Bangladesh: PPPs under the Dhaka Rivers Ecological Restoration Project

Greater Dhaka, home to 18 million people, contributes over one-third of the country’s GDP. Economic opportunity attracts significant rural migration and stimulates industrialization. Both the population and businesses rely on the city’s network of rivers and canals, which provide livelihoods and services such as transport and drainage.

However, the city sits on a low-lying delta, making it highly vulnerable to climate threats like flooding, rising sea levels, and industrial pollution. Effective river management, therefore, is critical for the city’s continued climate resilience, quality of life, and economic growth.

To address Dhaka’s wastewater management challenges, the government of Bangladesh in collaboration with the World Bank launched the Dhaka Rivers Ecological Restoration Project. It aims to improve wastewater management and enhance water flows in rivers and canals in and around Dhaka City. This is in line with the city’s master plans and a new Umbrella Investment Program being finalized by the government.

Building on upstream work by the 2030 Water Resources Group, PPIAF supports the project by providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Local Government and the PPP Authority. Activities included a rapid assessment of potential PPPs that can be supported by the Dhaka Rivers Project, the development of action plans for three projects, capacity building for managing wastewater PPPs, and analyses.

To illustrate, in collaboration with the Bank and IFC, PPIAF-supported analytics and stakeholder engagement led to a proposal for an 18-year, $150 million Gazipur City wastewater management PPP, providing for a wastewater treatment facility, a fecal sludge plant, a sewer network, and vacuum trucks for desludging to service over 1.4 million residents by 2045.

The World Bank team is also conducting economic assessments of proposed PPPs and developing project plans for additional wastewater investments in Dhaka’s surrounding cities. The Gazipur wastewater PPP transaction structure was approved in March 2023, and IFC expects to begin the tendering process by the end of the year. Under the activity, other potential PPPs that support the restoration of Dhaka’s rivers will be explored.

Through this support, PPIAF is tapping into private sector expertise and financing to help Bangladesh improve wastewater management. This will restore Dhaka’s river ecology and strengthen climate resilience, which will enhance the quality of life for millions in one of the world’s most densely populated cities.

Approved date2023-03-27
SectorWater and Sanitation
RegionSouth Asia