Beel Sukunia is part of seven sub-projects selected for rehabilitation and improved water management subject to a feasibility study under the Southwest Area Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management Project financed by the ADB, the Government of the Netherlands and the Government of Bangladesh.
The gross area of Beel Sukunia measures 9,681 ha, the net cultivated area 7,933 ha. The area is cultivated mainly with rice, jute, pulses, oil crops, wheat and vegetables by smallholders. The average land holding is 0.4 ha. The cropping intensity at present is 206%. Due to non-functional regulators the area suffers from annual flooding affecting some 3,900 ha mainly cultivated area.
Rehabilitation of the sub-project would involve rehabilitation or reconstruction of 3 regulators, construction of 3 additional structures of which 1 regulator 2 pipe outlets, excavation of 24.95 km existing channels and strengthening of some 18 km of degraded embankment. Further, offices and tube wells will be constructed for each of the 17 WMGs which will be established in the sub-project area. The total investment base costs of civil works are estimated at Tk. 1,750 lac. The annual O&M costs of the rehabilitated system are estimated at Tk. 56 lac, to be shared by BWDB and farmers on an 80/20% bases.
To ensure proper water management and increase food production a capacity building and training program will have to be implemented. It is envisaged that WMGs, associated in one or two WMAs, will take over water management from BWDB and beneficiaries need to be trained in O&M. The training of staff and WMGs on formation, organizational development and participation in construction and O&M comes at Tk. 63 lac.
Apart from capacity building in O&M farmers will have to receive training and support in improving and sustaining agriculture, fisheries and livelihood. Training will include class room training, demonstrations, Farmers/Fisheries Field Schools and excursions as well as refresher courses for farmers (male and female) in each of the 17 WMGs. The total capacity building and investment costs for agricultural are estimated at Tk. 90.21 lac; for fisheries Tk.122.70 lac. and gender and livelihood the cost estimate is Tk. 85.20 lac.
The rehabilitation of the sub-project will have a major impact on agriculture and fisheries and to a lesser extent on environment. Due to the elimination of annual floods a more diversified cropping pattern and higher cropping intensity (236%) is expected. However, the extent and income of capture fisheries will substantially be reduced (- Tk. 179 lac). On the other hand, the expected increase in culture fisheries (Tk.301 lac) will not only compensate these losses but will also facilitate increase in overall net production.
An Initial Environmental Study was carried out. There were no major negative environmental constraints observed, although the interventions will have a substantial impact on nature, agriculture and fisheries due to the absence of annual flooding. With respect to nature it is considered that the sub-project will be brought back to its 1980 status.
Costs and benefits of the proposed interventions were assessed and analysed. The B/C ratios for the financial and economic analyses are 1.81 and 2.98 respectively. The economic and financial internal rates of return (EIRR and FIRR) were found to be 28.47% and 19.99%, respectively. The sensitivity analysis showed that with an assumed 25% increase in investment cost, a 25% decrease in benefits, and a lag in implementation of 1 year that the EIRR in all cases is higher compared to the opportunity cost of capital 12%.The calculated IRR is a conservative estimation taking into account only the agricultural and fisheries benefits.
The project is technically feasible, economically viable, financially profitable, socially acceptable and environmental-friendly. Considering the importance of people’s livelihood and improved water management leading to more profitable and sustainable crop production, this project is being recommended for implementation.