Implementation and evaluation of community water management at the sub-polder scale for increased land and water productivity and improved livelihoods in the coastal zone of Bangladesh
The polder ecosystems of the coastal zone of Bangladesh are home to millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable rural people. Their main source of food security is a single, low yielding rainy season rice crop. However, there are tremendous opportunities to increase the productivity of the land and water resources within the polders. Therefore, this project seeks to demonstrate and evaluate a novel approach for improving water management for more resilient, productive and diverse cropping systems, and for sustainably improving water governance and equity in water use. It will do this by implementing a pilot project in a sub-polder (an independent watershed with a main khal and sluice gate, ~500 ha) of polder 30. The pilot will include improvement of water management infrastructure inside the sub-polder, delineation of WMUs (50-100 ha) within the sub-polder based on system hydrology and community preferences, community empowerment for leading water management decisions in the WMUs and sub-polder, and farmer participatory implementation of improved water management (mainly improved drainage, limited irrigation) and cropping system options in two pilot WMUs. While the cultivation of agricultural crops is mostly done by men, the project includes two main gender and equity activities around: (i) getting a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of both women and men in the management of land and water resources, and (ii) development of livelihood opportunities for women that arise with improved agricultural water management. IWMI will lead the social and economic impact assessment component in that project.