III. INTEGRATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DECISION- MAKING FOR FLOOD LOSS REDUCTION
In 1983, the Government of Bangladesh initiated a National Water Plan (NWP) project with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. The purpose was to prepare a comprehensive master plan for the development of water resources. The NWP project was carried out by setting up a Master Plan Organization (MPO). The project was completed in 1987. A second phase for the project was initiated in 1988 to produce an updated and upgraded NWP and the project was completed in 1991. Afterwards a permanent organization called Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) was established in place of MPO by the Government. Its objectives are to upgrade the NWP with an inter-sectoral focus and an interdisciplinary approach.
The objective of the NWP (Harza, 1987 and 1991a) was to maximize agricultural growth and production and contribute to achieving food-grain self-sufficiency while meeting the basic water needs of other users. The plan period covered 20 years from 1991 to 2010. The plan proposed raising the total flood- protected area from 32 to 73 per cent by providing flood control and drainage facilities over the 20 year period, almost half of the development of flood protection being targeted in the NE region, an area in which only a small area of land was protected. Under the plan, the development of flood protection particularly in the Sylhet depression of the NE region would be primarily by submersible embankments.
The NWP identified substantial potentials of groundwater irrigation by tube-wells and surface water irrigation by low-lift pumps. It proposed full development of the main rivers by barrages (Ganges barrage and Brahmaputra barrage within Bangladesh) to expand irrigation to areas which cannot be served by the available regional surface water (short and midterm) and full groundwater development. The NWP recommended a number of water sector policies.