The Dutch Risk Reduction Team (DRR-Team) has conducted a mission related to flood mitigation and water security in Sundarbans and Digha in April 2022, at request of the West Bengal Irrigation and Waterways Department.

The government of West Bengal has the aim to develop a holistic and inclusive plan as their long-term vision for socio-economic development of the Indian Sundarban Delta. Therefore, the DRR-Team has prepared a roadmap providing an overview of recommendations on short-, mid- and long-term activities for the Sundarban. The DRR-Team report has been handed over to Mr. Prabhat Mishra, Principal Secretary of the Irrigation and Waterways Department in the first week of July.

Water security is a prerequisite to allow for any sustainable development in the Sundarban delta. There are approximately 5.2 million people living in and around the delta, mostly depending on agriculture. However, they are more and more experiencing poor crop yield, due to a dependence on seasonal rainfall and a lack of irrigation facilities and fresh water. Therefore, the key to the development of a sustainable and safe Sundarban is to ensure water security by the creation of a freshwater environment on the islands, restoration of fresh water and improved resilience against floods.

This mission is a result of the letter of intent that the Embassy of the Netherlands in India signed with the West Bengal local government for cooperation in the field of integrated water security. The DRR-Team consisted of four water experts, namely George Peters (flood mitigation and dike expert), Bas van Maren (delta morphologist), Jasper Leuven (nature-based solutions expert) and Paul van Meel (integrated water resources management expert).

As next steps towards our Indo-Dutch Water Cooperation, the Indian government will take it forward, together with the Netherlands, based on the recommendations of the DRR-Team.

For more information about this DRR-Team mission, please read the DRR-Team Mission Report on Sundarban, India.

Handing over of Final DRR Report, Sundarbans

(Left – Mr. Namit Shah, Honorary Consul General of the Netherlands, Kolkata

Right – Mr. Prabhat Mishra, Principal Secretary, Irrigation & Waterways Department, Govt. of West Bengal)