G3: Water Governance and Community Based Management Ganges Basin Development Challenge
Polder 43-2F, Amtoli Upazila, Barguna
Camelia Dewan and Mahanambrota Das
Merged by Marie-Charlotte Buisson
1. INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................... 4
1.1. Aim of the report ............................................................................................................. 4 1.2. Methodology ........................................................................................................................ 4 1.3. Overview of Polder 43/2F area ............................................................................................. 7 1.3.1. Location and accessibility ......................................................................................................... 7 1.3.2. Demographic features .............................................................................................................. 8 1.3.3. Basic Facilities Access................................................................................................................ 9 1.3.3. History of the 43/2F polder and Physical Interventions ......................................................... 10
2. FARMING SYSTEMS .................................................................................................. 14 3. DRINKING WATER SITUATION ............................................................................. 16 4. EMBANKMENT, EMERGENCY AND MAINTENANCE .................................... 17
4.1. 4.2. 4.3. Condition of the Embankment .......................................................................................17 Emergency response .......................................................................................................18 Maintenance of the embankment and roads ...................................................................19
REGULATORS: OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE ......................................... 20
5.1. Condition of the Sluice gates ..........................................................................................20 5.2. Operation via gate committees at village level ................................................................22 5.2.1. Payment to operator insufficient...................................................................................... 24 5.2.2. Maintenance of the gates ................................................................................................. 24 5.3. Operation via local villagers (informal).............................................................................24 5.3.1. Maintenance of the gates ................................................................................................. 25 5.4. Conflict between high and low-elevations: irrigation versus water logging........................25
CANALS AND RE-EXCAVATION .......................................................................... 27
6.1. 6.2. 6.3. 6.4. Condition of canals: Siltation ...........................................................................................27 Re-excavation during IPSWAM ........................................................................................28 Re-excavation after IPSWAM ...........................................................................................28 Canals: Leasing ................................................................................................................29 Input to BWDB ................................................................................................................30 Cooperative Status and Income Generating Activity .........................................................30 Inactive WMA and WMGs ...............................................................................................31 Working sub-committee: Gate Committees......................................................................31 Membership composition and Representation .................................................................32 Gender and Participation in Water management .............................................................33
IPSWAM: PROCESS AND RESULTS ...................................................................... 30
7.1. 7.2. 7.3. 7.4.
PARTICIPATION AND INFLUENCE ................................................................... 32
CONCLUSION ......................................................................................................... 34
ANNEX 1: INSTITUTIONS IN WATER GOVERNANCE ............................................................. 35
1.1. Aim of the report
This report aspires to generate a detailed situation analysis report of 43/2F polder in Amtoli sub-district of Barguna district based on Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and Key Informant Interviews (KII). It will do so by providing: i) A historical narrative of the polder from the time it was constructed to present; ii) Farming systems and livelihoods options; iii) Current state of the polder infrastructure; iv) Examining the results and process of the water management interventions of the BWDB v) Reviewing how maintenance of water management infrastructure takes place; vi) Reviewing how operation of sluice gates take place; and vii) Discussing main conflicts. It will then conclude by discussing the main findings and implementable policy recommendations that came from the respondents for improving water management in the polder 43/2F.
Six Focus Group Discussions and eight Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were conducted by the Shushilan research team from 10th April to 12th April, 2012. The FGDs were held in six villages of Gulishakhali Union. The venue of the FGDs were selected based on IWM map, transect walk and consultation with the local people by considering various part of the union, distance from main rivers and sluice gates, the situation of the rivers, canals, gates and concentration of various types of farming in particular paddy cultivation with or without aquaculture. The KIIs were selected through snowball and opportunity process. The KIIs with farmers, women headed households, woman LCS representative were held at their village home and the KIIs with UP and BWDB officials were held at the respective offices in the UP and Sub-district headquarters. The map below describes where the FGDs have been conducted.
FGD Type: General Venue: West Kalagachia, Gulishakhali Rivers & Canals: Payra & gulishakhali river. 16 Howlader’s canal, Kalagachia canal, Horidrabari canal. 16 howlader and horidrabari canals are open. Sluice gates: 47-53 no. 3 more gates east of gate no 47. FGD Type: General Venue: Near Gulishakhili health complex, Gulishakhali Rivers & Canals: Payra & gulishakhali river. Dalachara canal, Gulishakhali, Ronachanda khal. Sluice gates: 41-44 no. FGD Type: General Venue: Dalachara village high school, Gulishakhali Rivers & Canals: Payra river. Dalachara,gulishakhali angulkata canal. Sluice gates: 39-41 no.
FGD Type: General Venue: Kalibari, Gulishakhali Rivers & Canals: Borachi Sluice gates: no 1. FGD Type: FGD_ WMA Venue: Gulishakhai Union Porishad, Gulishakhali Rivers & Canals: Payra, kukua, Gulisakhali river. Rastar, Baor, Nalbunia, Pedarhota, Deppur, Bainbunia, Pata kanta, Ronachanda canals silted up. Majher Hota newly excavated. Kalibari, North kalibari, Kantakhali, Mondolbari, Angulkanta canals excavated by IPSWAM. Sluice gates: All 58. FGD Type: LCS_Mixed Venue: Gulishakhai Union Porishad, Gulishakhali Rivers & Canals: kukua, Gulisakhali river Sluice gates: 22, 23,24 no.
Figure 1 -
Location of the FGD
A glance look of the FGD venues and participants reveals the following: One of the four general FGD groups met at West Kalagachia (North-west part of the union), on the bank of Gulishakhali river. The canals like Kalagachia, Horidrabari were open, but silted up. One brand sluice gates and pipe inlets, but the condition of the gate were good and the public were facing problem from single shuttered gate. In the FGD group, seven male participants including farmers, businessmen and salaried profession were present. Five of them were farmers owning 1 to 3.5 acres land. All of the respondents were Muslim, age varied from 43 to 60 years. One of the respondents was vice president of WMA. The second general FGD group was held at near Gulishakhali health complex of the Union, situated by the west side of the River Payra and Gulishakhali. The main canals include Dalachara, Gulishakhali and Ronachanda. Canals condition was not good and the Dalachara gate (gate no 43) was inactive and shutter was broken. Six out of eleven participants were farmers, four were businessmen, and one was salaried in service and the last one was driver. The respondents’ age differed from 25 to 50 and they owned 0.5 to 5.0 acres land. The third general FGD group was held at Dalachara high school of Angulkata village of Gulishakhali Union, the South part of the polder, situated by the west side of the River Payra. The 5
connecting canals include Gulishakhali and Angulkata. Canals condition was not good and the Angulkata gate (gate no 39) was inactive and shutter was broken. All fourteen participants were from this part of the village. Nine of the fourteen participants were farmers, two were businessmen, one combined business with aquaculture, one was salaried in service and the last one was driver. The respondents are a bit older, age varying from 26 to 44 and they owned 0.72 to 4.0 acres land. The fourth FGD was conducted at Kalibari village at the East side of the polder with the general group of twelve male participants. The main canal was Borachi and one sluice gate was inactive. All of the participants were farmers with owned land varied from .33 to 4.00 acre. The respondents’ age was between 29 to 60 years old. The fifth FGD group met were seven WMA EC members, all had own land varying from 1.0 to 4.0 acres. Three out of seven participants were farmers, two were businessmen and two were housewife. Age of the respondents varied from 32 to 58 years. The last FGD was conducted with a group of five female LCS group members. One of participants owned no land and others owned 0.05 to 1.00 acre land. Majority of them shared land from large farmers. All of the participants were daily laborers and age varied from 30 to 50 years.
The study also conducted eight KIIs including paddy farmers, women headed households, LCS woman, WMA chairperson, UP representative and BWDB officials. All KIIs were held from 10th to 12th April, 2012. The list of FGD and KII is provided in Table 1 and 2. FGD Type General General General General WMCA Numbers of Participants (Female) 7 male no female 6 male no female 14 male no female 12 male no female 5 males 2 female 5 female Village (para) Union Parishad Relevant Sluice Gate Numbers 47-53 no. 41-44 no 39-41 no 01 All 58 Adjoining Canals
West Kalagachia Gulishakhali Dalachara Angulkata Kalibari Gulishakhali Gulishakhali Gulishakhali
Howlader, Kalagachia, Horidrabari. Dalachara canal, Gulishakhali, Ronachanda khal. Dalachara,gulishakhali angulkata Borachi and Kalibari Rastar, Baor, Nalbunia, Pedarhota, Deppur, Bainbunia, Pata kanta, Ronachanda canals silted up. Majher Hota newly excavated. Kalibari, North kalibari, Kantakhali, Mondolbari, Angulkanta kukua
Gulishakhali, UP Gulishakhali complex Gulishakhali, UP Gulishakhali complex
Table 1 -
22, 23, 24
List of FGDs conducted in polder43/2F
Respondent Type WMA Chairperson UP Member (Male) Paddy Farmer (Mixed) Paddy Farmer Women UP Member Women Headed Household LCS Women Member Section Officer-BWDB
Table 2 -
Village/ Venue Gulishakhai Union Porishad Kalagachia Dalachara (In his house) Gulishakhai Union Porishad Mor Gulishakhali Union Porishad Near Gulishakhali Health Complex Near Gulishakhali Health Complex Barguna sadar office, BWDB
Date 12th April, 2012 12th April, 2012 10th April, 2012 10th April, 2012 10th April, 2012 10th April, 2012 11th April, 2012 12th April, 2012
List of KII conducted in Jsabishabeel Sub Project Polder
1.3. Overview of Polder 43/2F area
1.3.1. Location and accessibility Location Polder 43/2F is located in Amtali Upazila of Barguna District, about 50 kms south of Patuakhali town and 10 kms south of Amtali Upazila town. It comprises only one Union Parishad, Gulishakhali and the embankment encircles an area of about 35 sk kms out of 56 sq km geographical area of the UP. Remaining area is outside of the embankment or river area. The polder is encircled by about 32.5 kms embankment along the rivers Payra in the West and Gulishakali in the North-west and Chawra khal in the South-east. Within this boundary, there are six mouzas such as Gulishakhali, Kalagachia, Fakirkhali, Kalibari, Gozkhali and Khekuani. The surrounding villages of the polder 43/2F are: Fakirkhali, Gojkhali, Dalachara, Bazarkhali, Bainbunia, Deppur, Gulisakhali, Haridrabaria, Kalagachhia, Kalibari, Khekuani and Angulkata. Geographical characteristics The construction of this polder started in 1989 and completed in 1995 (History of Amtali Upazila, Ahamed, 2008). About 5000 hectares of agriculture land are benefited by this polder. The polder covers the total area 56.22 sq km. The Payra River is navigable round the year but the Gulishakhali River and the Chawra canal are being silted. The land profile of the polder is saucer shaped. The land along the riverbanks is slightly higher elevated than the land in the center of the polder and along the inner canals. The land is relatively low-lying in the middle adjoining area of canals and the southwest bordering area of the River Payra. The land in the beel area is regularly inundated by tide if not regulated by sluice gates. The middle part of the beel area is often waterlogged due to siltation and closing of canals. While there were 26 structures (20 sluice gates and 6 culverts) constructed during 1989 to 1995, presently it has 58 structures including sluice gates, culverts and pipe inlets. Accessibility The polder 43/2F connected to Patuakhali district and Amtali Upazila by an Upazila road in the East side. Amtali Upazila is located in the nearest of the polder and distance from Upazila town about 10 km. The Eastern road is comparatively busy and connected to Barguna district, Kuakhata sea beach, Patuakhali district and Dhaka city. Several and frequent mode of transport like bus, motorbikes, trucks, rickshaw, rickshaw van are available. Country boat and launch are also seen as a local and inter-district waterway transport. Launch is also available via Amtali to Dhaka and time is required 8 to 10 hours. Beside motorbike service in the local roads, another type of transport now expanding is diesel operated three wheeler vans. Another mode of transport recently introduced but not huge is battery operated three wheeler auto7
rickshaw, called easy bike. In the Payra river, the main transport is mechanized boat that has almost entirely replaced both country boat and motor launch. 1.3.2. Demographic features Table 3 below provides demographic data of Gulishakhali Union of polder 43/2F as compared to Upazila Amtali. The Union Gulishakhali is there considered to represent the polder for demographic and other information and the study was concentrated in this Union. Total population of the polder 43/2F (Gulishakhali UP) is 28,458 while comprising households 6,45, with an average household size of 4.4 members. Both population density and household size are comparatively little bit high. Compare to male population female are more about 1210 (about 4%). Majority of the people (about 95%) are religious Muslim. Literacy rate of this polder is only 53.4% and relatively lower than the national literacy rate. Particulars Area (Sq km) Household Population Total Density Household Size Male Female Sex Ratio Religion Muslim % Hindu % Budhist/Rakhain Others % Literacy All Literacy M Literacy F
Table 3 -
Amtali Upazila 721.06 63,212 270,802 376 4.3 132,168 138,634 95 93.70 5.92 0.38 52.8 54.9 50.8
Area and population
Polder 43/2F (Gulishakhali UP) 56.22 6,457 28,458 506 4.4 13,624 14,834 92 94.92 5.08 53.4 56.8 50.3
Population age 7+ not in school Male Female % employed Male % employed Female % Looking for Job Male % Looking for Job Female % in household work Male % in household work Female % not working Male % not working Female
Table 4 -
Amtali Upazila 49,200 21,742 27,458 76.2 4.3 2.1 0.5 4.4 75.1 17.2 19.3
Polder 43/2F (Gulishakhali UP) 5,783 2,446 3,337 80.7 4.7 1.7 0.7 0.9 73.9 16.6 20.7
Employment Status of Polder Area People (age 7+ not in school)
Table 4 above shows employment status of male and female population of age 7 and above not attending school. In Union Gulshikhali, 80.7% of the males (of age 7+ not attending school) are “employed” in various income earning activities and 16.6% are represented not working. Of the female of 7+ age group (not attending school), 4.7% are reported to be working in various economic activities, 73.9% reported to be engaged in household chores only and about 20.7% non-working. The data should however be read with caution that age 7+ not in school, is not a good definition of labor force. Table 5 below shows distribution of male and female working population by broad economic sectors. In Gulishakhali UP, about half (49.2%) of the male workers are engaged in the agriculture sector, only 0.7% in industries and only one tenth (10.7%) in the service sectors. Besides, of the female workers, about 44.2% are engaged in the agriculture sector, about 17.3% in service sector and only 4.5% in industry sector. Many of women workers employed in the agriculture sector reflects that women are engaged with agriculture farming like paddy, fish, prawn fry collection etc. Furthermore, dry fish factories, brick kilning also employing many of the women. Amtali Upazila Agriculture % of male worker Agriculture % of female worker Industry % of male worker Industry % of female worker Services % of male worker Services % of female worker
Table 5 -
Polder 43/2F (Gulishakhali UP) 69.2 44.2 0.7 4.5 10.7 17.3
85.5 56.5 3.2 7.5 11.8 35.9
Source: BBS, Population Census 2011, Community Series for Barguna District
Employment of Working Population by Broad Sectors
1.3.3. Basic Facilities Access Table 6 below shows that nearly 100% people of Gulishakhali UP have access to safe drinking water and the main source is deep tube well. Moreover, near about one fifth (17.5%) of the households of Gulishakhali UP have access to water source such as tube-well or tape and the remaining of them collect drinking water 9
from nearby deep tube-wells. In this polder shallow tube-well is not successful. NGO BRAC, World Vision, Dhaka Ahasania Mission also provided safe drinking water after cyclone Sidr and Aila. But the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) and UP did not provide DTWs for drinking water. Fresh drinking water is found at depth 700 to 1000 feet or even deeper. Amtali Upazila 22.3 46.6 28.7 4.4 18.3 98.1 Polder 43/2F (Gulishakhali UP) 22.3 48.5 25.1 4.1 17.5 97.1
Sanitary Toilet water sealed % Sanitary not water sealed % Non sanitary% No latrine % water source:L TW/Tape % Electricity Connected %
Table 6 -
Source: BBS, Population Census 2011, Community Series for Barguna District
Availability of or Access to Basic Facilities
In Gulishakhali UP about 22.3% of the households have water sealed latrines and near about half (48.5%) have ring-slab latrine (sanitary but not water sealed). About one fourth (25.1%) use non sanitary latrine and four percent do not have latrine. Interesting is that 97% of the households of this polder have access to electricity. Majority of the households got electricity connections from Rural Electrification Board (REB) locally named Polli Biddut and many of them had got service from solar panel (provided by Grameen Shakti, Rahim Afrooz). 1.3.3. History of the 43/2F polder and Physical Interventions History of polder development Polder development has been a long process. In Pakistan period there was a narrow dyke and it could not resist high and ebb tide and resulted flooded and affected of agriculture land. At the point of view of FGD group at Kalagachia village, Pakistan government built a small ring embankment at 50 feet distance of the river in 1965. It was too narrow and low height to resist the tide, consequently, local people failed to produce crops. But, some farmers used to cultivate one crop (local Aman paddy) yearly and production was low due to salinity. All canals were opened and flooded by tide each day. At that time, fishing as a major livelihood was very popular. But, in polder 43/2F, the embankment was built by Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB and locally known as WAPDA) between 1989-1995 (Amtali, Ahamed Mainuddin, 2008). Based on observations from several focus group participants, it seems that BWDB constructed the polder in various locations during 1980’ and completed it 1990’s. Majority of the construction work was conducted in 1990’s. Interestingly, the reason for constructing the polder differs according to the point of view. Somebody underlined that the role of the embankment was to protect them from tidal surge and water flow but others said that the embankment is seen as a mean to protect agriculture land from salinity. Actually, both of the reasons are probably true. 10
There is a consensus on the cropping system before the construction of the embankment. Each household relied on agriculture and it was a single cropping system dominated by paddy cultivation. Local Aman paddy was especially common. It was suitable for all the lands of the area and due to silt deposits fertilizers were not necessary. But in low land area (beel area), no crops was grown there and fishing was common and popular. After the construction of the embankment in 1995, the cropping system steadily moved from mono crop to two crops and in some areas three crops. Aus (Apr-Jul) and local variety Aman paddy, robi crops (Dec-Apr) increased. Chili, pulses, oil seeds, vegetables, water melon cultivation also increased as crops can be protected from tide water and minor irrigation possible. Buffaloes decreased and cattle rearing increased, aquaculture (carp, golda, Tilapia) started both on homestead pond and in canals. But the participants of Kalagachia, Kalibari, Angulkata and Dalachara village said that some Aman paddy field were also affected due to poor drainage system, deposition of silt and blocked canals. Apart from agriculture, new economic activities have appeared after the embankment construction: hat/bazaars, shops, brick kilning, poultry, round the year commercial agriculture (betel leaf), contractual day labor, vans, trucks and motorbikes. Previously, only Aman paddy was cultivated or fish being caught in the rivers and canals for self-consumption and livelihood. Commercial aquaculture (white fish) also seen in the pond. Some people also cultured fish in the canals by grabbing and blocking in the beel area. Women and marginal people collect prawn fry from river side for their daily livelihood, these prawn fry goes to gher of Bagherhat, Khulna and Satkhira districts. Majority of the focus groups emphasized the reduction and extinction of fishes such as Tengra, Bual, Ruhi Katla, Vetki etc. Stock of Hilsha still exists in Payra River but sharply reduced due to over fishing and mismanagement. Once buffalo was huge, now it has tremendously reduced due to salinity intrusion, shortage of fresh water and cattle feed. But after Sidr and Aila cattle and poultry increased because many NGOs donated cow, goats and poultry to women and vulnerable groups to increase their earning. Participants also said that this polder was severely affected during the cyclone Sidr in 2007 and the cyclone Aila in 2009. Ten people died in this polder during devastating cyclone Sidr in 2007 and it was happened due to poor management of embankment and unawareness of people. The embankment was severely damaged by the side of the River Payra and Gulshikhali in 2007 and 2009 and resulted roads, houses, sanitation, crops all were damaged. And next two years after Sidr, crops were affected due to salinity. At that time, the World Food Programme (WFP) supported in this polder to re-construct it through food for work. Polder 43/2F was one out of nine polders selected for the Integrated Planning for Sustainable Water Management (IPSWAM) project implemented by BWDB and IPSWAM project staff between 2004 and 2011. This project followed the Guidelines for Participatory Water Management (Ministry of Water Resources, 2001) that stipulated local stakeholder participation in any water management project. During this project IPSWAM helped create village level Water Management Groups (WMGs) and 1 polder level organization, the Water Management Association (WMA). WMGs are locally known as water committee and the WMA is called central or polder committee. These water management organizations (WMOs) were meant to represent the interests to local stakeholders, provide feedback on engineering design as well as labor for earthworks through Labor Contracting Societies and take over the responsibility of operation of sluice gates and minor maintenance after the project has completed. This report will therefore also play close attention to results of IPSWAM and the community based organizations it had created. The project 11
repaired embankment, re-excavated canals, constructed and repaired of sluice gates, culverts and pipe inlets. While the project also formed Water Management Groups (WMGs) and Water Management Association (WMA), the functions of these groups and associations were inactive and absent at field level. One of the officer of the IPSWAM project said that IPSWAM started its work lately in this polder so the IPSWAM could not hand over the project to WMA. Physical Components of 4/2F polder As per comments of Section Officer of BWDB, the length of the polder is 32.5 km and BWDB constructed it. There are 11 sluice gates, among these, four sluice gates constructed by BWDB and the rest of the gates were constructed by IPSWAM project. All of the sluice gates are in running condition. In this polder, 22 inlets are active out of 55 inlets. The inlets which were built without connection of canals, these are inactive. Of 125 km canals, 53 km is under control of BWDB. There are about 125 km canals. At the beginning, the target of BWDB was to cover land only 1500 hectors for drainage system, latter it was increased about 5000 hectors. Physical Environment Around 1982/90 when there was small and low height dyke, the whole area was flooded with tidal water (Gen FGD). Tide water entered the polder area from the rivers and the whole area was flooded twice a day. Entry of salt water was responsible for increased soil salinity and this continued until 1995 when BWDB constructed embankment. Although the construction of polder aimed mainly to protect crops, presently, people are building houses in the beel area (low land area) due to increasing population and establishment of the shop, hat and bazaars increased demand for housing and staying in the area. Use of khas land (also khas canals) for agriculture (also aquaculture, business etc.) has increased due to population growth. Presently increased price of land due to increased productivity of land contributed to increased greed, grabbing khas land, khas canals.
2. FARMING SYSTEMS
Polder 43-2F is quite a small polder, 41 km2 and consists of only one union, Gulshakhali. As such, the cropping patterns do not vary significantly within the polder. In contrast to the high salinity zones of Khulna District, 43-2F enjoys the ability to cultivate Boro (summer dhan) and Aman (monsoon, Kharif II) paddy as well as growing several types of Rabi (winter crops). There is limited brackish shrimp (bagda) cultivated here. Rather the people from this area cultivate freshwater fishes in ponds through rainwater or catch them from the canals. Water from ponds is also used by poor people for vegetable cultivation in homestead gardens.
Kharif I (monsoon) Paddy Fish Aman Silver Cup, Minar Cup, Chinese puti, Ruhi, Katla, Pangwash, Telapia Mugh dal, Kesari dal, Mashar dal chillies, pulses, peanut, sweet potato, pumpkin, bitter gourd, string bean, bottle gourd Kharif II (Rabi/winter crops) Summer (Summer/dry) HYV Boro
Table 7 -
Cropping patterns P43-2F
The main source of irrigation is rainwater that is directed into the fields through the canals. This in turns is regulated through the sluice gates. Though there are few conflicts of water distribution between crops, there are more so between various levels of elevation. This polder is characterised by differences between high and low elevated lands, where the high elevated lands in particular suffer from lack of irrigation during the dry season. Rainwater is traditionally stored in the canals to last throughout Kharif II; it is this canal water that is intended to be used for cultivation. However, siltation of rivers and superficial excavation is affecting water retention capacity and dry season irrigation is seen as a challenge. There is therefore great interest for deep tubewells for dry season irrigation “In Chaitra and Boishak months the river is dried up ”. Since this is not a Flood Control Drainage and Irrigation area (FCDI), there are no government schemes for irrigation. Some farmers are using pumps to draw water from the canals during dry seasons; others are installing pipes to lead water to the fields or pumping out water from shallow tubewells through their own expenses.
Canal and Sluice gate filled with rainwater Kharif I (rainy)
Using pump to draw water from canal Rabi
Pond (freshwater fish)
Pipes from river/pond
Pump and Shallow tube well
LCS (small farmers) General
All year round Kharif I (rainy) Dry season
LCS WHH stated that freshwater for vegetables but that the water in the khals are saline. Ponds dry during Chaitra. 200-300 feet of pipes from pond. The owner of the high lands cannot reserve water because the canals are filled up. Problems during dry season. Lack of irrigation. Installation of deep tube well is very costly; it needs 70/80 thousand taka for each boring. We cannot afford it. Using personal pumps during dry season.
Kharif I (rainy)
47-53 no. 3 more gates east of gate no 47. 39-41 1-10, 16,18,19,20,21 22
Kharif I (rainy)
Kharif I (rainy)
Dalachara Kalibari Goshkhali
General General Paddy farmer P166
Kharif I (rainy) Kharif I (rainy) Kharif I (rainy)
All year round Kharif I (rainy) Kharif I (rainy) Rabi
“I have a pond, 60 feet wide 70 feet long. I cultivate pangas, ruhi, mrigal, carp etc.” We preserve rain water in the khal and drain out stagnant water through the sluice gate.
Table 8 -
Irrigation sources 43-2F
3. DRINKING WATER SITUATION
The coverage of deep tubewells was perceived as insufficient. The villages close to the Paira River in particular complained about scarcity of drinking water where salinity and arsenic contamination would occur. In Kalagachia and Dhalachara salinity has been found in the tubewells. In Gulshakhali, more affluent villagers spend BDT 10,000-12,000 on private deep tubewells and are not suffering from any water scarcity. The LCS group in Gulshakhali did not mention drinking water. The tubewells placed at 1200-1300 feet are working well, while the shallow tubewells have become damaged.
However, it should be noted that this perceived insufficiency is rooted in the expectation that every household should have their own deep tubewell. KII with a paddy farmer in Dhalachar, revealed that his household can easily use the neighbour’s deep tubewell. Similarly, the widow from Gulshakhali could also use the neighbour’s tubewell, but it had become dysfunctional. The paddy farmer in Uttar Goshkhali also complained over the limited access to other people’s tubwells and the cost of contributing to tubewell repairs. The widow would instead buy water from Grameen Bank and collect it only 500 meters away. According to Rabindranath Biswas, (SL #41-44), drinking water is not a major problem, yet the local population are requesting more deep tubewells for their convenience. Currently, the major practice is that several households share a deep tubewell (20 households per tubewell). There are difficulties with distance, especially during the rainy season when the roads literally would wash away were seen as a hindrance. Arguably, there could be a gap of understanding in terms of how many deep tubewells can be available via Government and the expectations of the villagers. When individuals have complained and asked for more tubewells from the Union Parishad, they have felt ignored and neglected when the UPC has turned them away. In Kalibari, drinking water was not identified as a major problem. At the same time, NGOs and UP were active in providing deep tubewells.
Figure 2 -
Drinking water access
4. EMBANKMENT, EMERGENCY AND MAINTENANCE
4.1. Condition of the Embankment
Polder 43-2F is situated next to the Paira River. The western part of the polder was heavily damaged during Sidr in 2007 and the embankment is seen as too weak. Land inside the polder is increasingly lower than the level of water outside the polder and it has been consistently suggested that the embankment must be raised with at least 5-6 feet since saline water keeps toppling over the embankment and inundating fields. River erosion is therefore a frequent problem and around the area of SL#46 the embankment breaks every year. In addition the UP member in Kalagachia mentioned that the inlet pipes (#11, 13-15) further weaken the embankment and has already closed pipe #17. The main suggestions from the FGDs were to redesign the embankment by making it wider and higher.
Figure 3 -
Polder 43-2F was affected both by Aila (2009) and Sidr (2007). Throughout the coastal zone there seems to a similar response to major disasters where the local people first try to repair the embankment together through mud using voluntary labour and all working together. There is usually a coordinating figure organizing person. Most commonly it is the Union Parishad, and could also be local influential people, mosques or NGOs. In this polder, all the villagers first went into the cyclone shelter until the immediate danger was over. Two days after Sidr the local people (including LCS earth workers) and WMGs repaired the embankment through voluntary labour. The Union Parishad and NGOs provided emergency relief. Roads were blocked by broken and uprooted trees after Sidr. Then local people removed those with the help of BWDB who played an active role in repairing the polder after Sidr. In Kalagachia, it was noted that the BWDB ignores their pleas for regular maintenance works of the embankment (breaking and river erosion) but are very active when the community face major disasters. ” They encourage our participation. They want that we will be able to solve our problems by ourselves” Delowar, Kalagachia. In Kalabaria both the UP and BWDB have been slow to respond to their repair requests. During Aila, the local MP had allocated a small budget for the repair work. After Sidr, the area had received a substantial number of funds and donations for relief and rehabilitation 18
works. However, the General FGD in Gulshakhali accuses the Union Parishad Chairman for corruption and allocating it to the richer rather than the poor. Rustom in Dhalachara was less accusatory and simply stated that the relief given was insufficient and did not reach everyone. Here it was suggested that the Union Parishad should be responsible for the repairs and that planning for disaster repairs should be made in advance. Very little of the WMA and WMGs was mentioned by the participants in the General FGDs.
Maintenance of the embankment and roads
BWDB holds the main responsibility for the maintenance of the embankment, especially after a major disaster such as Sidr. In Dhalachara they repaired the broken parts of the embankment in 2011. Though the BWDB holds the main responsibility for this, the Union Parishad has been active in the repairs of the embankment as it also fills the function of a road. Through rural employment schemes such as the 40 day work order program, the UP repaired the roads of the Chunakhali bazaar. Similarly, if the embankment is broken, the Union Parishad may use the 40 day work order or other schemes to repair it (UPM Woman, Kolagachia/Goshkhali). “The embankment of our Union was broken and we repaired it. We had 200,000 taka through the 40 day work order and spent it on repairing roads and embankment. We used this to pay the day labourers working with earthwork. We faced a lot of problems while making roads. Nobody wants to give soil from their lands.” The Union Parishad’s activity in embankment maintenance was supported by the General FGDs also in Kalagachia, Kalibari and Gulshakhali. Though the WMA does not spend any funds on repairing roads, they had once cooperated with the Union Parishad to repair the embankment. “If the UP would not help me, I could not carry out the activity” (WMA President 169:44). In addition, an NGO called CODEC is currently working on repairs of roads through the use of LCS groups. This seems to be a Danish donor (DANIDA) funded initiative that is currently contracting women LCS groups for the job. The LCS members themselves appreciate the employment opportunity and increased incomes this gives opportunity, among the women LCS many of them are separated, divorced or widowed and dependent on others for their living arrangements. Through this income their independence and livelihood is seen as improved. WMOs did not play a role.
5. REGULATORS: OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
5.1. Condition of the Sluice gates
According to a GIS survey by the Institute of Water Modelling, there are more than 58 regulators in Polder 43-2F. Most of them were built in the 1960s with the polder and all of them have been constructed by the Bangladesh Water Development Board. 14 of them are pipe sluices made for flushing. They are not connected to any canals but are still active for letting in water. There are approximately 19 sluice gates that are connected to active canals, while 22 sluice gates are either connected to canals that have dried up or are not connected to any water bodies. Interestingly, the sluice gates in Kehkuani, Kalagachia and Holidrabari are in good condition active despite the lack of connection to an active canal. There were only 4 gates in a dismal condition, i.e. inactive, broken and not connected to a canal, namely SL#19 (Kalibaria village), #28 (Khekuani village), #34 (Angulkata village) and #45 (Kalagachia village) these gates are mainly flushing gates though SL# 19 also holds a drainage function. Two gates are inactive, in good condition and connected to a canal, namely the drainage structures SL# 20 (Kazi Bari khal, Kalibaria) and SL# 20 (Kanthar Khal, Angulkata). SL# 24-26 are connected to Bayambunia khal, Bazar khal and Dap Pur khal respectively and function as drainage regulators. They too are inactive and are broken. Ten gates are both active and in good condition, while also connected to canals. These are # 1 (Borachi khal, Kalibari) , 10 (Kolagachi khal, Kolagachi) 12 (Duachar khal, Maddha Kalagachia), 22 (Rona Chanda Khal, Goshkhali), 30 (Khekuni khal, Kekuni), 39 (Angukata khal, Angulkata), 41 (Dhalachara khal, Dhalachara), 43 (Gulshakhali khal, Gulshakhali), 46 (Sholo Hawlader khal, Kalagachia and 51 (Holidrabari khal, Holidrabari). There are a total of five drainage regulators that are active and poor condition: SL# 16 (Maradhan khal), 18 (Mondob bari khal), 54 (Katakhali khal) and 58 (Chunakhali khal).
Condition of Sluice gate Good Condition and Active (No Khal) (Total 13) Good Condition and Active (Khal) (Total 10) Poor condition Active (Khal) (Total 4) Poor condition and Inactive (Khal) (Total 3) Inactive, khal, good condition (Total 2) Inactive, no khal, good condition (Total 3) Inactive, no khal, poor condition (Total 4)
List of Gates #27-29, 31-33, 35, 48-49, 52, 55, 57 are in good condition # 1 (Borachi khal, Kalibari) , 10 (Kolagachi khal, Kolagachi) 12 (Duachar khal, Maddha Kalagachia), 22 (Rona Chanda Khal, Goshkhali), 30 (Khekuni khal, Kekuni), 39 (Angukata khal, Angulkata), 41 (Dhalachara khal, Dhalachara), 43 (Gulshakhali khal, Gulshakhali), 46 (Sholo Hawlader khal, Kalagachia and 51 (Holidrabari khal, Holidrabari). SL# 16 (Maradhan khal), 18 (Mondob bari khal), 54 (Katakhali khal) and 58 (Chunakhali khal) SL# 24-26 are connected to Bayambunia khal, Bazar khal and Dap Pur khal respectively and function as drainage regulators. They too are inactive and are broken. SL# 20 (Kazi Bari khal, Kalibaria) and SL# 36 (Kanthar Khal, Angulkata). SL# 31-33 (Angulkata village) SL#19 (Kalibaria village), #28 (Khekuani village), #34 (Angulkata village) and #45 (Kalagachia village)
Table 9 -
List of Regulators P43-2F
The table above shows that a majority of drainage regulators are in good condition. Those that are defined as in poor condition are usually damaged or rendered inactive due to siltation and flawed shutters. Approximately 41 structures (including pipe sluices, drainage and drainage cum flushing) are active, while 15 are inactive. Out of these 15, 10 are pipes. However, the KIIs and FGDs indicated that though the majority of sluice gates are active, they are often in poor condition due to siltation. Though the inlet pipes enable farmers to draw in water, they cannot flush it out again. Overall, drainage structures have been suggested by the participants and construction of more culverts. See image below. Redesign of sluice gates was also suggested. This includes position to reflect
changing hydrology (river bed outside polder rising). Shiuly and Joynal Mridha (WMA members) “The lower portion of the gate needs to be as deep as much possible”. The Figure below shows the responses of KII both good and active by IWM respondents and FGD participants. Interestingly, SL#41 and #57 are seen as in poor condition, while listed as.
Figure 4 -
Condition Sluices and pipes through FGDs and KIIs
Operation via gate committees at village level
Since the end of the 1990s, BWDB does not play any role in operation. Previously, the BWDB employed gateman (khalashi) who operated the gates through requests of the community and this practice has been dismantled. The shift of decision-making to local people was voiced by the BWDB Section Officer: “BWDB doesn’t play any direct role for water management. WMAs take care and control everything. There is a village committee in each sluice gate and they decide about the opening and closing of the gate”. These village committees are also known as gate committees and are the sub-committees of village level Water Management Groups (WMG). They decide how long the gates will be opened and close, thus holding the main decision-making power on the distribution of water between different water users (high-low lands, paddy, fisheries, vegetables etc). This is the case for Gulshakhali (SL#41-44), Kalagachia (SL#47-53), Kalibari (SL#1-10, 16, 18-21) and Goshkhali (SL#22). They appoint 2-3 operators per gate paid through local contributions of paddy/crops based on landholding size; mostly this is seen as voluntary service. According to the WMA President, local people form the gate committees and each is responsible for own sluice gate. They in turn decide when to open and close the gate. The table below shows some of the responses to the question of when and for how long the gate remains opened and closed. This is merely an indication since the answers were not exhaustive to cover the entire calendar year. However, the main trend is to keep the gate open during the rainy season and mainly closed during the dry seasons to avoid salinity. However, there is flexibility in opening it for shorter durations such as having it open during the tide and closed during ebb flows. In this polder, seed beds are transplanted during last week of Falgun and Choitro, showing the existence of Summer Dhan. Gates are thus opened to draw in sufficient amount of water and then closed again. This is also taking place in the inner parts of the polder (East) and thus further away from the saline river. According to the paddy farmer in Goshkhali the gate is opened to draw in sufficient amounts of water for Rabi crops (winter) and Boro.
Boishak (AprMay) Gulshakhali Flexible Joishtho (MayJun) Flexible Asharh (JunJul) Open Srabon (JulAug) Open Bhadro (AugSep) Open tide and closed Ebb Open Ashshin (SepOct) Open tide and closed Ebb Open Kartik (OctNov) Closed Agrohaeon (Nov-Dec) Flexible Poush (DecJan) Flexible Magh (JanFeb) Flexible Falgun (FebMar) Open Choitro (MarApr) Flexible
Kalgachia Kalibari Goshkhali Dhalachara
Closed Flexible Open
Open Open Open Open
Open Open Open Open
Closed Open Open
Table 10 -
Opening and closing of sluice gates
The WHH KII with the widow residing close to sluices #43, 44 and 58 near the three leased canals in Gulshakhali states that there is a high degree of flexibility during the dry season where people open the gates when they require water and that the drainage systems works well through culvers. She was quite happy with the operation of the gates and cultivated both paddy and fish. In Kalagachia there was more of a focus on
keeping the gates closed during the dry season to prevent salinity in the 16 Hawlader canal and Horidrabari canal. Here also the gates are regulated in keeping with the tidal ebbs and flows.
Figure 5 -
Decision-making over operation
The gate committees are seen as generally responding to local requests and according to the WMA there is no form of capture by local elites in deciding the operation of the gates. Since conflicts may arise between high and low lands, or between dal and paddy during Falgun, meetings are held to discuss and then decide for how long to open the gates to reconcile the differing needs. In general, it is stated that the Union Parishad plays a minimal role in the operation of gates, but may be requested to assist in minor maintenance. However, in the same WMA FGD, Ahiduzzaman, point out that since communities have been given the responsibility for operating the gates it is not working optimally. He argues that local people do not wish to pay for the operator services and that the gate committee itself does not have the incentives to work and instead the WMA must step in. At the same time he contradicts himself by saying that the gate committee holds the main responsibility. In Kalagachia, the UP member also mentioned how the gate committee holds the strongest ability to influence the operation of the sluice gates. The problem in this area, however, seems to be related to the actual physical condition of the gate, as its foot is silted and no one wants to take responsibility for operating it (Delowar, General FGD Kalagachia). In Goshkhali the KIIs with the UP woman shows that the influential elites ‘influential and respectable persons of the locality” are listened to by the general people. The Paddy farmer in Uttar Goshkhali revealed that the local WMG is headed by Mr Tarek Hawlader of the Hawlader Canal where he and his family takes the decision of the operation of the gates. This system is seen as flexible as well as sometimes problematic. “If we need water, we take the sluice gatekey from him. Sometimes they do not give the key because they catch fish in the khal” (Paddy farmer, Uttar Goshkhali). In Kalibari in the East there are contradicting statements in the FGD. They first mention how the gate 23
committee holds meetings with the people dependent on the concerned canals. There are usually different opinions on the opening and closing of the gate, discussions are held to reach a consensus where the final decision-making would reflect the opinion of the majority. At the same time, they state that they do not receive sufficient water for agriculture as “people draw water as they wish. The lower land is submerged while the higher land does not get water at all. Nobody bother this situation”. 5.2.1. Payment to operator insufficient The payment to the operators is seen as insufficient and a bit of a problem. The gate committee experiences problems of collective paddy from villagers (landless are exempt) and the operators tend to see this as insufficient. In Kalibari, it was approximated that ten-mound rice is given to the gate man each year by the farmers using the canal for irrigation. Overall, the FGDs and KIIs reflected that the operator is providing voluntary service in practice. The WMA President suggested that the government should pay these operators as they did during the khalashi system. 5.2.2. Maintenance of the gates During IPSWAM four outlets and two sluice gates were created and the responsibility for minor maintenance was handed over to WMGs and gate committees who would paint, grease and change bolts etc of the gates. However, larger repairs of gates such as damaged shutters, silted gates and any other major damage hindering operation are to be reported to and repaired by BWDB. The WMA President argued that the WMA actively informs the BWDB regarding required repairs, yet it is not always the case that engineers from BWDB come and repairs it. The WMA member Abdul Awal, on hte other hand, mentioned that the BWDB had recently repaired the three band sluice gate (#22) in Goshkhali and the shutter of the Borachi gate in Kalibari (#1) – though they did not repair the chain that pulls the shutter (UPM woman). Others state that the BWDB does not conduct any work through WMGs and WMAs and that WMAs repair the gates to a certain extent. Yet, in the Kalibari FGD it was mentioned that though they had requested the WMA executive committee to repair the gates repeatedly, nothing had come out of this. “The gate with Kalibari canal needs two bands instead of one as water cannot properly pass in and out through one band gate”. Instead, we see the Union Parishad stepping in also with the maintenance and repairs of gates. For instance, the UP have constructed a culvert at the west side of Kalibari village under 9 no. ward and the UP Chairman used the 40 day work order to the repairs of gates.
Operation via local villagers (informal)
In Dhalachara, the decision-making on operation is quite similar to the one above by gate committees. However, the difference is that there does not seem to be any official or formal ties to WMGs and they do not call themselves a gate committee. “When the villagers need water they decide it by discussion.” (Abdul Mazed Gazi, Dhalachara, General FGD). Similarly, they have locally appointed two operators for the sluice gate and pay them in paddy in accordance with landholding size. It was also noted that those that do not feel that their needs are taken into account refuse to contribute with paddy. The main problem here is that the gate (#41) is damaged to the extent that it is dangerous to operate the gate. The shutter is currently operated through improvised ropes and requiring 40-50 people to open the gate, though this may be an over exaggeration to emphasise that operation requires substantial manpower . This problem is not highlighted in the IWM map where it says that #41 is in good condition. 24
5.3.1. Maintenance of the gates Despite an active gate committee, the General FGD in Kalibari revealed that local villagers contributed some money to repair the Kalibari gate that was damaged 7 years ago. However, sluice #16 connected to Maradhana khal was closed permanently by the villagers as it was not able to flush out water. In Dhalachara there is no presence of WMGs or WMAs and villagers are left to their own devices to solve water management issues. The participants of the General FGD stated that they are currently suffering from a damaged sluice gate (#40) and are therefore unable to obtain adequate water for their cultivation. They further argued that the WMA does not inform them about water management in general, they do not even know whether or not it exists. In practical terms, the WMA has not done anything to solve their water management problems. As a result the Dhalachara villagers instead contacted the Union Parishad Chairman and requested him to contact the BWDB and solve this. However, this is a slow process: “the officers do not pay attention. Nobody wants to take responsibility after one has died at sluice gate”. There is as such a great dependency on government offices to help solve these infrastructure problems and it is not clear why BWDB has not yet responded. In terms of minor repairs, it was mention that the Dhalachara villagers had repaired small inlets for water through their own initiatives.
Conflict between high and low-elevations: irrigation versus water logging
The fields in polder 43-2F are situated on various elevation, some are high-lying lands and others are low. The implication for water distribution is that when water is lifted to reach the high-elevated lands, the low-lying lands become submerged (General FGD, Gulshakhali, # 41-44). Similarly, Kalagachia village is located on lowland and suffers from water logging caused by the land level being lower than the water levels of the canals. This is further exacerbated through the use of inlet pipes without a system to flush out the excess water. In addition, the lands in the middle of the polder are low (saucershaped) so this may lead to inundation. Similarly, waterlogging also affects cultivation in the east (#22) in Uttar Goshkhali where there are also differences between high and low elevation lands.
The implication for operation of the gates is the consistent conflict between the owners of high and low lying lands. The gate committee, Union Parishad Member and Chairman, as well as the WMA and local elite people may try to assist in the resolution of the conflict. However, the UP member in Kalagachia mentioned how one of the landowners had opened the gate in the middle of the night for his own water needs and spoiled Kheshari dal (lentil) of 20-30 kura lands (Kura is used here as unit of land, 1 Kura=72 Shotok). This was then discussed at the village Shalish where the perpetrator confessed without this leading to any compensation to the victim. In Kalibari, there was a frustration regariding this conflict where they said ‘there is nothing to solve this problem. Still we do not know any alternative’. In general the low-lying lands tend to cultivate one crop per year and the high-elevated lands cultivate three crops per year where they use rainwater.
“Cultivation in high and low lands creates problem for each other. Lowlands get water logged and high lands get dried. Both water logging and scarcity of water are equally harmful.” (Sanu, General FGD Dhalachara).
Interestingly, the issue of the Angulkata and Gulishakal canals being leased was not mentioned as having any direct effect on the distribution of water when asked directly about operation decision-making. Rather it seems the responses were trying to follow what had been set up by IPSWAM without any greater discussion on whether the gate committees were rendered ineffective by the lease-holders. In contrast, both KIIs and FGDs in Dhalachara highlighted the problems of leasing. According to the paddy farmer KII in Dhalachara, Mr. Amjad Sikder, Mr. Manik and Mr. Kalam have acquired a lease of 100 decimal of land and have built three small embankments in the Angulkata and Dhalachara khals. Apparently, it is stipulated in the lease documents that 10 feet of the canal should be allocated to water distribution, but this has not taken place. The villagers in the area had complained to the Union Parishad Chairman and the Upazila Nirbahi Officer without the conflict being solved. At the start of 2012 they had then contacted the DC office through the UP. Decision-making is stated as being in the hands of local villagers through gate committees, the exception being in Dhalachara where the leasing of canals has impeded the water distribution through the creation of small embankments in the canal itself. However, findings from Golshakhali suggests that the influential people may also be heading these gate committees and tend to be inconsistent in responding to local requests on operation (see Hawlader khal). The WMA is rarely involved at this level. The dynamics of how these decisions impact the different farmers of low and high-lying lands did not come out clearly. For this we would need more detailed maps of landholding in the area combined with the participatory maps showing which areas are high elevated and which are low.
6. CANALS AND RE-EXCAVATION
6.1. Condition of canals: Siltation
Overall, the FGDs and KIIs revealed that a majority of canals were heavily silted; some had even dried up and become the same level as land. Abdul Awal: “Most of the cannels have shapes only but the canal’s bed has become level to the land”. It was argued that the canals have been reduced to half their size compared to the time before the polder. Khals connected to SL 48-51 (from Kalagachia to Hoidrabari village in Northwest) are seen as ‘dead’. Only the Sholo Hawlader canal in the North was said to be in good condition. Its sluice gate (SL #46) is both active and in good condition. In the East, all canals are silted except the sluice gate that is currently inactive and broken (#16). Siltation of canals have significant impacts on agricultural productivity as it may lead to drainage congestion during the monsoon season (Kharif I) and obstructs rainwater harvesting through canals for Rabi (Kharif II) irrigation.
“Dalachara and Angulkata canal have already been silted up and created lot of problem for us. Water of this canal cannot flow up to the end of the land. So we cannot grow rice paddy or other crops. We cannot drain out water if there is water logging due to rainfall in the village. We cannot do poultry farm or get water for cattle. We cannot take bath in the canal.” Farmer, Dalachara.
However, similar statements came from all the respondents throughout the polder in terms of the effects of silted canals. The figure below shows the extent of silted canals throughout the polder.
Figure 6 -
Khals and sluices
Interestingly, the leased canals are all silted and many of them are connected to gates that are in good condition and active. This will be discussed in the section on Conflicts.
Re-excavation during IPSWAM
Rehabilitation works were conducted via LCS groups under IPSWAM. This was coordinated by the WMA. 32 LCS groups excavated canals in the first year of the IPSWAM project and 33 in the second year. In the 3rd and 4th years they worked on repairing and strengthening the embankment (6-16 LCS groups). During this time, the BWDB was highly active. The WMGs would prepare the activity schemes for the LCS to conduct while the BWDB Section Officer would instruct the LCS on the actual implementation of earthwork (how much earth and where). In general, the male LCS group in Gulshakhali was very positive about both the WMA and the BWDB. However, despite being a group for landless and marginal farmers, the two leaders were medium sized farmers with enough funds for private deep tubewell and pump irrigation. They were also the one’s speaking the most during the LCS FGD and it was not clear whether or not they were actually implementing any of the earthwork. In the General FGD in Gulshakhali, Abul Hossain noted that though BWDB prepared schemes for 20 canals during IPSWAM, only 5 were excavated (Kalibari, North kalibari, Katakhali, Mondob bari, Angulkata). In Kalagachia it was further noted that the quality of this excavation by BWDB through LCS was of poor quality and superficial. Allegations of misappropriation of funds were highlighted as a key cause.
Re-excavation after IPSWAM
In Kalibari most of the canals are fully silted, and the same goes for the ones in Angulkata. For both the Mondob bari khal and Katakhali khal, the sluice gates are broken. For the working sluice gates, the canals are correspondingly fully silted. In sum, half the canals in polder 43-2F connected to sluice gates or pipes/inlets are fully silted, while some of the sluice gates that are broken are connected to active canals. Throughout the General FGDs, and especially in Gulshakhali, Kalibari and Dhalachara it was emphasised that both WMGs and WMAs had become inactive after IPSWAM with little work on excavating canals that are increasingly becoming silted. This work has not been taken over by any other actors in Kalibari or Dhalachara. “BWDB or government are not taking any initiatives for canal excavation”, General FGD Kalibari. The work the Union Parishad is doing for excavation is limited, while the BWDB sees gate and emergency as its main mandate. “All of the necessary gates remain open. But the canals are in bad condition which needs excavation.” (BWDB Section Officer). Why then does the BWDB not conduct canal maintenance when acknowledging that “re-excavation of canals is a very urgent requirement”? Perhaps this is due to khal reexcavation being seen as preventative and regular maintenance and therefore beyond the mandate of ‘emergency repairs’. The Union Parishad member in Kalagachia who is in charge of Horidrabari, Kalagachia and Poschim Kalagachia mentioned that the UP is active excavating canals and removing vegetation from them. However, they do not receive any direct government funds for these purposes and instead rely on the rural employment schemes. “We have re-excavated these two canals and their present condition is good. Farmers can now grow both fish and rice and they are also getting good amount of Rabi crops.” (UP Member, Kalagachia). In the 28
LCS Gulshakhali, one of the landless members argued that the Union Parishad’s role should be increased so that they can address the siltation in the canals through re-excavation. “UP could play role to excavate these canals. Water-hyacinth causes water congestion in some places. That causes damage to crops. Water does not lift timely. “Our locality will be developed if UP take initiatives to solve these problems. So, it would be good if UP Chairman and Members would work with local people” (Rafique, LCS Gulshakhali). However, the funds for rural employment are allocated during the rainy season, which the UP member states was inadequate as excavation could not be done at that time. Similarly, the LCS group mentioned that it is easy to work in Poush-Magh (November -February) month (dry season), yet the projects start during Falgun-Chaitra (February-April) month close to the rainy season.
In the east of the polder, both the canals and sluice gates are in poor condition. In the west, however, the three main canals Angulkata (#39), Dalachara (#41) and Gulshakhali (#43) are all silted. Interestingly, though the canals are in poor condition for water retention, distribution and drainage, the sluice gates themselves are in good condition. These three canals are under private leases and used for fishing.. Arguably then, the people holding the lease are interested in ensuring that the gates function and tend to invest in minor maintenance of the regulators. However, the lack of maintenance of the canal combined with the use of sluice gates for their own purposes is causing conflict with surrounding farmers who require water for agriculture. Small dams have been built preventing the water to flow downstream.
“Dalachara and Gulashakhali canals are given as lease. As a result, general people have become looser. Water cannot pass properly by these canals. These canals are using for self interest. There is no water in dry season on the other hand crops get down by heavy rain.” Liton Majumder, Gulshakhali “From Dalachara cyclone centre to east of the canal has been leased and used for cultivating fish. For this purpose, lease holder constructed earthen cross dam in this canal, as a result people are depriving from water”. Siddique, Dalachara
Leasing was seen as an obstruction to the general welfare of the population. Either the sluice gate is operated in a way that benefits a few and disadvantage the majority, or it is obstructed in its flow through cross dams, or even that they fill up the canal to increase their landholding area (several ‘dead’ canals, e.g. Kalibari canal #1 and #18). “Everyone of this village is involved in agriculture. Dalachara canal should be free from lease for the betterment of agriculture.” Abdul Mozid Gazi, Dalachara. The same sentiment applied to Angulkata and Gulshakali canals. The WMA members tell a somewhat different story. They argue that the currently silted canals were given as khas khals for the landless people and that the District office had distributed the canals. As such it is the landless people who fenced their allocated areas and for their private fish cultivation and thus obstructed water distribution in the canal system. This is contradicted through statements such as “Landless and poor should be given access to use of khal.” P158:69, Kalagachi and “ Mr. Amjad Sikder, Mr. Manik and Mr. Kalam (influential elites) took lease of 100 decimal of land and built small embankments in the khal (Paddy farmer, Dalachara). No mtter who has occupied the canals, their current use is obstructing water distribution and hampering maintenance. Overall, systematic and deeper re-excavation of canals were seen as solutions for addressing siltation. It was widely suggested that leases should be removed so khals are public and open for
all taking into consideration wider distribution of benefits of the canal systems so that water supply for high and low lands are equally benefitted.
7. IPSWAM: PROCESS AND RESULTS
The IPSWAM project started in polder 43-2F in 2005 where two community organizers mobilised the communities to form 27 Water Management Groups for 27 gates in the polder. This is different from IPSWAM Polder 30 where the WMGs were created based on village level. By 2006 the groups had been formed and after this two representatives from each WMG were made WMA members and held elections for the WMA executive committee.
Input to BWDB
During the IPSWAM project local communities were able to influence the BWDB to a certain extent through the meetings organised by the WMA where they would identify problems and solutions for the embankment and excavation of canals. BWDB was seen as incorporating community suggestions and concerns. However, the number of canals was less than what had been requested and the excavation itself was seen as superficial. On the other hand, during the IPSWAM project the BWDB would work through LCS groups, entailing that local people would be provided employment opportunities. After the project ended, BWDB is working through contractors and interacting limitedly with local communities.
“Two years ago, some people under the leadership of Section Officer (SO) came to excavate Horidrabari canal. But our demand was to re-excavate 16 Hawlader’s canals. We could not know when government people came to take measurement” General FGD, Kalagachia. “BWDB would just go away after finishing the work without informing the local people” WMA President, Gulshakhali . “Now BWDB directly manages the work by the contractor” WMA FGD, Gulshakhali.
The BWDB Section Officer on the other hand claims that they [BWDB] visit WMG and WMA activities regularly, but it is the “WMA takes care and controls everything for water management”. He further states that earthwork activities are conducted by the LCS under the supervision of the WMA. and that if there is any new scope of work on river erosion, they get 25% of the work. Interestingly, he also notes that quality of work by LCS is good, while contractors do not maintain quality. Why then is BWDB using contractors? Overall, there seems to be a gap between BWDB and the WMA and coordinating on maintenance activities and greater use of contractors for maintenance. Whether or not this is more than 75% is not clear, yet the general public seem to prefer that most earthwork should be conducted by LCS.
Cooperative Status and Income Generating Activity
In 2008 the WMGs were registered as cooperative societies and would provide loans to their members through loan sub-committees. This was drawn from 10-20 taka as monthly fees from general members into the cooperative funds as savings that were deposited in the bank. “We deposit our savings in bank. We 30
distribute loans among the poor members at low interest from our savings” WMA FGD Gulshakhali. In contrast to the 3% and cheaper interest rate in polder 30, in this polder the WMA kept a 10% interest rate. It was also mentioned that WMA general members can get loans, but this was not clear on whether this was also applicable for WMG general members. Despite this, the WMGs and WMAs are not able to pay for the two operators per gate, rather relying on voluntary service and contributions of paddy. The WMA stated they do not have sufficient funds to be active in water management and to keep incentives of people to be engaged in their activities and suggested they would be given khal leases as an income generating source. However, among the General FGD respondents it the savings and loans thing had never worked appropriately. There was a widespread perception of malpractice and appropriation of funds by the WMA executive committee both during and after IPSWAM.
Inactive WMA and WMGs
In Gulshakhali, the WMA mentioned that there was a lack of financial incentives to remain active in the WMGs and WMA. The WMA President noted that the opportunity and transport costs of attending meetings without travel allowance were a disincentive to participate, adding that the WMA does not have the funds to provide for this. The WMA states that they lack funds for this as well as for operation and maintenance “We cannot do anything through our association due to limitation of funds. We can do everything if we have money”, WMA President. It was therefore proposed that the WMA should be able to lease canals and ponds to become self-reliant and increase their activities, while also adding that for large-scale problems such as broken gates and silted canals they need help from the government. Interestingly, they did not mention how existing leases may or may not interfere with their work. The above portrays the perspective of the WMA and its executive committee members. When speaking to participants of the General FGD in Gulshakhali, a different picture emerges. “Nobody takes the initiatives. At present the WMA does not do any work. During IPSWAM the members of the committee exploited half of the allotted money then finished the activity very coarsely. It was supposed to raise the road up to 2 feet but it was done 12 inches only to some places. Even the worker didn’t get their payment. The quality of the work is not satisfactory” Annowar Hossain. Arguably then, another reason for declining membership and contribution to WMGs is the perceived mismanagement by the executive committee where the WMA is seen as unable to solve the issues. In Dhalachara and Kalibari the WMA and WMGs were seen as completely inactive, especially in much needed khal excavation: “Nobody cares about what to do or what are needed. The WMA does not take initiatives or inform any problem of the villagers to the BWDB”. In terms of the LCS, being a WMG member was a requirement in order to get the earthwork contracts and selected as an LCS. Without such incentives, the reason to participate in WMGs declines. “If we become [WMG] member, then we will get income opportunity through earthwork projects”/ Farid, leader of Angulkata LCS.
Working sub-committee: Gate Committees
In most areas operation is conducted through the gate committee. In IPSWAM, several different subcommittees were to be formed to cover monitoring of infrastructure, maintenance, loans, agriculture, 31
fisheries etc. The findings suggest that the gate committee was the only one still active, despite the inactivity of both WMGs and WMA. The gate committees in Kalibari are still active. “The majority is granted in deciding gate operation” (General FGD, Kalibaria). However, the lack of formal payment to operators is seen as an obstacle. “Three members among the twelve of the WMG were given the responsibility of the gate. As they are ill paid, they don’t like to do work properly” General FGD, Gulshakhali. Furthermore, there seems to be a significant amount of built up deferred maintenance where gates are silted or broken to the extent that it is impossible for the communities to repair them on their own. As such, one might question whether or not minor maintenance of the gates had been taken place properly in the first place, or whether it could be that high siltation rate and the age of the infrastructure makes it impossible for the communities to take responsibility for this in the first place.
8. PARTICIPATION AND INFLUENCE
8.1. Membership composition and Representation
In theory, the WMG and WMA would consist of fisherman, landless and farmers, where at least a third would be women. This notion of community participation was reflected throughout the General FGDs when asked about community participation in water management as it was seen as involving a wide range of stakeholders.
Those who are most affected farmer should be involved in water management. Even those who do not have any land; work in others land should also participate. Everything should be done by discussing with all. /Sobha, Kalagachia Representatives should be selected from farmer, service holder, landless and poor. One should be taken from affected people and also from different profession. /Sanu Fokir, Dhalachara Real participation of the community means participation of all classes of people in polder management. Nurul Hang, Kalibari
In addition, participation in water management was defined as discussing problems and reaching consensus on the potential solution. This would be guided by listening to everyone’s opinions and reaching a majority decision rather than one or few people imposing their opinion on everyone else (Delowar, Kalagachia). According to the WMA they fulfil this idea of community participation by having fisherman, landless, farmer in this committee and in addition half of the WMA’s 54 members are women. “Anyone can be the member. We ask for everyone. Those who are willing join here and unwilling one doesn’t join” (Ahiduzzaman, WMA member) adding: “Then we decide those who have more lands they will be sent here to the WMA”. In terms of deliberation and decision-making of the majority, a woman WMA member (also the wife of the WMA President) stated that they engage in bottom up decision making through inviting people to meetings and discussion water management activities. “The WMA includes everybody and they listen to them”. This statement was corroborated by the leaders of the male LCS group consulted, as well as Md Monowar in the Kalagachia General FGD.
Shahidul Panu is the president, Abdul Haque is the secretary. Yes, they care about peoples’ opinion. They work according to peoples’ opinion. //When we face problem like this, we discuss with local people who are involved in the Samittee. They listen to our problems. / Farid, LCS leader, Gulshakhali.
There is no role of the influential people. Political people also do not try to exercise power. WMA does the work by consulting with people. / Md. Monowar, Kalgachia General FGD
However, Md Monowar seems to be either a WMG or WMA member himself, though this is not made clear in the FGD transcripts: “We, the member of the association sit with the villagers, listen to their problems, listen to their suggestion then decide together. We open or close the gate according to people’s necessity”. In addition, though Farid is a member and group leader of the Angulkata LCS group, he owns 1 biggha, i.e. 20 katha land, while the leader of the Goshkhali LCS (Abdul Barek) owns 3 biggha, 60 katha land. This may indicate that they are working as day laborers, in addition they could afford their own private tubewells for irrigation. Throughout the FGD, Farid was positive that everything was working perfectly and in accordance with IPSWAM guidelines. However, this is contradicted by the information from other FGDs and KIIs. It was mentioned that farmers and fishermen are not members of the WMGs (Gulshakhali and Kalibari), while the non-farming elite (own land, educated) use project money to work in their own local areas (Gulshakhali, Kalibari) and do not involve general people in planning, implementation or maintenance in water management (Dhalachara). This is further substantiated by Shushilan’s field observations where they note that the current WMA members are rich and belong to the same class. Despite claiming the inclusion of landless members, none were present in the discussions. In terms of the allegation of corruption they noted: ‘At one stages of discussion, we asked them about their present savings, then Mr. President’s wife said that we, the ladies do not keep track of the funds and the savings balance. At that time another stopped her and said that don’t disclose our weakness to the outsiders”. In addition, the WMA President himself is a non-farmer. He is a high school teacher and belongs to the local elite. He is both the president of WMA of 43/2 F polder and WMG of South Goshkhali. The links with the Union Parishad has been maintained as his wife was a member of the Union Parishad. His wife is also involved with water management group and ex-member of reserved women sit in UP. In terms of participation in the formal WMGs and WMAs, it seems that though general membership is for all, decision-making and information is reserved to the WMA executive committee which incidentally consists of those with more land and higher social standing. Though they are very active in using the rhetoric of egalitarianism, decision-making still rests in the hands of the elites.
Gender and Participation in Water management
In terms of gender, it seems that the two women members of the WMA are ‘token’ members to fulfil the quota for women members. One of them is the wife of the WMA President and was kept out of budget issues, while the second woman did not seem to know or say anything herself. The exclusion of women from water management could be seen as a frequent matter. The current woman UP member in Kalibari village stated that she is never invited to any meeting and knows nothing about how the WMGs were formed during IPSWAM. She also mentions that though her husband is a member, she knows nothing of it. When the field team asked her about the rivers, canals and sluice gates of her area she called on her husband to help her answer these questions. For the two KIIs with the women-headed households revealed that they felt that they were excluded from most institutions due to their social status as single women/widows.
For this reason [on the issue of deep tubewell from Union Parishad], I don’t go to anybody and I don’t want anything from anybody because I know that nobody will give me anything. Still now I don’t get old age allowance and widow allowance. I was enlisted in Union Parishad list but didn`t get it. But when he will give me I can’t say/ 60 year old widow, Gulshakhali.
Are you a member of any WMO functioning in this polder? I have heard about the committee, but I can`t say nothing about this. People like us, can`t be a member. Women are not informed or take part of this. /Single woman working with LCS, Gulshakhali.
The LCS women was not a member of the WMG but was still able to work on an IPSWAM BWDB project in 2010. She also noted that wage discrimination based on gender was prevalent as the male LCS members would earn more for the same amount of work. She also voiced frustration over the delayed and insufficient payment of BDT 150 000 for an LCS team. Despite having complained to the Union Parishad this has not been rectified.
The physical condition of the infrastructure is problematic. Some specific areas of the embankment are vulnerable to regular river erosion and in general it is seen as a necessity to raise the embankment. The gates are in poor condition, while the canals are silted. Interestingly, many of the leased canals see that the gates are in good condition, while canals themselves have become silted. Siltation is seen as a major problem and reexcavation that makes the canals wider and deeper was proposed throughout. They also pointed out that leasing of the canals tend to obstruct such maintenance. In general, irrigation scarcity and water logging were seen as the two major problems. Maintenance of canals and an improved drainage system with more regulators with a design that takes into the account that the river bed has risen and that the gates were made several decades back was emphasised. In general, the main source of conflict is that between highland and lowland as the the lowlying lands tend to become inundated. Currently, maintenance is irregular and the WMA has become inactive over time. It was clear that the rhetoric of participation promoted by IPSWAM had been internalised among the many WMG and WMCA members. However, the actual practice of including landless and women in effecting consultation and decision-making does not seem to have materialised. However, the number of active women participants and landless respondents during Shushilan’s fieldwork was also quite low. In general, the local people wanted the IPSWAM project to continue. They mentioned how the WMA was active during IPSWAM but became more inactive as there was less and less funding for any maintenance activities. However, the WMGs seem to be active, especially in terms of operation of the gate, but is holding less meetings over time. Several respondents believed that with a continued project, both BWDB, WMA and WMG would have a renewed interest in water management activities. Though the Union Parishad was seen as the first point of contact for local people and active in emergency responses, they preferred that BWDB holds the main responsibility for water management. To conclude, Polder 43-2F is in relatively good condition but is increasingly facing the problem of ongoing river erosion and siltation. They do not appear to be solved by local funds alone and leasing seems to obstruct maintenance. There is no institutional form of periodic and regular maintenance; only the gate committees seem active in minor repair and operation. There is therefore a strong faith in the government, such as BWDB, and donors to help them address these water management problems. However, it should be noted that many of the main canals are still active and gates are in relatively good condition. As such, one can still see the impact of the IPSWAM project. 34
ANNEX 1: INSTITUTIONS IN WATER GOVERNANCE
Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) The Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) is the main implementing agency of water infrastructure projects in Bangladesh. As per the National Water Policy (Ministry of Water Resources, 1999) it is responsible for polders larger than 1000 ha. For this purpose, BWDB has special wing in the district level headed by senior engineer called Executive Engineer (Operation and Maintenance). Prior to the BWDB restructuring of 1998, there were government-employed gatemen (khalashis) who would operate the gates and communicate with the BWDB. This system has been abolished where instead it is intended that Water Management Organizations, or communities, should take over this responsibility. As already mentioned, IPSWAM project was implemented in Polder 43-2F. It was aimed at helping to establish a methodology for BWDB to engage directly with community participation. It was located under the Directorate of Planning III of the BWDB. It consisted both of BWDB engineers and external project consultants who would facilitate the communication between BWDB and communities on consultation on engineering design and construction. During the IPSWAM project BWDB had an allocated budget for rehabilitation and construction. After the project ended BWDB has maintained the responsibility for major emergency maintenance and repairs such as greater gate damages and if the polder breaks during cyclone. BWDB conducts and funds only limited khal excavation beyond specific project budgets and hold no involvement in minor maintenance of gates. Though they use local people such as Labour Contracting Societies during formal projects, once the project has ended they tend to give contracts to outside contractors. Polder 43-2F shows a tendency of deferred maintenance building up until it requires major repairs. Union Parishad: a Local Government Institution Rural governance in Bangladesh comprises of a three-tier local government system of which Union Parishad is the grassroots local government institution and its immediate upper tier is Upazila Parishad. Polder 43-2F is part of Gulishakhali Union under Amtoli Upazila, Barguna. Here the Union Parishad uses rural employment schemes for repairing roads and has extending this to include embankment repairs and to some extent canal excavation. In Kalagachia village amicable relations exist between Union Parishad and the WMA. Based on popular requests the UP has tried to fix some inlets and gates, but poor quality and has tried to coordinate with BWDB. The UP in Kalagachia pointed out the problematic timing of fund allocation for maintenance works “Fund for excavation should be allocated in January-March. But we get it in June- July when canals are full of water and when it is impossible to excavate canals. It is wastage of money and labour. Neither farmers nor fishermen are looser by the canal excavation.”However, these funds are limited and the Union Parishad seems to sometimes feel overstretched in terms of the availability of government funds versus the demand of works. The UP in 43-2F is also active in tubewells for drinking water, each UP member is responsible for the drinking water supply in their ward. In terms of the leasing issue, UP was contacted to resolve it but failed. He has not passed on the issue to the DC office.