jamuna-meghna river erosion mitigation project, bangladesh

CLIENT: Asian Development Bank and Bangladesh Water Development Board

Bangladesh is home to over 148 million people, making it the 8th most populous country in the world. Situated alongside dynamic river processes, this nation inhabits land that is perennially battling the effects of riverbank erosion, forcing over 100,000 people to adapt to resettlement, economic losses, and changes in the physical landscape.

As a result, the Asian Development Bank and the Bangladesh Water Development Board awarded NHC a contract to establish cost-effective and sustainable riverbank protection along two large irrigation projects affected by the widening of the large rivers in Bangladesh. The developed solution consisted of a number of management tools supported by institutional and financial measures.

Key management tools included:

  • Erosion prediction based on the analysis of satellite images, and the design development of low-cost sand-filled geotextile bag (geobag) revetments;
  • Standardized implementation based on new guidelines for riverbank protection, established in cooperation with the Bangladesh University for Engineering and Technology;
  • Phased implementation consisting of provisional emergency protection, main protection, and adaptive protection to greater depth after continued erosion; and,
  • Regular river surveys (monitoring) and evaluation of results, providing the basis for the adaptation of existing work.

Of particular note was the innovative design development of the geobag revetments. These economical tools were implemented at $2M US per kilometer, as opposed to earlier works that cost $12M to $30M US per kilometer. By designing and developing such a cost effective solution, these tools were able to easily support Bangladesh's nationwide strategy to counter the widening effects of the large rivers. The success of this project has resulted in the recognition of NHC's work in numerous publications.