The Gorai River, a distributary of the Ganges, is an important artery for Bangladesh, used for navigation, fisheries, agriculture and domestic purposes. The fresh water flow of the river is also important for the ecology and economy (logging) of the mangrove forests situated along the coast. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the water flow in the Gorai River had gradually decreased while sedimentation had increased, causing the river to fall dry during increasingly longer periods. This, in combination with the increased salinity intrusion in the downstream part, had a negative impact on river-dependent activities. A solution was searched to oppose the drying up of the Gorai River.
The mangrove forest, the Sundarbans in the Gorai delta, is of high environmental value. To get the Gorai River flowing again, a channel was dredged through the shoal which blocked the bifurcation from the Ganges and the upper part of the river. Keeping the inherent uncertainty of the river morphology in mind, the design, planning and construction were executed with a high degree of flexibility. Conserving biodiversity in the Subarbans was an important driver of the project in all phases. Moreover, the social aspects of the river contributed to the integral approach of the project.