Development of Sundarbans through Estuary Management for Augmenting Freshwater Supply, Improved Drainage and Reduced Bank Erosion

  • N. K. TyagiEmail author
  • H. S. Sen
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 30)


The Sundarbans delta is a fragile ecosystem facing the multiple hazards in the forms of increased flooding, shrinking & sinking, and acute shortage of freshwater, all of them constraining the economic development. Based on the extensive review, partial or complete closure of estuaries for creation of freshwater reservoir, beel management in tidal rivers (TRM) to reduce drainage congestion, and managed realignment of embankments for re-naturalizing the low-lying areas are identified as scientific knowledge-based interventions to ease the development constraints. The important pre-closure investigations and prospective locations for initiating the estuary-closure in Sundarbans are described. The concept of tidal river management (TRM), the new name for an old practice, and the experiences of TRM in Bangladesh, are briefly elucidated. In India, the idea of creating a freshwater storage by damming Saptamukhi river or elsewhere, using suitable state of the art technology through phased development, which is likely to reduce the vulnerability of Sundarbans to natural hazards, needs a serious re-look. Finally, the concept of managed realignment of estuary embankment and the need for such realignments in Sundarbans in order to minimize embankment failure, which causes immense damage in the region, is discussed.


Sundarbans Estuary management Beel Embankments Morphodynamical behaviour Realignment Equilibrium 


  1. ADB (Asian Development Bank) (2007) Project performance and evaluation report on Khulna-Jessore drainage rehabilitation project. Operations Evaluations Department, Manila, The Philippines. Available on
  2. Amir I, Khan MSI, Khan MSA et al (2013) Tidal river sediment management – A case study in Southwestern Bangladesh. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology. Int J Environ Chem Ecol Geol Geophys Eng 7(3):176–185Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous (1999) Drainage aggravation and salt balance modelling in fresh water reservoir. Final Report, Specific Studies, Volume vi: Kalpsar GKDP, Narmda. Water Resources and Water Supply Department, Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, p 211. Available on
  4. Anonymous (2013) Development of Sundarbans through engineering interventions. Summary Recommendations, Engineers Conclave 2013, New Delhi, 17th–19th September 2013.Google Scholar
  5. Asha C, Suson P, Retina C et al (2014) Decline in diversity and production of exploited fishery resources in Vembanad wetland system: strategies for better management and conservation. Open J Mar Sci 4:344–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhattacharya S, Pethick J, Sen Sarma K (2013) Managerial response to sea level rise in the tidal estuaries of the Indian Sundarbans: a geomorphological approach. Water Policy 15(S1):51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bosco DL, Piper DJW, Fader GBJ (1992) Application of high-quality bathymetry to geological interpretation on the Scotian shelf. J Geol Assoc Canada 19(1):1–9Google Scholar
  8. CEGIS (Center for Geographic Information Services) (1998) Environmental and social impact assessment of Khulna Jessore drainage rehabilitation project (KJDRP). Report available through CEGISGoogle Scholar
  9. Crowley WP (1968) Global numerical ocean model: part 1. J Computational Phy 3:111–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Danda AA, Sriskanthan G, Ghosh A et al (2011) Indian Sundarbans delta: a vision. World Wide Fund for Nature-India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  11. Dandekar P, Thakur H (2014) Shrinking and sinking of deltas: a measure role of dams in delta subsidence and effective sea level rise. South Asia network on dams, rivers and people (SANDRP), p 17. Available on Scholar
  12. de Die Leendert (2013) Temporary depoldering to mitigate drainage congestion in the southwest delta of Bangladesh. Minor thesis, Water Resources Management, submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Science. International Land and Water Management at Wageningen University, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  13. Delft Hydraulics (1968) Sundarban delta project phase 1, Report submitted, Rivers Research Institute, Government of West Bengal, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  14. Gao S, Collins M (1994) Tidal inlet equilibrium in relation to cross sectional area and sediment transport patterns. Estuar Coas Mari Sci 38:157–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. GoB (Government of Bangladesh) (2015) Bangladesh delta plan 2100. Formulation project: coast and polder issues, Baseline Study. General Economics Division Planning Commission, Dhaka, 2015. Available on
  16. GoG (Government of Gujarat) (1999) KALPASAR Gulf of Khambhat Development Project. Specific studies, Summary and Reappraisal Report, p 91. Available on
  17. Ha JW, Eo DD, Kim K et al (2010) Final closure of Saemanangeun tidal dike, South Korea. Proc Inst Civ Eng Marit Eng 163(4):147–156Google Scholar
  18. Hazra S, Ghosh T, Dasgupta R et al (2002) Sea level and associated changes in the Sundarbans. Sci Culture 68(9–12):309–321Google Scholar
  19. IWM (Institute for Water Modelling) (2012) Monitoring and evaluation of the hydrological and conditions of rivers and drainage problems of beels in the KJDRP area for the planning of drainage improvement measures. Available in WOTRO library, Irrigation and Water Engineering group, Wageningen University ( Scholar
  20. IWM (Institute of Water Modeling) (2010) Feasibility study and detailed engineering design for long term solution of drainage problems in the Bhabodah Area. IWM and Development Design II Consultant Limited. Available in WOTRO library, Irrigation and Water Engineering group, Wageningen University ( Scholar
  21. Jin G, Onodera S, Saito M et al (2016) Vertical distribution of sediment phosphorus in Lake Hachirogata related to the effect of land reclamation on phosphorus accumulation. Environ Tech 37(4):486–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kawser MA, Samad MA (2016) Political history of Farakka barrage and its effects on environment in Bangladesh. Bandung: J Glob South 3:16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Khadim F, Kar K, Halder P et al (2013) Integrated water resources management (IWRM) impacts in south west coastal zone of Bangladesh and fact-finding on Tidal River management (TRM). J Water Resour Prot 5(10):953–961. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Khan SR, Islam MB (2008) Holocene stratigraphy of the lower Ganges–Brahmaputra river delta in Bangladesh. Front Earth Sci China 2(4):393–399. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kibria Z (2011) Tidal river management (TRM): climate change adaptation and community based river basin management in southwest coastal region of Bangladesh. Uttaran, Dhaka. Available via
  26. Komol MKU (2011) Numerical simulation of tidal level at selected coastal area of Bangladesh. MS thesis, Department of Water Resources Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, p 110. Available on /123456789/150/Full%20Thesis.pdf
  27. LeConte LJ (1905) Discussion on river and harbor outlets, “Notes on the improvement of river and harbor outlets in the United States,” Paper no. 1009, by DA. Watts, Trans, ASCE 55, pp 306–308Google Scholar
  28. Leggett DJ, Cooper N, Harvey R (2004) Coastal and estuarine managed realignments: design issues. CIRIA, London. Available on
  29. Lonnquest J, Toussaint B, Jr JM, Erstsen M (eds) (2014) Two centuries of experience in water resources management: a Dutch and U S retrospective. Institute of Water Resources, US Corps of Army Engineers, and Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Alexndria, USAGoogle Scholar
  30. Morris RKA (2013) Managed realignment as a tool for compensatory habitat creation: a re-appraisal. Ocean Coast Manag 73:82–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. O’Brien MP (1931) Estuary tidal prisms related to entrance area. Civ Eng ASCE 1(8):738–739Google Scholar
  32. O’Brien MP (1969) Equilibrium flow-areas of inlets on sandy coasts. Proceedings ASCE, J Waterways and Harbours Div 95, WN 1 Feb., pp 43–52Google Scholar
  33. O’Brien MP (1976) Notes on tidal inlets on sandy shores. General investigation of tidal inlets report no. 5, Vicksburg, MS: US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment StationGoogle Scholar
  34. Rahman A (1995) The environmental consequences of a development disaster. The University Press Limited, DhakaGoogle Scholar
  35. Rahman MZ, Islam MS, Khan ZH (2013) Tidal River management (TRM)-an innovative scientific approach for sustainable sediment management. International conference on recent innovation in civil engineering for sustainable development, Paper ID: WRE-029Google Scholar
  36. Riebeek H (2010) Unusually intense monsoon rains. Earth Observatory, NASA. 3 August 2010. Available via Accessed 3 Oct 2017
  37. Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment) (2017) Water management in the Netherlands, p 78. Available on–37646.pdf. Accessed 27 Mar 2017
  38. Sánchez-Triana E, Paul T, Leonard O et al (2014) Building resilience for sustainable development of the Sundarbans. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. Schultz B, Hayde L, Sang-Hyun P et al (2013) Global inventory of closed-off tidal basins and developments after the closure. Irri Drain 62(Suppl S1):107–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schumann E, Largier J, Slinger J (1999) Estuarine hydrodynamics. In: Allanson BR, Baird D, Rahman (eds) Estuaries of South Africa. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 289–321Google Scholar
  41. Sen GK, Das M, Chatterjee M (2010) Study on storm surge event due to cyclone Aila. Ecol Environ Conserv Pap 6(4):491–494Google Scholar
  42. Shampa P, Mayaz I (2012) Tidal River management (TRM) for selected coastal area of Bangladesh to mitigate drainage congestion. Int J Sci Technol Res 1(5). issn 2277–8616 1 ijstr©2012. Available on
  43. Stroeve FM (1993) The Feni River closure dam reviewed- final report. Master’s Thesis, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  44. Strukova E (2010) Cost-benefit analysis of development and conservation alternatives in the Sundarbans of India. Prepared for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation, and socioeconomic development of the Sundarbans area of West Bengal. World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. Verhagen HJ (1995) Short note on closure of the Duriangkang Estuary. The IHE Delft, Netherlands. file:///C:/Users/nk%20tyagi/Downloads/Duriangkang.pdfGoogle Scholar
  46. WARPO (Water Resources Planning Organization) (2004) National Water Management Plan (NWMP) development strategy. Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO), Ministry of Water Resources, Dhaka, BangladeshGoogle Scholar
  47. Wester P and Bron J (undated) Coping with water: water management in flood control and drainage systems in Bangladesh. Available at
  48. Wiegel RL (1964) Oceanographical engineering. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  49. Wiegel RL, Saville T (1996) History of coastal engineering in the USA. In: Kraus NC (ed) History and heritage of coastal engineering. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, pp 513–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Willcocks W (1930) Ancient system of irrigation in Bengal and its application to modern problems. University of Calcutta, CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams CA (1919) History of the rivers in the Ganges delta 1750–1918. Bengal Secretariat Press, 1919, Reprinted by East Pakistan Inland Water Transport Authority, 1966, p 96Google Scholar
  52. Young GL, An K-G, Ha PT et al (2009) Decadal and seasonal scale changes of an artificial lake environment after blocking tidal flows in the Yeongsan Estuary region, Korea. Sci Total Environ 407(23):6063–6072CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agricultural Scientists Recruitment BoardNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Central Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia
  3. 3.ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibers (Formerly)BarrackporeIndia

Personalised recommendations