III. INTEGRATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DECISION- MAKING FOR FLOOD LOSS REDUCTION
The country experienced a disastrous flood in 1987 followed by another of even greater magnitude in 1988. Soon after the 1988 flood, the Ministry of Water Resources prepared a report entitled National Flood Protection Programme which was followed by several studies with donor support. Two of the widely discussed studies are Rogers et. al. (1989) and French Engineering Consortium and BWDB (1989). The Flood Policy Study by the Government of Bangladesh and the UNDP set eleven guiding principles for future flood management studies. Ultimately, an Action Plan for Flood Control was undertaken (World Bank, 1989). The situation is strikingly similar to that after the 1954 and 1955 floods which was the driving force behind the formulation of the master plan of flood control in 1964. The Action Plan involved 26 studies including 5 regional studies based on regions (except Chittagong) in Figure 6, at an estimated cost of nearly US$ 150 million (at 1989 prices) covering the 5 years period, 1990 to 1995. Subsequently, the Action Plan for Flood Control was renamed the Flood Action Plan (FAP).
The FAP was launched in order to develop a flood plan that would, in the long run, provide a comprehensive and durable solution to the recurrent flood problem so as to create an environment for sustained economic growth and social uplift. The main objectives of the plan were to:
- safeguard life and livelihoods;
- minimize potential flood damage;
- improve agro-ecological conditions for higher crop production;
- meet the needs of fisheries, navigation, communications and public health;
- promote commerce and industry;
- create flood-free land for a better living environment.
An organization called the Flood Plan Coordination Organization (FPCO) was set up in 1990 to coordinate the 26 FAP studies. Most of the studies were completed by 1995. A summary of the studies has been published by FPCO (1995b). It has emphasized controlled flooding for rural areas and round-the-year water management, a relatively high degree of protection for urban areas, the need to integrate river training with water development projects and the approach of integrating structural intervention with non-structural measures. FAP studies have also developed guidelines and manuals for environmental impact assessment, people's participation and project planning. The FPCO ceased functioning with effect from January 1996. All its activities have been taken over by WARPO.