Greater Dhaka has been a major engine of growth and prosperity in Bangladesh, representing more than 40% of Bangladesh’s national GDP. The Dhaka Sewage Master Plan (DSMP 2035) area has suffered alarming levels of environmental degradation, which was induced by the rapid growth of the poorly regulated export-based and local industry, agricultural run-off and an overall unplanned and
un-serviced urbanization. As a result, pollutant levels in the groundwater are increasing, and many sections of the rivers and canals in the city and surrounding areas, especially the Buriganga and Sitalakhya, are biologically dead during the dry
season, spurring widespread public concern over sustainability of Dhaka and promoting reaction at the highest political levels.
In the light of the challenges that Dhaka is facing with respect to untreated sewage, the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Dhaka WASA with World Bank/ International Development Association (IDA) support, developed the recently completed DSMP 2035. Its primary goal is to “reduce significantly, and, in the long-term, to eliminate the pollution arising from unhygienic disposal of wastewater, of all industrial, commercial and domestic origin, up to the planning horizon (2035)”. This partnership looked at addressing the sewage and waste water management primarily through public sector investments.
A high level Preliminary Market Assessment (PMA) exercise is being carried out which will lay the groundwork for an investment strategy for industrial and municipal Waste Water Treatment in the Greater Dhaka Watershed (GDW) which covers a geographical area of about 6,700 sq. km. The area includes the watercourses of Greater Dhaka plus the surrounding urbanized areas that are greatly influenced by industrialization. The PMA is being carried out in close collaboration with the relevant World Bank team.
The scoping exercise which will collect key information which will feed into the investment strategy and implementation plan for Waste Water Treatment solutions for the GDW and major WASAs. The PMA aims to provide input into a dialogue with the relevant authorities on the value proposition possibilities of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) or Private Sector Participation (PSP). The PPP/PSP concepts include a) commercial financing for both investments and operation; and b) private operations with public financing. Other options will also be explored which includes different ways to share risks among the public and private sectors.
92% of Bangladesh’s all water resources are external, i.e. entering Bangladesh via trans-boundary waters, resulting in high dependency and uncertainty on future water availability. A large part of the country also suffers from salinity intrusion in water. Of the water that is available, over 90 percent is used for agriculture. Irrigation efficiency in Bangladesh is the lowest in South Asia. Industries such as textile, leather, beverage, chemical, forest products, food manufacturing, utilities, paper products, etc. altogether consume significant amounts of groundwater and create large volumes of polluted discharge.
Water governance issues started getting attention some twenty years ago and a great deal of research and studies were conducted by different government and development agencies since then. However, the recommendations for reforms that resulted from such initiatives failed to get implemented for various reasons, including lack of broad consensus, inter-ministerial-agency coordination and private sector representation. Water Governance in Bangladesh has been the responsibility of a multitude of government bodies who have been largely unsuccessful in coordinated action so far.
The National Water Resource Council (NWRC) is composed of mostly government ministries and agencies and headed by the Prime Minister. Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) which is the secretariat to the NWRC and its Executive Committee (ECNWRC) has not been adequately resourced to perform as a regulatory agency. The first serious action taken by the agency was development of the Bangladesh Water Act (BWA) which was passed in 2013.
Improving inter-agency coordination is vital for the successful attainment of water reforms. Equally, the private sector plays an integral role in working towards sustainable water management, as not only they are a main water user, they also have the financial resources to have a significant impact on improving the water resources situation.
Given the increasing pressure on water resources, Bangladesh has welcomed the support of 2030 WRG. The government has acknowledged the value proposition of 2030 WRG’s unique multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP) approach which has been endorsement by the highest level of government (The Prime Minister of Bangladesh) to address the water security issues. 2030 WRG would ensure equal representation of the public, private and civil society to steer further work on identified priority areas.
The 2030 WRG, in consultation with the MSP has already adopted multi-focal short to mid-term strategies to tackle initially the most pressing governance challenges. The Water Governance and Sustainability Work-Stream (WGS) under supervision of the National Steering Board (NSB) of the MSP and Chaired by the Senior Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources of the Bangladesh has established two Task Forces (TFs), one each for (a) Institutional Reform and, (b) Economic Incentives for Sustainable Water Management, comprising of experienced sector professionals and stakeholders.
The MSP includes active representation of the private sector and business associations. Recommendations have been taken from the existing study and research work done by various research institutions, academia, donor agencies, and NGOs on how to improve aspects of the regulatory environment. 2030WRG has managed to mobilize stakeholders to take action based on those recommendations. The private sector’s regular and active participation has been instrumental in prioritizing challenging reform agenda items in the multi-stakeholder consultation sessions and thereby bringing in real value to the process.
The WGS work-stream through the two TFs have already developed two Concept Notes, on ‘Strengthening of Institutional Framework’ and ‘Economic Incentives’ for Sustainable Water Management which have been approved by the NSB, and which will now be developed into detailed proposals. The TFs will begin by building and establishment of broad consensus on the nature of the problems faced by the water sector by reviewing and validating the reasons for past failures of previous reform attempts and how they might be overcome. The actionable reforms which the TFs are expected to recommend will be based on a variety of institutional scenarios. This approach to selection of final recommendations is expected to produce maximum impact with least possible disruption.
2030 WRG will continue to promote multi-sector synergies to establish efficient, coordinated and sustainable partnerships, to address the growing concerns behind the long history of failed institutional reform in Bangladesh.
The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), together with European partners and the Paper Manufacturer’s Association, organized a first of its kind industry workshop in the northern town of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), September 6, 2016. The objective of the workshop was to share best practices from Europe and India, focussed to address the waste water challenges of the Hindon River, as a demonstration case for the Ganga Basin tributary approach that the 2030WRG is supporting in India.
The workshop brought together global and local experts to discuss the future needs for sustainable water reuse by the local paper and sugar industry.
Speaking about the success of the workshop, Mr. Pankaj Aggarwal, Chairman Muzzafarnagar Paper Manufacturers Association said: “The workshop provided an opportunity for local stakeholders in the water sector in Muzaffarnagar to engage with global experts in waste water treatment, share their challenges and showcase the progress being made in operating existing effluent treatment plants within the paper mills.”
The Ganga River Basin is one of the largest and most polluted river basins in the world today. Flowing through the Yamuna, into the Ganga River, the Hindon tributary is a major source of water for western U.P., India’s most populated state with over 200 million inhabitants. The 300 km long river is heavily polluted with untreated waste water from domestic and industrial sources that include nearly 300 paper and sugar mills. The National Green Tribunal has issued strict orders exhorting the state government to take immediate action to halt the pollution of Hindon River.
The EU has recently signed a MoU with the Government of India to share best practices, technologies and technical cooperation in the water sector. 2030 WRG is helping operationalize the EU-India Water Partnership by creating concrete linkages with stakeholders in the Hindon basin, specifically among European experts in water treatment technologies and processes, to address the challenges of industrial pollution in one of the most polluted towns of the Hindon basin.
Experts from India, including FICCI, close to 40 local paper and sugar mill owners, Council for Science and Industrial Research, India Water Partnership and SustainAsia shared experiences and challenges. European experts came from UNESCO-IHE, VITO from Belgium, the European Innovation Partnership on Water Reuse and Recycling, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and Institute of Ecopreneurship. Discussions revolved on leveraging the EU experiences to address the larger challenges facing the future growth and sustainability of the paper mills. Ideas were shared on how the paper industry could comply with the Indian Government’s ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ charter by April 2017 by reusing and recycling water, possibly for agricultural purposes. The Central Pollution Control Board, in consultation with the local industries, developed this charter to help reduce the untreated industrial discharge into the Ganga Basin.
As a follow up to the workshop 2030 WRG, the EU Indigo Policy project, FICCI and Muzaffarnagar Paper Manufacturer’s Association are developing a demonstration project to help reduce the industrial water consumption and discharge into the river. This project is expected to contribute to the wider knowledge base and industry responses from about 200 pulp and paper factories spread across the Ganga Basin. Lessons will apply to other industrial sectors that are facing stringent pollution control requirement.
An agreement with the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, signed in 2013, paved the way for 2030WRG to conduct a Hydro-Economic Analysis (HEA) to examine the water demand and supply in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Alarmingly, there is a projected water demand-supply gap by the year 2030 due to which, all the stakeholders have shown a sense of urgency to work together on this issue.
As per the analysis, with 43% of the total water demand (92 mn m3/yr) in Ulaanbaatar is estimated to not be met with given supplies in the high demand scenario. The Analysis brought about tremendous learnings regarding the situation, as it helped identify cost-effective water demand reduction solutions and water supply alternatives. The water supply and wastewater infrastructure is in need of a major overhaul in order to meet the current demand and protect the environment.
In the current scenario, Wastewater reuse has been shown to be less expensive than primary supply augmentation, particularly where wastewater network systems and treatment plants are planned and designed for reuse in this region. Wastewater reuse was included as a measure in the Ulaanbaatar City Master Plan 2030.
Various stakeholders such as Ulaanbaatar Development Corporation (UBDC), National Secretariat of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Invest Mongolia Agency are currently exploring projects and programs for wastewater reuse in the city, and are considering Public Private Partnership (PPP) amongst other options. With the planned upgradation and capacity augmentation of the Centralized Wastewater Treatment Plant (CWWTP) in Ulaanbaatar with tertiary-level water treatment, there is significant potential for re-using treated wastewater.
As per our country representative, Dorjsuren Dechinlkhundev, “Working on waste water reuse for Ulaanbaatar is critical as the demand of water is drastically expanding. Every day, the effluence of treated but polluted waste water from old and outdated waste water treatment facilities into the Tuul is polluting the river and threatening the environment (downstream). Reusing waste water is essential to the development of industry clusters in the region and surroundings.”
A concept note on 2030 WRG working to achieve substantially more municipal wastewater reuse in Ulaanbaatar, particularly by industry, through the development of a comprehensive policy framework, developing capacity, and facilitating the setting up of processes and mechanisms to implement relevant wastewater reuse projects has been developed and accepted by the Steering board of the 2030WRG on 6 October 2016.
The Policy Document aims to synthesize global best practices, applicable to Ulaanbaatar. The focus is to develop a targeted policy that provides incentives for wastewater use. Many industrial operations are able to access water from other alternatives and cost considerations relate to the tariff for water supply. Therefore, whereas the policy enforcement as well as a higher cost per unit of water within the city could be a deterrent, a realistic solution could consider some form of incentive mechanism as well. The policy aims to bring together wastewater producers (STPs) and off-takers of treated wastewater like the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, UB City Govenor’s Office, Ulaanbaatar Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, large-scale industries and industrial zones/estates.
A project Facility is envisioned in the concept note, to develop transactional capacity amongst the relevant government departments to conceptualize and negotiate wastewater reuse initiatives, design transactions and implement PPP projects. The Facility will also structure appropriate financing mechanisms.
After receiving a positive response from the local stakeholders on its approach, 2030 WRG is conducting a high-level overview assessment of the Vietnam water sector.
The assessment will cover the overall water resources situation, including a high-level water demand-supply analysis and identify solutions required to optimize the use of water. It will also cover mapping of stakeholders/ Institutional arrangements. Further, the assessment will evaluate existing and upcoming funding models to close the water gap.Vietnam is among the top five countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Vietnam has 2360 rivers. The country’s river network includes several international rivers. Two thirds of Vietnam’s water originates outside the country. Sustainable water management is fast on the rise driven by dramatic increases in water demand from growing urbanization, agriculture and industrial growth, combined with pollution from untreated waste water as a key issue in Vietnam’s socio-economic development.
In Vietnam, 2030 WRG aims to accelerate water sector transformation with regard to water security for long-term economic growth, environmental as well as domestic needs
and shared prosperity, with a focus on improved demand-side management involving public, private and civil society stakeholders across agriculture, industry and urban development.
A kick-off workshop on a high-level Vietnam Water Sector Analysis, was convened by Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (“MARD”) and 2030 Water Resources Group (“2030WRG”) on October 14th, 2016. The workshop was a small roundtable of 12-15 participants, focused on structuring
a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board of to guide next steps of the Analysis. The discussion focused on key Vietnam water sector challenges and priorities, including private sector perspectives, which are being prioritized under 2030WRG’s Vietnam Water Partnership.
After the analysis is done and based on response from various stakeholder, 2030 Water Resource Group will build up a Multistakeholder process and structure thematic work streams to tackle key issues.
In Baghpat the District Magistrate and Chief Development Officer spearheaded a Water Walk on 9 September,2016 attended by more than 2000 youth. Mr. Rajendra Singh, Waterman of India and Stockholm Water Prize Laureate 2015 was special guest at the Hindon Yatra Exhibition & Symposium held in his ancestral town. Youth demonstrated their environmental awareness and concern with the water situation in the Hindon basin. In a technical discussion chaired by District Magistrate and moderated by 2030 Water Resources Group in the afternoon, many good practice examples were presented and constructive suggestions were made to improve the situation and work towards a healthier water system. For example, Mr. Vinod Saini, a progressive farmer from Meerut district said, “It is essential to reduce the use of chemical fertilizer, in place of which a natural vermi compost fertilizer can be used.” Farmers from Baghpat may attend a training in organic farming which will be organized by Jal Biradari Meerut. Another suggestion was to make a cropping map and encourage farmers to conserve water either by changing the cropping cycle or increasing water use efficiency.
Photos from the Baghpat event
Read the minutes from the Baghpat event
Impact Driven Partnerships for Ganga Tributary Rejuvenation
Replicating and scaling up success stories from the participatory Hindon Basin approach
The 2030 Water Resources Group, India Water Partnership, FICCI, Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan, Millennium Alliance and the Government of Netherlands organized a symposium and exhibition on ‘Impact Driven Partnerships for Ganga Tributary Rejuvenation – Replicating and scaling up success stories from the participatory Hindon Basin approach’ in Delhi on 23 November 2016. The workshop brought together 75 water experts from different tributaries of the Ganga basin, including Hindon, Ramganga and Yamuna. Participants included NGOs, industries, research organizations, donors, state and central government representatives including Mr. UP Singh, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga.
“The symposium showcased multi-stakeholder approaches to rejuvenate part of the Ganga River Basin based on a tributary approach, with a particular focus on the Hindon River in Uttar Pradesh, one of the most polluting tributaries of the Ganga”, said Mr Anders Berntell, Executive Director, 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG).
The Hindon River Rejuvenation Partnership is a transformational program with significant community involvement. The partnership is working with the divisional administration, local industry representatives, and civil society; encouraging stakeholders to collectively identify opportunities and solutions to water challenges. The Hindon basin has a population of about 10 million people. The program was initiated in 2015 by a civil society movement led by Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan under the leadership of Rajendra Singh, Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. Several practitioners from across the Hindon basin traveled to Delhi to share their experiences, innovations and project ideas for river rejuvenation. These ranged from NGOs working on organic farming from seed to market, water literacy, river encroachment; to passionate government officials promoting the “make in Hindon’ brand and; technology companies wanting to test bioremediation solutions in small tributaries.
“The biggest achievement of the Hindon Yatra has been the stakeholder participation without any incentive to them. Over the course of the past year, 2030 WRG and India Water Partnership have documented best practices of local stakeholders across the seven districts of the Hindon Basin, developed a vision for its rejuvenation and gathered project proposals from NGOs, industries, universities, farmers and local authorities to jointly clean the river. Initial estimates indicate it will require a package of measures and resources in the urban, industrial, agricultural and environmental sectors to rejuvenate the river” said Dr Veena Khanduri, Executive Secretary, India Water Partnership.
The 2030 WRG signed a memorandum of understanding with the Millennium Alliance (MA) to catalyze seed funding for projects. The MA is a national platform supported by donors and private partners to identify, test, award and scale innovations which bring improvements at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). As a first step in this bold journey, Mr Nirankar Saxena, Senior Director, FICCI and MA Head said, “we are proud to announce that the Millennium Alliance will provide seed funding for innovative businesses with social and environmental impact for the Hindon and other river basins under a targeted call for River Rejuvenation as part of our Water & Sanitation focus area.”
“FICCI, along with partners, is playing a critical role in mobilizing global and local expertise to address industrial and municipal waste water treatment, critical to addressing India’s water and sanitation challenges today. I hope we all will sow a million seeds with the participatory multi-stakeholder approach among those who are coming forward” said Ms Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairman, FICCI Water Mission.
Respected Swamini Adityananda Saraswati, Director Programmes, Policy and Development, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, Ganga Action Parivar and National Ganga Rights Movement, Parmarth Niketan stressed on the ‘Tragedy of Commons’ related to the river issues and emphasized the need for collaboration. Dr. Bindu Dey, Secretary, Technology Development Board, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India laid emphasis on why we all should move from ‘I to We’. They both also highlighted the importance of defining the intervening pathways, sustainable behavioral change, capacity building and access to technology.
Efforts are underway, to mobilize additional resources from government, private sector and donors to help rejuvenate the river to reach a level suitable for bathing by 2030. It is hoped that this model will be replicated across other tributaries in the Ganga basin and beyond through multi-stakeholder partnerships and collective action.
The Kenya 2030 WRG and Water Services Regulatory Board, in collaboration with USAID, World Bank Group and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands sponsored the “Investing in the Water Sector” investors’ forum to provide an opportunity for local commercial banks and institutional investors to learn more about the rapidly evolving changes and progress in investment in the Kenyan water sector.
The forum brought together a select group of water service providers, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, development partners, regulators, as well as a cross section of the investment community representatives from banks, pension funds and insurance companies. The discussion highlighted the sector’s readiness and specific upcoming opportunities to embrace private sector investments through commercial loans, pooled funds, single issuer bonds and special purpose vehicles and encouraged commercial and institutional investors to take up the challenge.
Following a Kenya 2030 WRG-sponsored session on “Opportunities for Investing in Irrigation” on 23 November during Kenya Water Week, the partnership convened its first multi-stakeholder session lead by the State Department of Irrigation to discuss development of a financial solution in partnership with government, farmers, banking institutions, aggregators and equipment providers to encourage more lending to commercial smallholder farmers and prove market readiness.
For more information on the roundtable discussions, please click here.
To read a related opinion piece authored by Working Group Chair and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Patrick Mwangi, please click here.
In Muzaffarnagar, central government representatives attended a high-level symposium on Saturday 27th of August. The Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Dr. Sanjeev Baliyan apprised the audience about his affection to Hindon River from his childhood days, being from Muzaffarnagar’s constituency. He wholeheartedly promised to extend all possible help to restore the lost glory of the Hindon, Kali and other water bodies in this region. The Chairman of the Municipal Council, Mr. Pankaj Aggarwal showed dedication to execute several waste water treatment and solid waste management projects which are partially already on the way to improve the water quality in Kali River, which is one of the polluting tributaries of Hindon River. Ms. Sonia Luthra of the Art of Living moderated the event and she also promoted a solution to reducing water pollution through organic farming and the application of enzymes. afternoon sessions, partially in presence of the Minister himself, a list of nine project ideas has been compiled for Muzaffarnagar.
As a result of intense and sincere deliberations during the afternoon sessions, partially in presence of the Minister himself, a list of nine project ideas has been compiled for Muzaffarnagar.
Photos from the Muzaffarnagar event
- Read the minutes from the Muzaffarnagar event