Asian Development Bank (ADB) will fund state-of-the-art riverbank protection measures in Bangladesh to prevent land erosion, which is destroying livelihoods and costing the economy an estimated $250m a year.
An ADB multi-tranche loan financing facility of $255m will help put in place riverbank protection structures and embankments along vulnerable portions of the Jamuna, Padma, and Ganges rivers – the country’s main waterways.
Low-lying Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to floods and erosion, with up to 6,000 hectares of land swallowed up annually, says a press release yesterday.
About 100,000 mostly poor rural people lose land, crops and even homes each year as a result.
“Sand-filled geotextile bags piled in layers will help prevent riverbank erosion more cheaply and more effectively than conventional structures using concrete or stones,” said Natsuko Totsuka, water specialist with ADB’s South Asia Department. “We have already tried out this technology with much success elsewhere in Bangladesh.”
The facility will also strengthen management of flood and erosion risks, and teach local communities to operate and maintain flood and riverbank protection infrastructure.
The first tranche loan of $65m will target badly needed structural and improvements in three high-priority areas. ADB will provide the remainder of the $255m in subsequent loan tranches.
On top of ADB’s funds, the government of the Netherlands will provide co-financing of $15.3m, with Bangladesh supplying counterpart funds of $103.4m for the investment program.
ADB also this week approved two separate loans to Bangladesh to modernize the country’s large irrigation systems and to protect coastal towns from the ravages of natural disasters and climate change.
A loan of $46m will help Bangladesh realize the full potential and sustainability of its large-scale irrigation schemes by upgrading aging infrastructure and transferring management and operations to private operators.
Another loan of $52m – supported by combined co-financing of $42m from the Strategic Climate Fund and the Water Financing Partnership Facility – will help eight vulnerable secondary coastal towns build up their climate resilience and provide examples for improved urban disaster preparedness.