A stakeholder consultation workshop on the decision support system for the water resources sector in Bangladesh was organized by the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) on Sunday, July 24, 2022 at the office of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) in Dhaka.
The event, which brought together key actors involved in water resources study and management in the country, had two objectives: 1) to present the findings from a technical review and user needs assessment (UNA) conducted by RIMES on current capacities and gaps in climate-informed planning and decision-making in the water sector as part of the preparatory work for the development of a decision support system (DSS) under Component 1 of the Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia (CARE) Project, and 2) to gather feedback on the design of the proposed DSS.
Mr. Raihanul Haque Khan (Country Coordinator, RIMES-Bangladesh) and Dr. Mizanur Rahman (Sectoral Expert-Water Resources, RIMES) explained the results of the technical review of the sector and the outcomes of the UNA, respectively, and discussed the implications of these in DSS design.
In his speech at the occasion, BWDB Director General Engineer Fazlur Rashid talked about the impacts of climate change on water resources and the potential benefits of a water sector-specific DSS. He also commended RIMES’ effort to incorporate multi-stakeholder perspectives in its assessments and emphasized continuance of the same participatory approach throughout DSS development to ensure the final model’s applicability and usability.
Present also to express interest in the CARE project and commitment to providing support in DSS development were Executive Engineer Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan (Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre/FFWC, Bangladesh); Dr. Shamal Chandra Das (Chief Engineer, Planning, BWDB); and Dr. Zia Uddin Baig PEng., ADG (Planning, Design & Research, BWDB). The rest of the attendees included representatives from relevant government agencies, such as the BWDB; Department of Agricultural Extension; Bangladesh Meteorological Department; Water Resources Planning Organization; and the Planning Commission; as well as members of the academe and civil society organizations.
Following the presentations, workshop participants weighed in with their observations and suggested features that may be integrated towards improving the proposed DSS. The recommendations and priorities identified in this consultation shall help inform the DSS developers’ next steps.