Govt, ADB ink $13.5 mln loan deal to improve irrigation management

Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday signed a $13.5 million additional loan agreement to improve management, operation, and maintenance of large-scale irrigation schemes and protect productive lands from flooding.

The additional loan will scale up the ongoing $46 million Irrigation Management Improvement Project, according to a press release.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) secretary Fatima Yasmin and ADB Country Director Edimon Ginting virtually signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively.

The project will repair 17 kilometers of coastal embankment and re-excavate over 400 kilometers of canal drains.

By 2024, it will increase dry-season irrigation area under the Muhuri irrigation system by 60% to 18,000 hectares.

The average yield of irrigated winter paddy (boro) is expected to increase to 4 tons from 3 tons in 2013.

The project will ensure employment of at least 2 percent women as pump operators, 5 percent as mobile water unit vendors, and 5 percent women as construction workers, said the release.

The assistance supports improvement of climate resilience by promoting improved flood protection, reservoir management, and water use efficiency.

Country Director Edimon Ginting said that the assistance will help manage the effects of water abundance and scarcity by improving irrigation management and infrastructure.

“To promote sustainability in water sector, this project will foster private sector participation by transferring management, operation, and maintenance of irrigation schemes from government departments to private operators,” he said.

He also mentioned that it will also introduce innovative infrastructure modernization, such as replacing diesel motor pumps with electric pumps, developing highly efficient buried-pipe tertiary distribution systems, and installing prepaid card meter systems.

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