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Ganges River Basin Research Highlights


Improved water governance and management in coastal areas of the Ganges basin can reduce poverty and strengthen livelihood resilience




Messages from the Ganges Basin Development Challenge: Unlocking the Production Potential of the Polders of the Coastal Zone of Bangladesh through Water Management Investment and Reform

The coastal polders of Bangladesh are characterized by extremes in terms of both challenges and opportunities. This document draws on the GBDC research findings and discussions over the last decade and presents seven key evidence-based messages. The aims of the messages are to correct misperceptions about water resources and the production potential of the coastal zone, and to advocate for changes in resource-use technologies, resource management policies, institutional coordination and governance mechanisms.

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Report from Households and Water Management Organizations Quantitative Surveys (Technical report)

One Ganges project conducted a series of household and water management organization surveys in its coastal Bangladesh study sites. This report presents the methodology and describes the results from the survey. The report can be read as a quantitative situation analysis of the area. Most of the results are desegregated by location for a comparison purpose: comparison between two types of institutions (polders/sub-projects) and comparison between three main geo-hydrologic zones (high, medium and low level of salinity).

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Situation Analysis Report: Polder 30, Batiaghata Upazila, Khulna (Technical report)

This report gives a detailed situation analysis of polder 30 in Bangladesh. It highlights historical narratives of the polder from the time it was constructed to present; the current state of polder infrastructure; the results and process of water management interventions; reviews how maintenance of water management infrastructure and operation of sluice gates take place; and discusses the main conflicts. It concludes by discussing the main findings and implementable policy recommendations that came from the respondents for improving water management in the Polder 30.

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Catching Up in Southwestern Bangladesh (Journal article)

This article provides an overview of the challenges faced by farmers in coastal Bangladesh and features interviews with the researchers who are working to find solutions to water management challenges and increase food production options. Learn how these efforts are contributing to achieving the CPWF Ganges Basin Development Challenge of ‘reducing poverty and strengthening livelihood resilience through improved water governance and management.’

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Agrarian Straightjacket: Constraints to Achieve Yield Potential in Rice (Conference abstract)

In Bangladesh, there is tremendous potential to improve food security and livelihoods through the adoption of new varieties, timely crop establishment, improved management, and cropping system intensification and diversification. However, these new options cannot reach their potential unless there is a fundamental change in how polders are viewed and managed, and as a result, how investments are allocated. Four key investments are identified here.

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Keeping Their Feet Dry: Upholding Water Infrastructure in Bangladesh

CPWF- Ganges researchers set out to understand the factors that influence individuals and communities to contribute voluntarily to dyke and ditch maintenance. In order to do so, they designed an experimental “public good” game. The idea was to get communities thinking about what affected the whole community and particularly how working together could benefit all water users. The results suggest that ‘fairness’ plays less of a role in managing community water resources than previously imagined.

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The Water Management Puzzle of Coastal Bangladesh

Many believe that the solution to increasing the productivity of Bangladesh’s polders lies in engaging local communities in operation and maintenance of polder infrastructure. After all, who can better understand the needs of the communities if not the community members themselves? Does involving communities in polder management improve water management within the polders and reduce conflicts leading to better outcomes in terms of crop production and productivity?

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Unlocking the Potential of Coastal Bangladesh

A number of constraints prevented the polder zones of Bangladesh from benefiting from the Green Revolution. However, researchers working on CPWF projects in the Ganges are confident that the agricultural and aquacultural productivity of the coastal zone can be greatly improved now, and in projected future conditions, using existing cropping system technologies.

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A Story of Water, Power and Politics in Three Indian States

Since the 1970s, India’s land area under groundwater irrigation has increased, as have the number of wells and tubewells. These pumps are operated with electricity, which is largely subsidized by states. As a result, farmers’ groundwater use is higher than sustainable recharge of aquifers. While direct regulation of groundwater use is not a feasible option given the large number of pumps, Indian states have attempted to regulate water use through regulation of the electricity supply that is used to operate the pumps.

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Literature Review: Review of the Historical Evolution of Policies and Institutions of Community Based Management in Coastal Bangladesh

One CPWF-Ganges project is working to understand the different modes and outcomes of water governance in selected polders and the role that communities play in such governance. Several models of community participation are examined, including participation fostered by formal agencies such as the Bangladesh Water Development Board and Local Government Engineering Department. By understanding how policies and institutions have evolved over time, this review helps contextualize the project’s research findings and may help influence future research directions.

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Literature Review: The Experiences of Water Management Organizations in Bangladesh

This review of past experiences and the current status of Water Management Organizations in Bangladesh is intended to contribute to the context and process of understanding the different governance mechanisms that are in place to manage water conflicts and their comparative advantages and disadvantages.

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Helping Farmers Catch Up in Southwestern Bangladesh (Video)

Dr. Elizabeth Humphreys, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, discusses work to deliver locally-adapted rice varieties and management practices to increase agricultural production in the south west coastal zone of Bangladesh, where farmers experience more than their fair share of water management challenges.

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What determines contribution to a common fund for upkeep of water infrastructures? (Poster)

This interactive poster was presented at the 2013 Stockholm World Water Week. It describes the results of an experimental 'public good game' carried out with farmers in the polder zones of coastal Bangladesh in order to understand determinants of contributions to maintain a public good.

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Best-Bet Options for Coastal Bangladesh (Video)

These videos describe how one project has successfully trialed new cropping system schemes in three polders that are representative of variable salinity regimes. They go on to explain how a complimentary CPWF- Ganges project is examining opportunities for upscaling this success to the 139 polders of the coastal zone. Through the development of extrapolation domains, the project has produced comprehensive maps that detail what types of cropping systems have the most potential for success in what areas of the coastal zone, both now and in the future.

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Ganges Theory of Change Workshop Report

If research is to have an impact then people must use the outputs, knowledge and insights it generates. This means that researchers and their organizations must link to next users and end users of their research. What a project or program does and who it does with to achieve impact is called its Theory of Change (ToC). Programs with clear and plausible ToC are more likely to be supported, more likely to achieve impact, and easier to monitor. This workshop introduced participants to Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis as a way of articulating ToC, and using it in program planning and monitoring.

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