Urban Dredging Demonstration Project (UDDP)

Posted on 25 April 2014


In the mega-city of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, increasing flooding problems are effecting millions of inhabitants and businesses every year. The density of the population (12 million) coupled to the flat geography of the area and rain intensities during the monsoon causes that Dhaka is prone to yearly flooding. This is exacerbated by illegal building on flood plains (as well as unregulated/unplanned building) and a reduction of canals in and around Dhaka.

The flooding problems are the major concern of Dhaka Water and Sanitation Authority (DWASA). This institution is responsible for storm water drainage (primary drains) but their operation and maintenance of the drains have fallen behind in recent years due to the high increase in population growth and the insufficient funding and staffing of the Operation and Maintenance Circle for Drainage of DWASA.

To remedy the drainage problems DWASA started the Urban Dredging Demonstration Project (UDDP) under the partnership with Vitens Evides International. Besides DWASA and VEI, Witteveen en Bos (assisted by Tijhuis Ingenieurs, Nelen & Schuurmans, J.P. Schilder) and the Dutch Water board from the Netherlands and DevCon and Aqua consultancy firms from Bangladesh providing a range of services supporting effective implementation of UDDP.

The partnership introduces and applies Dutch operational expertise and technologies which are related to storm water drainage operation and maintenance, ICT and utility organization and governance. The partnership also provides substantial training and coaching opportunities for staff to familiarize with, and adopt these new technologies, and to capacitate DWASA to effectively cope with the on-going urban developments and subsequent challenges.

Currently the drains contain excessive amounts of silt and solid waste caused by deferred maintenance as well as the habit of large part of the Dhaka population to throw solid waste into open canals. These two factors resulted in a two pronged approach for improvements:

  1. a strategy to demonstrate modern Dutch equipment, procedures and techniques of urban dredging combined with improved planning, organization and financing within the drainage sector for the coming 10 years, and
  2. involving the community (inhabitants and businesses) to reduce the amount of waste deposited in storm water drains and thereby reduces the necessity for dredging.

For the dredging demonstration DWASA selected an open canal drain (Kallyanpur) and a closed culvert (Segunbagicha). These two sites represent the typical canals and culverts that make up the primary drainage network of Dhaka.

For the dredging activities UDDP is using modern urban dredging equipment from the Netherlands such as excavators fitted on pontoons and floating bulldozers. For the Community Involvement an local NGO has been implement the Solid Waste Management and Beautification Program. 

Tijhuis Engineers is working on a long term dredging plan using the application WIT©. Dredging plans and budgets are subject to change. To continuously offering current dredging plans, the sediment information system WIT© is used. In this case the result and the output of WIT© is a long-term (multiyear) dredging plan. 


The main objective of the UDDP project is to reduce the floods in Dhaka by

  1. demonstration of Dutch urban drainage technologies and expertise,
  2. improvement of the capacity of DWASA staff to carry out drainage operation and
  3. development of stakeholders awareness and knowledge of the functions of the urban drainage system.

Duration of the contract: June 2013 - December 2016


The UDDP project is strongly focused on improving the operations and maintenance of Dhaka WASA to be able to continue cleaning other culverts and canals in Dhaka in the coming 10 years, which may result in reduced water logging and less inhabitants and businesses that are effected by the causes of heavy rainfalls.

Spin off
The UDDP activities are initially concentrated in two area’s in Dhaka, effecting approximately 400.000 inhabitants and about 1250 (small) businesses. In the long run improved living and economic conditions in the whole city of Dhaka are foreseen, by replication and upscaling of improved drainage services by DWASA.

Project location

Project partners

  • Dutch Water Authorities | Unie van Waterschappen
  • Tijhuis Ingenieurs B.V.
  • VEI B.V.
  • Witteveen+Bos