Water Resources plays a vital role in the economic development of Bangladesh. With frequent flooding and drought in Bangladesh, sustainable water resource management proves supportive for rural development. Significant factors manipulating agricultural productivity are flood management, drainage improvement and surface water conservation. Most substantial water resources development activities of the country started in the 1960s.
With the mission and vision of developing socio-economic condition of the country by escalating food production, LGED got involvement in agricultural invention through surface water management by excavating/re-excavating drains and canals, digging new canals, repair and construction of bunds and embankments, and reclamation of land for productive purposes in the name of Thana Irrigation Programme (TIP). Under TIP, small scale water resource schemes had been initiated and implemented by the UP members in the Union level since 1960. Later, LGED has implemented SSWR schemes as a component under different project title. In 1995-96 LGED made its first move to the SSWRD Sector. Meanwhile, the Government made major water sector reforms with the formulation of the National Water Policy (NWP) in 1999 and the National Water Management Plan (NWMP) in 2001. The NWP states "The Local Government will implement FCDI projects having command areas of 1,000 hectares or less". LGED, as the technical support providing agency to the Local Government, prepares local water management plan and implements projects in conformity with NWMP and approved project appraisal guidelines since 1995-96 onwards with participation of local stakeholders.
The objectives, components and activities of the water sector projects, irrespective of different titles, remain more or less same and following and would follow, with some improvements and fine tuning based on lessons learned and experience acquired from the course of SSW-2 implementation, the same implementation process having nearly same project components and activities.
As an outcome of the Second Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project (SSW-2) the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Unit was established in the LGED in March 2003. In the backdrop of successful implementation of First Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project (SSW-1) and the need for sustainable management of subprojects it’s establishment became imperative for capacity building to guide implementation and management of small scale water resources following participatory approach.
At inception, IWRM was anticipated to become an entity distinct from the Project Management Office (PMO) of SSW-2. The general mandate of IWRMU is to guide and steer LGED’s activities in the water sector with specific responsibility to assist in enunciation of policies, formulation of strategies and plans, preparation of new projects, inter-agency coordination and with external agencies, undertake studies and last but not the least to provide long term support to the completed projects
Purpose of IWRM Unit:
To clarify the role of IWMRU, to put it into the broader LGED context, and to increase its profile the following mission and vision statements are adopted for IWRMU:
Mission statement: The mission statement (over-all purpose) of IWRMU is the development and management of local water management infrastructure for increasing farm/non-farm production, generating employment, improving socio-economic conditions, promoting local governance, reducing poverty and acting as an agent of change at the local level. .
The vision statement describing the future situation and direction of IWRMU is that IWMRU will become a professionally competent, efficient and effective public sector unit within LGED for performing the inter-related and complementary functions of:
Developing and monitoring the maintenance of small scale water resources infrastructure at local level by ensuring local government institutions and community participation and taking care of environmental and social issues.
Providing technical and institutional support to strengthen the local government institutions and serving local communities and other stakeholders.