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Governance status in water management institutions in Barind Tract, Northwest Bangladesh: an assessment based on stakeholder’s perception

Abstract

In Bangladesh, the approach of water sector emphasises on the agenda like infrastructural development to meet the needs, neglecting governance issues in the water management institutions (WMIs) to achieve their sustainable development. However, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) is committed to work for SDG 2030 by addressing good governance issues in all sphere of its activities. In this context, present study is undertaken to assess the existing water governance status of the WMIs like the Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA); the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB); the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE); and the Local Government and Engineering Department (LGED) as government agencies; and Development Association for Self-reliance, Communication and Health (DASCOH) is a non-government and non-profit organization selected purposively based on their activities in water sector in the drought-prone water scarce Barind Tract in the north-western part of country. The methodology for governance status assessment includes both quantitative and qualitative approaches; and eight indicators like institutions, transparency, accountability, participation, social equity, environmental integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness are taken into consideration where each indicator includes five sub-indicators. Considering individual performance, the assessment indicated that DASCOH Foundation performs ‘good’, BMDA and LGED show ‘moderate’, while BWDB and DPHE exhibited ‘bad’ performance. However, the overall governance status of WMIs falls under ‘moderate’ category. This result indicates that BWDB and DPHE should look into the governance issue seriously and take a rigorous action plan for its scaling up. On the other hand, BMDA and LGED should be careful about the indicators like transparency, accountability, participation, and social equity. The DASCOH Foundation is performing well by introducing noble concepts to institutionalise the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) under BWA (2013). Finally, there exist gap in governance issues of WMIs in coordination, technical capacity, and transparency in project selection, implementation, and citizen’s participation which should be considered seriously in managing water resources in sustainable manner.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would you like to acknowledge the generous support of the DASCOH Foundation, Rajshahi, Bangladesh; Swiss Red Cross (SRC), Bangladesh; Swiss Agency for International Development (SDC) for carrying out this research.

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Correspondence to Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan.

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Islam, M., Jahan, C.S., Rahaman, M. et al. Governance status in water management institutions in Barind Tract, Northwest Bangladesh: an assessment based on stakeholder’s perception. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 6, 21 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40899-020-00371-1

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Keywords

  • Water governance
  • WMIs
  • Stakeholder perception
  • Barind tract
  • Bangladesh