II. FLOOD LOSS REDUCTION AND REVIEW OF PAST EXPERIENCES
F. Projects as case studies
1. Definition of success and failureIn this section, a few examples of successful and unsuccessful projects will be presented. Traditional definition of success of a project based on economic criteria alone has proven to be moot at least in the case of water resources projects. As has been discussed in the preceding section, the flood control projects have many environmental consequences. The common areas of environmental concern for flood control projects in Bangladesh are: hydrological and morphological impacts outside the project, reduction in open water fisheries, obstruction to country boat transportation, depletion of wetlands, changes in channel morphology, reduced drainage and water logging, soil degradation, pollution from pesticide and fertilizer use, increased incidence of water-related diseases etc. Floodplain processes themselves, such as river erosion, frequently threaten flood control projects.
Many of the environmental consequences can only be evaluated qualitatively and therefore cannot be included in a conventional economic analysis. However, there is evidence that environmental degradation has a direct bearing on economic performance. FAP-12 study (HTSL, 1992a) while evaluating 17 representative FCD projects all over Bangladesh (see Table 11 and Figure 4), noted that "no case was found in which the overall conclusions from the economic analysis differed from the more qualitative and broader based judgements in the environmental evaluation".
Note: 0: no; 1: yes - some/partly; 2: yes much/many; na: not applicable
Source: Hunting Technical Services Ltd. 1992b
This is not an unusual finding in the context of Bangladesh which is
basically a floodplain country. Flood control projects in Bangladesh often
encircle ecologically rich wetlands in order to convert them into economically
productive agricultural lands. Therefore when environmental impacts are
internal, such as reduction of open-water fisheries or degradation of soil
quality, they affect the economic performances of the projects themselves.
On the other hand when the environmental impacts are external, such as
higher flood levels or siltation in rivers outside the project area, the
resultant conflict between outsiders and insiders often results in public
cuts. Where the projects have a severe external impact, such public cuts
are widespread because the floodplain is densely populated and most of
the farmers have small land holdings. Therefore the capacity to absorb
any loss on the part of the impacted population because of a project is
limited. Such external impacts also indirectly affect the economic performances