Workshop on investigation into causes of embankment failure held at BUET

Date: February 22, 2023

The final workshop of a research project on “An Investigation on the Causes of Embankment Failure and Recommendations for Sustainable Solutions (CEF)” was held at the Council Building of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) on February 15.

The project was carried out by the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM), BUET, funded by the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB).

The workshop began with an introductory speech by Dr Shamal Chandra Das, project director and additional chief engineer (planning), BWDB, who welcomed the guests and provided an overview of the research project.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof AKM Saiful Islam, director of IWFM at BUET and team leader of the CEF Project.

The study investigated the causes of failure in eight study sites by revisiting the existing design, one-two-three-dimensional (1D/2D/3D) hydro-morphological modelling, coastal and estuarine modelling, geotechnical investigation, and community perspectives on the failure and sustainable design of riverine and coastal embankments.

In his presentation, Prof Saiful Islam made a few interesting recommendations such as — Regular monitoring and maintenance of the river training work (RTWs) are vital to increasing the effective life of the embankments.

The designer should anticipate the excessive scours due to several hydro-morphological conditions and need to address them in design.

Dredging as a means of bank protection measures needs a proper investigation to determine locations and volume of dredging. The ongoing dredging operation should be conducted as per the recommendations of the hydro-morphological study.

Along with the strengthening of existing bank protection structures, the effectiveness of different types of channel guiding structures can be investigated, either in a single or combined way (ie, Groynes, Spurs, etc), as shown in this study.

Nature-based sediment trapping options can be explored in the future and feedback from the community should be taken into consideration in the design.

Special guests Md Nurul Islam Sarker, director general, BWDB, and Prof Abdul Jabbar Khan, pro-vice- chancellor, BUET, presented their valuable opinion regarding the study.

Nurul Islam said the BWDB will adopt the significant findings of this study into the embankment and
bank protection design. Prof Jabbar Khan thanked IWFM for carrying out such timely action research and capacity-building training for the professionals of the BWDB.

Another special guest, Nazmul Ahsan, secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, stressed that the
embankment’s design methodology must account for the effects of climate change to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). The abrupt change in hydrological processes should be modelled numerically, and the results incorporated into the embankment design process, he said.

He hoped the study’s findings will improve the current design process and ensure the long-term viability of embankment systems.

State Minister for Water Resources Zaheed Farooque, who was the chief guest at the event, highlighted the government’s commitment to reducing disaster risks and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

He emphasized that climate change will not only raise the water level but will also cause longer duration, higher velocity, and stronger wave effect during floods, affecting the embankment’s stability. The state minister said researchers and practitioner engineers should collaborate to achieve the long-term goals of the Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP 2100).

He put emphasis on a few study recommendations, such as regular monitoring and maintenance of river training works, anticipating excessive scours due to various hydro-morphological conditions and the need to address them in design. Along with strengthening existing bank protection structures, different channel guiding structures’ effectiveness can be investigated, and community feedback should be incorporated into the design.

While delivering the workshop’s concluding remarks, BUET Vice Chancellor Prof Satya Prasad Majumder emphasized that BUET faculty members from various departments and institutes will continue engaging in similar projects in the future to generate new knowledge and provide capacity-building for professionals working in the water sector.