Multi-stakeholder participation for sustainable delta management: a challenge of the socio-technical transformation in the management practices in Bangladesh
Mutahara, M. ; Warner, J.F. ; Khan, M.S.A. - \ 2020
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology (2020). - ISSN 1350-4509
community - delta - multi-stakeholder processes - participation - sustainability - Tidal River Management - transformation - water-logging
In Bangladesh, participation discourse has officially become part of the objectives of the government and international agencies for water management projects since the mid-1990s. At the same historical timeframe, originating from indigenous knowledges Tidal River Management (TRM) has been formalized as a less structural and more natural management intervention to prevent the severe water-logging in the South-west region in the Bangladesh delta. It theoretically constituted a form of participation in the delta management system involving local community groups with government and management authorities. However, multi-stakeholder participation is still very challenging in practices. Even community management approaches are not sustained in delta management practices in Bangladesh. In this research, a socio-technical transformation is defined through a participatory research in the south-west coastal area having both qualitative and quantitative evaluation of changes in the delta management system brought about by TRM practices. This article also analyses the current problems besetting organized community participation in existing management practices and suggests the ways of developing effective multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs) with respect to sustainable management goal in deltas.
Cutting dikes, cutting ties? Reintroducing Flood Dynamics in Coastal Polders in Bangladesh and the Netherlands
Warner, J.F. ; Staveren, M.F. van; Tatenhove, J.P.M. van - \ 2018
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 32 (2018). - ISSN 2212-4209 - p. 106 - 112.
controlled flooding; - flood risk management - the Netherlands - Bangladesh - Tidal River Management
Renewed attention for ecosystem dynamics when considering flood related interventions has been instrumental in shaping initiatives to ‘de-polder' lands, i.e. returning previously reclaimed land to the waters. This is a substantial paradigm shift in land and water management, as poldering has been crucial to the development of both the Dutch and Bangladeshi deltas, where wetlands have been turned into productive agricultural areas by constructing peripheral embankments to separate water in rivers from water within polders. Although these interventions have contributed significantly to increased food production and safer livelihoods within the embankments in the short run, negative socio-environmental effects also surfaced. Constructing flood preventive embankments also means preventing the deposition of sedimentation. As a consequence, soil subsidence and the increase of economic value in the built-up area behind the embankments, turned a 'high-incidence, low-consequence' flood risk situation into a 'low incidence – high consequence' one. It also led to changes in social structures, decision-making power and trade-offs between when and how much water is taken in or drained out – (re-)distributing hydrological risks between stakeholders. It is against this background that polder embankments have come in for strong criticism and reconsideration. They were cut, reduced in height, moved or even completely removed, in the cases central in this paper. As a result of such ‘de-poldering’, flood dynamics (riverine/freshwater or tidal) have reappeared in formerly enclosed lands. Proponents of ecosystem-based approaches to water and flood management have been instrumental in encouraging this practice.
This contribution describes and analyses two cases from the Dutch and Bangladeshi deltas, where these kinds of interventions have taken shape over the last 10–20 years. The article highlights the complexity and interaction between environmental, technological and socio-political drivers for (and against) dyke removal and restoration of flood dynamics to reduce flood disaster risk. The Dutch case emphasizes how a de-poldering project had redistributive consequences, when farmers felt they had to pay the price for other people's safety from flooding. The Bangladesh case study shows how controlled tidal flooding addresses another water related risk: prolonged water logging within delta polders. Originating in a popular practice of the region, this DRR strategy met with varying degrees of success when implemented as a top-down intervention.
Social learning for adaptive delta management : Tidal River Management in the Bangladesh Delta
Mutahara, Muhmuda ; Warner, Jeroen F. ; Wals, Arjen E.J. ; Shah Alam Khan, M. ; Wester, Flip - \ 2018
International Journal of Water Resources Development 34 (2018)6. - ISSN 0790-0627 - p. 923 - 943.
adaptive delta management - Bangladesh - participation - social learning - Tidal River Management
The article analyzes Tidal River Management in Bangladesh from a social learning perspective. Four cases were investigated using participatory assessment. Knowledge acquisition through transformations in the Tidal River Management process was explored as an intended learning outcome. The study finds that social learning occurred more prominently at the individual stakeholder level and less at the collective level. For Tidal River Management to be responsive and sustainable, especially in times of increased uncertainty and climate vulnerability, more attention needs to be paid to coordination and facilitation of multi-level learning that includes all stakeholders.
Bringing in the tides. From closing down to opening up delta polders via Tidal River Management in the southwest delta of Bangladesh
Staveren, M.F. van; Warner, J.F. ; Shah Alam Khan, M. - \ 2017
Water Policy 19 (2017)1. - ISSN 1366-7017 - p. 147 - 164.
Bangladesh - controlled flooding - delta management - hydraulic engineering - policy pendulum swing - Tidal River Management - water policy
The southwest coastal delta of Bangladesh is not only geographically home to a dynamic interplay between land and water, and between fresh surface water and saline tides, but also to contentious debates on flood management policy and hydraulic engineering works. It has been argued that dealing with delta floods in this region boils down to adopting either open or closed approaches. This paper longitudinally structures the open-or-closed debate based on a number of emblematic water management projects in the region. Departing from a typical open wetland history, river and polder embankments increasingly started to constrain flood dynamics. Upheaval among rural populations in response to the negative impacts of hydraulic engineering plans and works coalesced in efforts to restore open approaches, synthesized in the Tidal River Management concept. Its resemblance to historic overflow irrigation is often used politically as a yardstick to challenge the dominant hydraulic engineering paradigm. This paper argues that dealing with floods in Bangladesh requires plans, policies and projects formulated against the historic background of complex interactions among social processes, environmental dynamics and technological interventions: a lesson to be incorporated in on-going policy-making processes and long-term delta management plans.