The Ministry of Water Resources is the apex body of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh for development and management of the whole water resources of the country. It formulates policies, plans, strategies, guidelines, instructions and acts, rules, regulations, etc. relating to the development and management of water resources, and regulation and control of the institutions reporting to it. It prepares and implements development projects relating to flood control and drainage (FCD); flood control, drainage and irrigation (FCDI); riverbank erosion control; delta development and land reclamation; etc. and provides irrigation, drainage, flood protection, bank erosion protection, land reclamation facilities by constructing barrages, regulators, sluices, canals, cross-dams, embankments and sea-dykes along the banks of the rivers and the coast, etc.
The Ministry, through its implementing arm -the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), implements the FCD/FCDI and other development projects. It also collects, processes, stores and disseminates hydrological and hydraulic data and information through BWDB. It provides flood forecasting and warning information through Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (FFWC) of BWDB. The Ministry prepared the Guidelines for Participatory Water Management (GPWM) and that is being widely followed by the stakeholders at all levels.
The Ministry through its macro-planning arm –the Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) prepared National Water Policy, the Coastal Zone Policy, National Water Resources Database (NWRD), National Water Management Plan (NWMP) and Integrated Coastal Resources Database (ICRD). Data can be collected from WARPO for nominal charges.
The Ministry has also research and coordinating institutions such as River Research Institute (RRI) responsible for physical and mathematical water modeling; Bangladesh Haor and Wetland Development Board (BHWDB) for the development of haors and wetlands. The Joint Rivers Commission, Bangladesh acts as the secretariat of the Ministry for dealing with the sharing and management of the waters of the trans-boundary rivers. The Ministry has two public trusty organizations such as Institute of Water Modeling for mathematical water modeling; and Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) for integrated environmental analysis using GIS, remote sensing (RS), database and IT.
Other principal activities of the Ministry include expansion of irrigated areas, water conservation, surface and groundwater use, estuary control, anti-salinity measures and anti-desertification activities, re-excavation of canals and rehabilitation of embankments, international cooperation, liaison with the international organizations, processing matters relating to treaties and agreements with other countries and world bodies in the field of water development and management.
According to the National Water Policy, 1999 the Ministry is responsible for formulation of a framework for institutional reforms to guide all water sector related activities and will:
exercise water allocation power in identified scarcity zones on the basis of specified priorities and determine the priority for allocating water during critical periods;
sustain shallow groundwater aquifers, regulating the extraction of water in identified scarcity zones with full public knowledge;
prepare specific drought monitoring and contingency plans for each region experiencing recurrent seasonal shortage of water etc;
empower local government or any other body, to allocate water in scarcity zones during periods of severe drought, monitor the water regimes and enforce the regulations etc;
confer water rights on private and community bodies to provide secure, defensible and enforceable rights to ground/surface water etc;
ensure the minimum requirement of stream-flows for maintaining the conveyance of the channel.
The Ministry of Water Resources is a development ministry. The Ministry has 4 wings namely Development Wing responsible for preparation, implementation and monitoring of the aided projects; Planning Wing responsible for processing of all projects for approval by the Planning Commission and preparation, implementation and monitoring of projects solely funded by GoB, and release of all funds of the development projects under ADP; Administrative Wing responsible for the administration of the Ministry and the organizations reporting to it; and Budget & Audit wing.