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A report on Fahad Khan Khadim's multifaceted visit from Bangladesh to The Netherlands.

Currently within the SWIBANGLA project three main activities are taking place. First of all, the analysis of the Water Safety Plans (WSP) and its Guidelines is being carried out in order to understand how the knowledge built in SWIBANGLA needs to be structured to complement the WSP’s and Guidelines from a salinity perspective.

Secondly, we are working on understanding how the groundwater system of Bangladesh works. The origin of the salinity-related issues, its dynamics and evolution are currently being analysed, making use of different types of recently collected data in combination with the development of a 3D variable-density groundwater model. The third activity consists in the organization of the Monitoring Workshop that will take place during February of 2014.

Aquifer information of a Deep Tubewell of Satkhira district.

It is important – next to capacity building – that someone from Bangladesh would bring into the project knowledge of the needs of Bangladesh regarding groundwater salinity issues.

Fahad Khan Khadim had been selected by the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) to take part in the development of the SWIBANGLA project. He came to The Netherlands for a month to work together with the project team. The goal of his stay was clearly multifaceted, as from CEGIS’s perspective it was seen as a capacity building programme to develop the individual research capability of young professionals (this programme is considered as one of the principal foci of CEGIS's agenda). Whereas from the viewpoint of the project itself, it is also important – next to capacity building – that someone from Bangladesh would bring into the project knowledge of the needs of Bangladesh regarding groundwater salinity issues, and would get acquainted with the activities taking place in Deltares for SWIBANGLA, among others, the understanding of the groundwater system.

After his arrival, Fahad was briefed by Deltares about his work for the following month. As the numerical model was undergoing its development phase, Fahad was expected to contribute in the overall process. He clustered and processed information for the model inputs, while rationalising individual values as well. He went through some literature to develop a conceptual understanding about variable-density groundwater flow and coupled salt transport, maintained regular contact with the working people at CEGIS for further requirements of data and information. Fahad had already worked in projects in the coastal area of Bangladesh, so he was familiar with saltwater-related issues.

He was asked to find reliable information regarding the different groundwater extraction technologies. From the response of CEGIS, he managed to gather information on well depths in all the coastal districts (the information was collected from the aquifer database of DPHE, the Department of Public Health Engineering). Fahad also processed the surface water levels for different seasons and afterwards analysed the river geometry to calculate the river water depths at different seasons in the area. 

Analysing the river cross-sections.

Average water levels above the MSL for different stress periods.

His stay at Deltares was profitable for the project, both in terms of data, information and hydrogeological knowledge he generated, as well as knowledge he is taking back to Bangladesh, e.g. on the procedures Deltares is following to construct complex numerical models.

Managing Saltwater Intrusion Impacts in Bangladesh (SWIBANGLA) is one of six DGIS-funded applied research projects being implemented in the BRAC WASH II programme. SWIBANGLA aims to make the salinization issue an integral part of water safety planning in Bangladesh.