The project named Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program is a preliminary master plan, which was discussed yesterday at a workshop held at Dhaka's Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.
According to the draft plan, the project will reduce flood risk through the construction of embankments which ultimately protect livelihoods and land.
At the same time, it will reclaim around 150,000 hectares of eroded land which is enough to settle at least 1.8 million people.
“The idea of stabilising rivers through embankment protection is urgent for the country as the unstable situation has already created a huge loss of land and livelihood by flood and erosion,” said Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud yesterday at a workshop organised by Bangladesh Water Development Board.
The Jamuna and the Padma Rivers cover 340 kilometres of the total 350 kilometres long Brahmaputra dominated river system in Bangladesh.
According to data, both the rivers have widened by around 50% between 1960 and 2000s due to erosion.
As per the draft plan, the width of the Jamuna River could be reduced to 7.5 kilometres by 2030 from 11.6 kilometres estimated in 2015, which will help reclaim 87,000 hectares of land.
At the same time, the width of Padma River could be reduced to5.3 kilometres by 2030 from the width of 10.6 kilometres in 2015, while the figure of the land reclamation will be 42,000 hectares.
The Jamuna is a naturally braided river which has a number of channels while the Padma moves in curves and less channels.
The progamme will include different types of intervention including river training and dredging.
The river training works will cover 95% of the total length of the river, which means that roughly 50% of each riverbank will be left in its natural state.
“Dredging pertains to a combination of imposing an initial meandering channel between controlled bends, navigation dredging and dredging during construction if river training works,” the draft reads.
The total estimated cost of the programme is US$5 billion.