Fall 2001

 Performance Of Rubber Dam Projects In Bangladesh

Syed Ferdous Raihan Kirmany, Abdullah Al Mehdi


Bangladesh is a land of rivers. There are hundreds of big and small rivers crisscrossed in the delta shape low land area. Though Bangladesh is a low land area, water from the neighboring countries flow over the land towards the Bay of Bengal each year. Different types of hydraulic structures are installed for the utilization of the water for various purposes such as irrigation, hydro-electricity etc, for a long time. Among them rubber dam structure is newly introduced for specific location.

The implementation period of rubber dam is short due to simplicity in the construction work. Its development cost is low compared to traditional water retention structures and it also does not have adverse environmental impacts.

This study is concerned with the feasibility and performance of rubber dam projects implemented in specific locations of Bangladesh. For achieving this goal, the performance of three rubber dams namely Idgaon, Bakkhali and Bhogai rubber dam project have been evaluated.                    

The evaluation includes all the engineering, agricultural, environmental and organizational functions. Engineering evaluation involved identification of construction, operation and maintenance problems and mitigation measures. Agricultural evaluation involved assessment of impacts on irrigated area, cropping intensity and yield. Environmental evaluation involved evaluation of impacts on fisheries, drought, water logging, and ground water table and boat communication. Organizational evaluation involved evaluation of organizational set-up including peoples participation and operation and mainline cost recovery of the projects.

The study was carried out through collection of both primary and secondary data and information from the project beneficiaries, adversely affected local people and the service providers.

The cost-benefit results of the three rubber dam projects are quite satisfactory. The major findings of this research work are the rubber dam projects are facing problems in design, site selection, sedimentation and operational and that should be mitigated by careful monitoring. Such as, in the Bakkhali Rubber Dam project design and site selection are two crucial sectors for which the project is not in action at present. The operation and maintenance committee of this project work gently and the rubber bags needed some repair. The Idgaon Rubber Dam Project is working efficiently. It may be considered as the most ideal project among the rubber dam projects till now. No problem found in the O & M sector. There is some sedimentation in the rubber dam site but most of it washes away by the flash flood. In Bhogai Rubber Dam Project, political interference and lack of motivation of the local beneficiaries make the projectís OMC inactive. Moreover in the project site sedimentation is huge which is not desirable. But all the projects have positive agricultural impact. They increase the irrigated area and yield of crops. Necessary action and more motivation to local people under guidance of LGED will make the entire rubber dam projects much productive in the economy of this country.