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expanding population and as the basis

for economic development.

Sea-level rise and cyclones make

flooding more likely but, on the other

hand, there are water shortages during

dry periods.

To meet these challenges, the govern-

ment teamed up with the Dutch

embassy last year to start on the

development of the Bangladesh Delta

Plan. As in the Dutch Delta Programme,

the aim is to produce a comprehensive

plan based on a long-term vision of

the delta’s future. It is being developed

by a team of experts from Bangladesh

and the Netherlands.

The Delta Plan is adaptive and dynamic

in the sense that it takes the unpre­

dictability of future developments

into account, not only in terms of

climate change, but also in terms of

economic development, population

rise and regional collaboration. So

the Delta Plan is not just a one-off

exercise: it will also establish the basis

for the permanent management of the

delta, emphasising socio-economic


Senior water management

consultant Herman van der

Most is exploring possible

ways of limiting flood risks

in the area of the old capital

of Thailand.

‘The area around Thailand’s old

capital, Sukhotai, is flooded almost

annually by the River Yom. The floods

can sometimes be severe, as in 2011

when almost 700 km² were inundated.

With the Hydro and Agro Informatics

Institute in Bangkok, Deltares

modelled the floods on the basis

of rainfall patterns and land data,

factoring in the possible impact of

climate change.

We also looked at population growth

and economic development. The

region around Sukhotai is part of the

Greater Mekong East-West Economic

Corridor, which is planned to include a

number of transport axes from Burma

(Myanmar) to Vietnam. That means

that the potential economic damage

caused by floods could be much


Another development is the possible

construction of reservoirs in the upper

reaches of the Yom for rice farming

and electricity generation. Those

reservoirs can also be used as storage

basins. Other options could be to

create overflow areas or the regular

dredging of the river to increase the

discharge capacity.

A lot of options? That’s right. There

are numerous possible measures and

we have worked them out in possible

adaptation pathways. However,

our analysis shows that, once you

have added everything up, the risk

of flooding is not reduced greatly

by these interventions. The best

option in this case is to put a stop to

urbanisation in the most flood-prone

locations and to set them aside for

agriculture, fishing or nature.