrition and women’s income. Blast resistant BRRI-Dhan 67 yielded 1.5 times more than usual rice varieties. In DKB sunflower yielded 1.5 t/ha. Napier grass addressed fodder constraints.

Re-excavation of khal by Fedainagar WMG

Fedainagar WMG re-excavated a khal, improving water management, and made fish sanctuaries to restore native fish. WMGs established marketing centres for sale of produce and purchase of quality seeds, and hired out farm machinery. Two forums of adjacent WMGs enhanced learning and joint initiatives.

Fish sanctuary in re-excavated khal, Fedainagar

Lessons Learnt

Starting with PAPD (based on sessions with separate stakeholder groups and plenaries), and helping WMGs implement their plans builds trust and capacity, but depends on a flexible response to WMG demands. It takes time to build trust and obtain government support, so a phased approach is needed. Forums of adjacent WMGs (cluster approach) bridged gaps between WMGs and enabled learning between pilot and other WMGs. It should develop from the bottom-up, and requires some facilitation. Knowledge sharing encourages improved performance and healthy competition among WMGs.

PAPD stakeholder session with women in Fedainagar

Sustainability

Profitable on-farm innovations should sustain. WMG sustainability depends on providing their members with useful services and information to respond to new challenges and opportunities, the pilot appears to have enhanced this.
The cluster forums are an informal answer to a perceived gap between the WMGs and Water Management Associations (WMAs). Adjacent WMGs can cooperate easily and fruitfully because of proximity, familiarity, and shared conditions. Sustainability of the two forums will depend on the success of their initiatives, and BWDB allowing WMGs freedom to associate for their mutual advantage.

Shapla Forum meeting, Patuakhali

Upscaling potential

Upscaling will depend on BWDB and BGP taking a flexible approach to demand-led empowerment of WMGs. PAPD is an effective first step to activate WMGs by finding consensus among local stakeholders on priority actions. Scaling out requires a flexible team of facilitators. Training should be on demand/need to address individual WMG priorities. This would improve WMG (and facilitator) accountability. Upscaling should be phased. If WMGs can access resources to take up some priority actions feasible within one year, this will act as an incentive for them to mobilise resources for actions that require more time.
The cluster approach offers economies of scale, adds value, and can strengthen cooperation between WMGs in water management. Clusters should be encouraged when WMGs and WMA see mutual benefit. Scaling up ultimately will depend on WMAs and external agents (such as NGOs) facilitating and following up links between WMG clusters and service providers – extension agencies, input suppliers and traders.

Flood Hazard Research Centre Bangladesh | Email: parvin@agni.com | Phone: +880 1711 432205
Website: www.fhrc-bd.org | Address: House 97 Road 6A, Old DOHS Banani, Dhaka

Download a PDF version: FHRC – Community Based Integrated Water Management v2