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Water Resources Planning Organization
Secretariat to Executive Committee of National Water Resources Council
Water Sector Project clearance  » Water Sector Project clearance 


As per Bangladesh Water Act all organization/authority/local government institutions undertaking/implementing Water Resources development /management project need to have "Clearance Certificate" from "Clearing House" at WARPO. The platform explains the procedures, guidelines and information/data required to apply for the "Clearance" to the Executive Committee of NWRC As Secretariat to ECNWRC, WARPO will be issuing or delegate others (decentralization) for the issuance Certificate on behalf of WARPO.

Different categories of projects are planned and implemented by large number of agencies under different Ministries. There are also projects being implemented by private agencies. Despite anything contained contrary in any other law for the time being in force, all organizations or appropriate authorities or local government institutions that are involved in undertaking, making or implementing a Water Resource Development Project are required to take 'clearance' shall  from WARPO.  Following categories for project proposals are expected from different sectors:

i)   Flood Protection /(FP);

ii)  Flood Protection & Drainage (FPD);

iii)  Flood Protection, drainage and Irrigation (FPDI);

iv)  Drainage / Khal excavation(D)

v)   Surface water Irrigation (SWI);

vi)   River Bank protection/ Erosion control (EC);

vii)  Groundwater irrigation (GWI);

viii)  Groundwater abstraction for industries/commercial (GWA);

ix)  Surface water abstraction/ diversion (SWA);

x)  Surface water conservation (SWC);

xi)  River dredging (RD)

(1)  It is required that all the above projects need to be consistent to the principles, directives, guidelines derived from the policies, based on which the National Water Resources Plan is prepared and the guidelines of the Plan itself. The project proposals would be required to be submitted in the manner and conditions as may be prescribed by rules within the Bangladesh Water Act. An application within the prescribed manner along with reports, information need to be submitted to the Executive Committee of national Water Resources Council (ECNWRC)..

(2) After receiving an application, the WARPO on behalf of ECNWRC shall after examining relevant project documents. relevant data and information will make sure weather the consistency of the project with the National Water Resources Plan is ensured. There will be prescribed manner for each kind of projects  to judge the consistencies and if these are satisfactorily followed the project the applicant will receive 'WARPO technical clearance certificate' for necessary approval by the Planning commission.

(3) if the application lacks sufficient data and information the applicaten may be asked to submit necessary documents and if these are not made available the proposal or the project proposal found technically not feasible, environmentally not sound and financially not viable the proposal  may be rejected showing the reason thereof.

(4) If any organization or appropriate authority or local government institution, that is involved in undertaking, making or implementing any Water Resource Development Project, violates any condition of the clearance certificate or of any provision of this Act; the Executive Committee may, after having been sure about such violation by making necessary enquiry and by giving the concerned person a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the manner prescribed by rules, withdraw the clearance certificate issued in favor of such project, and may publish and publicize the fact of such withdrawal widely in the print and electronic media.

1.1 Consistency of National Water Resources Plan

The National Water Resources Plan (NWRP) or National Water Management Plan (NWMP) in absence of NWRP is the interpretation of National Water Policy and other relevant policies that effects Water management in the country. The National Water Policy explicitly mentioned that WARPO would implement ‘Clearing house’ role to ensure that the policy directives and directives of NWMP are implemented. The preparatory phase of implementing the role of ‘Clearing house’ at WARPO started in 2004; two inter-ministerial meetings were held on 15th December 2004 and 16th March 2005 to review the scope of “Clearing house”. The role was discussed in several Board of Governance meetings; “Technical Committee” of WARPO reviewed the role; a number of stakeholder consultations were organized at WARPO to have feedback from key agencies implementing water projects. Finally in the 8th Board of Governance meeting it was decided that WARPO would start ‘Clearing’ projects of BWDB first; based on its success later the ‘clearing’ of other project proposals from other different agencies ( e.g. Roads and Highways, LGED, DPHE, BADC etc) would be taken over. 

 Flood Protection/ Flood Protection and Drainage

As indicated in the NWPo, future rural FP/FPD interventions are likely to concentrate on rehabilitation and, where possible, scheme handover, rather than new projects. Any new FCDI project proposal in the rural area is not encouraged therefore a non-NWMP/NWRP project which should follow strict procedure of detail feasibility study including environmental and social assessment before it can be cleared. Any rehabilitation of FP/FPD should also follow environmental audit with environmental management plan.

Flood protection projects are recommended in the cluster “Agriculture and Water Management” for rural area and “Major Cities” for major Cities and some flood protection in limited manner in other urban areas under cluster 'Town and Rural Area). Establishing proper linkage of the the project objectives with those in the appropriate program of the relevant cluster need to be understood and mentioned in the project proposal.

These kind of project proposal need to strictly adhere to the method and approach described in the 'Guidelines for Project Assessment (GPA)' prepared in 1995 for feasibility studies and 'Guidelines for Water Sector Environmental Assessment' prepared in 2001.These guidelines need to be updated/incorporated projects of smaller area as done by LGED aswell.  

Irrigation (SWI/GWI)

NWMP interprets that public irrigation schemes may be taken up where justified, with or without protection and drainage works. Irrigation projects are covered in the cluster “Agriculture and Water Management“ .There were three irrigation (IRR) projects screened by WARPO under “Clearing house” during this period (Appendix-A).

2.3    Drainage (DR)

The issue to reduce flood intensity, crop damage reduction trough reducing drainage congestion without impacting the environment Policy directs to “De-silt watercourses to maintain navigation channels and proper drainage”. Drainage projects are covered in the “Major Rivers” and “Agriculture and Water Management”. There were only two proposals for exclusively for desilting of channels/rivers for the improvement of drainage. However drainage improvement has been proposed as an integral part of four FCDI and FCD project proposals during this period.

2.4    Bank Protection from Erosion (EC)

There are clear directives about protecting important places, properties, and industries from erosion. Erosion control projects are covered in the “Major River” and “Town and Rural Areas” cluster. There were all together twelve project proposal for erosion control, five of them involve town protection, three Bandar protections and two involves protection of FCDI and IRR projects.

2.6   Institution Development

There was one project proposal received on institution regarding building of “Pani Bhavan” for BWDB. Institutional development concerning BWDB is covered in the cluster “Institutional Development”

3.0 Conformity

National Water Policy and National Water Management Plan

In this item project specific objectives examined if they conform to the policy directives and objectives if the relevant programme of the NWMP. In majority of the cases the linkage with the policy and the plane were loosely documented in the DPP, which signifies that sufficient awareness about the policy and plan is lacking. It is required that clear linkage is established between objectives and the directives and programes of the policy and Plan.

Majority of the projects proposed by BWDB is in conformity with National Water Policy and National Water Management Plan. There were few proposals for new flood control projects. New FCD projects are not recommended by the policy and plan therefore does not conform to policy and plan.

Poverty Reduction Strategy:

All DPP includes conformity matrix with the goal and objectives of the pro-poor related actions programs/projects of water resources management included in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). However linkage is very weak. Clearing house requires that following issues are closely examined as relevant in each category of the project:

·    Will the investment aid land-lessness and pauperization?

·    Affected /displaced people are planned for proper rehabilitation?

·    Any income to be generated for poor rural men & women (tk/person)?

·    How much the project will generate employment in the project?

·    Is there any provision for compensation of the project-affected people?

Therefore project formulation should take care to address the issue related to poverty in light of the above.

Participatory Water Management:

There is a clear directive of the NWPo to follow guidelines for participatory Water Management (GPWM) in all project preparation. However majority of project has been prepared without rigorous participatoru approach of consultation with the stakeholders. In all FCDI projects (excepting 2) there has been some kind of consultation during the feasibility study. In case of bank protection scheme there is hardly any stakeholder participation following GPWM in appraisal. Very often in these cases consultations with the members of the union parished, upazila parishad or letters from the representatives are attached with the DPP to show peoples perception about the proposed project. This does not fully satisfy the need for people’s participation as directed by the Policy.

It is recommended that assurance of cost recovery from the stakeholders during and after the implementation of the project especially the O&M cost is required as per policy directives. §4.14a, of NWPo states “For the foreseeable future, however, cost recovery for flood control and drainage (FCD) is not envisaged in this policy,” and that “In case of … FCDI projects water rates will be charged for O&M as per Government rules.” Again …; §4.14f of NWMP states effective beneficiary participation and commitment to pay for O&M will be realized;

Almost every FCDI, I project lacks in attaining commitment from the stakeholders about recovery of O&M cost of the project as directed by the Policy

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

“Clearing house” screening  intends to examine the implementation of IWRM in the project following the issues in relevant category of projects:

Irrigation Project:

·  Potential use of groundwater should be limited to safe yield of groundwater aquifer;

· Surface water development should be in conjunction with the use of groundwater for overall efficiency;

· Surface water development should not disturb the water bodies linked with bio-diversity;

· Surface water use for agriculture should be planed integrating uses of others e.g navigation, flushing for water quality, fishery, salinity control, sedimentation;

· Rules for water allocation for in-stream needs (ecological, water quality, salinity control, fisheries and navigation) during low-flow periods

· Minimum flow in the stream/khal must be maintained to provide adequate habitat for dominant species;

· Upstream use of irrigation water should be taken into consideration of downstream water uses;

Flood control Project:

  • Flood control project should have minimum interference on fisheries;
  • Participation of the beneficiaries should be integrated with  the O&M of the project;
  • The impact of the flood control project should have minimum impact in terms of  change in flood regime, e.g. increase depth, duration of inundation in the adjacent   area;
  •  Integrating land acquisition  with the overall benefits of the project;

Duplication or Conflict:

The project is examined whether the project is overlapping with any other project of other organizations or individual/ group initiatives or a duplication of the previous project. For this type of check it is required a good map showing all the existing and proposed project by different organization, which is always missing in the proposal. A reliable database has been developed under District Water Resources Assessment (DWRA) being implemented by LGED which provides list and map of the projects completed, ongoing and proposed project by different agencies.  However it is desired these information are incorporated in the pre-investment or feasibility report for such examination. Over lapping of management area has been identified in on irrigation project in the SE and town protection project in the NW region.

Apart from that possibility of conflict among the stakeholders in the project area should be investigated during feasibility study through public consultation. Possible conflicts about embankment cut, cross passage of fish across embankment, conflict of upstream and downstream use of same water sources; public acceptance about land acquired/proposed for acquisition etc will be investigated examining the feasibility study. Unfortunately many project proposal do not contain feasibility study even if it was done. It is advised that full feasibility report should be sent to WARPO along with DPP for through examination.

Environmental Assessment:

It is mandatory to undertake environmental assessment for any intervention. Any FCDI projects require full EIA is carried out in the feasibility stage. Rehabilitation of any FCD require environmental audit for its rehabilitation. Irrigation project requires at least initial environmental examination to be carried out during pre-investment study. Unfortunately  new FCDI,   rehabilitation  of FCD have been found not to comply with the requirement.

In case of bank protection projects there was no environmental examination or assessment in majority of the. In some particular category of bank protection project public consultation was carried out to address the envisaged environmental conflicts in the proposed project. The question often examined are as follows:

·     Will the project have any significant obstruction to navigation?

·    Does the project avoid developing drainage system on state-owned     swamps/marshes

·     Does the project groundwater/minor irrigation conflict with drinking water supplies?

·  Is there any financial incentives proposed for water re-use and conservation, responsible use of groundwater and surface water use?

·    Does the Project have Clearance form Department of Environment (DoE)?

Social Impact Assessment

It is mandatory to undertake social assessment for any intervention. It is expected that social assessment will be incorporated in the feasibility study. In absence of detail social assessment public consultation may be carried out to address the envisaged social issues, women and children are given priority in the consultation. Assurance is required that women participation (gender issue) been given due consideration during planning stage.  Few excepting some FCDI projects Social Impact Assessment have been carried out.

 Guidelines for Project Assessment

There exist a Guideline for project Assessment for flood control, drainage and irrigation project developed during FAP project. It is expected that the guideline is followed in the assessment in the feasibility report. It is required that alternative options are adequately examined and appropriate procedures are followed in the project assessment. All most all projects cost benefit are analyzed as per guidelines. However assumptions in costing (O&M) and benefits are not always considered properly. There is a need for development of guidelines for Bank protection projects, Irrigation projects, Drainage projects updating the existing GPA.

3.9   Appropriate tool and procedure:

It is required that adequate tool and procedure is followed in the feasibility study of each project. The methodology adopted and the models and other applications need to be of acceptable according to recent standards. It was found that bank protection schemes are very often uses option analysis using modeling techniques. There is a Manual for Erosion Control Assessment by WARPO, developed during FAP 21-22. “Clearing house” requires that the methodologies described in the manual should be folled inany bank protection schemes which id never followed. It is required that an existing procedures is to be upgraded using WARPO manual. 


i)  New guidelines and manuals are required to be prepared and old one updated to aid project preparationin the water sector.New guidelines will have legal weight whereas manuals will be advisory only.

ii)  BWDB is required to follow the existing guideline GPWM for participatory planning of projects;

iii) BWDB is required to follow existing manual“Guidelines and design manuals for standardize bank protection structure of WARPO (FAP 21)”for bank protection in the assessment of bank protection projects.

iv)   DPP should incorporate linkages of the project objectives with those of the National Water Policy and National Water Management Plan;

v)   DPP should include provision for WARPO clearance;

vi) BWDB should carry out pre-feasibility/ Feasibility study before preparing DPP for any project.

vii)  Feasibility report of any project should be sent along with DPP  for more technical examination;

Quick links
Procedure for issuance of project clearance
Procedure for application
Supplementary /supporting report/study data and information to be supplied
Water Resources Planning Organization
72 Green Road, Dhaka-1215,Bangladesh
Telephone: +88 02 44819006, +88 02 44819015
Email:  dg@warpo.gov.bd
Fax: +88 02 44819002
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