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A Study On Climate Change Impact On The Livelihoods Of The People In Tanguar Haor, Bangladesh

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Muhammad Mizanur Rahaman, Kamrul Islam Sajib, Intekhab Alam
University of Asia Pacific1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 7: Global challenges for water governance,
Article: Oral:

Bangladesh is generally viewed as a vulnerable country with respect to climate change especially in haor areas because of its unique geographic location, dominance of flood plains, high population density, elevated level of poverty and overwhelming dependency on nature and its resources and services. Haors with their unique hydro-ecological characteristics are large bowl shaped floodplain depressions located in the north-eastern region of Bangladesh covering about 1.99 million hectares of area and accommodating about 19.37 million people (Haor master plan, 2012).

Covering 9,727 hectares, Tanguar Haor in North-East part of Bangladesh, adjacent to the Indian border, is part of a wetland/floodplain of the Surma-Kushiyara rivers basins. Tanguar haor exhibits a unique wetland ecosystem. Considering its ecological importance it has been declared as the second Ramsar site of Bangladesh in 2000. The swamp forest land of the haor is another unique ecological feature of the haor ecology. It plays an important role in fish production as it functions as a 'mother fishery' for the country. (Chowdhury, 2010).


The aim of the study is to find out impacts of climate change on the livelihoods of the people in Tanguar Haor area. The specific objectives are:

a) Analysis of major climate change parameters, e.g., Rainfall, Temperature, Water Level.

b) Climate change impacts on agriculture, fisheries and severity of flash flood, cyclone, drought, and river erosion etc.


Assess current knowledge base and understanding on livelihood of haor people due to climate change, and create a scope for improvement of their livelihood as well as to promote further research.


a) A field study has been conducted for one week in during 18-25 August 2014.The study conducted over three different villages in South and North Shreepur unions which are located in Tanguar haor. It involves a semi structured questionnaire survey of 50 families.

b) Primary data has also been collected from various government and non-governmental agencies (IUCN, BHWDB, BMD).

c) For secondary data source, peer-reviewed articles, a wide range of books, research documents and online databases have been reviewed.


a) The study analyzed average of yearly rainfall and average of yearly maximum rainfall distribution from 1980-2008 in Tanguar haor area. It shows that over the period of 28 years, average of total yearly rainfall and average of maximum yearly rainfall has decreased 25 mm and 228 mm respectively. It is not a favorable situation for maximum crops production. It creates more pressure on water consumption from ground water sources. As a result, ground water level is decreasing day by day. The impact of rainfall on agricultural production also varies depending on how rainfall is distributed during different months.

b) The study reveals that the averages of maximum and minimum temperature are increasing. During 1981-2010, the average of both yearly maximum and yearly minimum temperature are increasing around 1.5 degree Celsius. Thus the number of hot days is increased that increases evapotranspiration and effects hydrological cycle.

c) During 1981-2010, it is observed that July to September period represents high flow season and November to April period low flow season. During monsoon season, water levels within the haor area gradually rise as water flows from the rivers into the haor. During non-monsoon season, water level recedes as reversal of flow takes place with the falling stage in rivers and rainfall also decreases.

d) Through field study, this study identified that flash flood, land erosion, norwesters, tornadoes (early summer & rainy season), are the usual hazards and risks associated with climate change impacting the livelihoods of the Tanguar haor communities. The haor is submerged under water for nearly eight months and allows single crop throughout a year, seasonal unemployment problem is very acute. All these factors cause emigration.


This paper tries to grasp and analyze the ongoing problems, with main concentration on climate change impacts on the livelihood of Tanguar haor people.

This study reveals that the rainfall of Tanguar haor is decreasing, which affects the crops production and fisheries. This study also shows that the average temperature is rising, consequently, drought is frequent in this area which negatively affects the crops production in Tanguar Haor area. In Tanguar Haor, water level is also decreasing over the period 1981-2010, which also negatively affects the crop yield and fisheries. 1. Bangladesh Haor and Wetland Development Board, (2012) "Haor Master Plan", Bangladesh.

2. Chowdhury, A. H. (2010) "The state of Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor" 16th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference. Retrieved on 24.08.2014 from Web :

3. Nowreen, S., Murshed, S.B., (2013) "Change of Future Climate Change Extremes for the Haor Basin Area of Bangladesh" 4th International Conference on Water & Flood Management (ICWFM-2013)

4. Hoque, Md Rakibul ; Khan, M. Saiful Islam ; Ahmed, Rashiduzzaman, Introduction to Community Based Haor and FloodPlain Resource Management, IUCN Bangladesh ; Sustainable Environment Management Programme (SEMP); UNDP ; Bangladesh, Ministry of Environment and Forest.

5. Khan, S., Haq, E., Huq, S., Rahman, A. A., Rashid, S.M.A., and Ahmed H., (1994) "Wetlands of Bangladesh", Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) Dhaka, Bangladesh.

6. J. Pender, 2007, "Climate change and displacement, Community led adaptation in Bangladesh", 2nd International workshop on Community based adaptation to climate change, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin