Century-scale dynamics of the Bengal delta and future development

Maminul Haque Sarker, J. Akter, Munsur Rahman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionProfessional


While most of the large deltas in the world are suffering from sediment starvation, the Bengal delta is prograding at a substantially high rate. The progradation expedites the shifting process of delta building estuaries as well as their associated distributaries, which play an important role in the eco-system of the delta by influencing the salinity, sediment and also the flooding pattern. A future projection of the delta shifting is essential for long-term development planning of the delta. This article reports the findings of a preliminary investigation using available data. Historical maps, time-series satellite images, digital elevation maps based on topographic surveys of the 1950s and 1990s, as well as water level and hydrographic surveys have been used for the investigation. During the last two hundred and forty years, the main delta building estuary has changed its location as well as the associated distributaries. It has been observed that huge sediment generated from the 1950 Assam earthquake expedited the shifting processes. However, due to lack of time-series and reliable data, quantification of the shifting process is not possible. It also makes future projection more uncertain. Nevertheless, it can be assertained that delta shifting processes, especially shifting of the distributaries towards the southwest direction will continue in the coming decades, which is very much relevant for long-term planning of the delta.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication4th International Conference on Water & Flood Management (ICWFM-2013)
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Water and Flood Management - Dhaka, Bangladesh
Duration: 9 Mar 201311 Mar 2013


ConferenceInternational Conference on Water and Flood Management
Abbreviated titleICWFM-2013


  • Bengal delta
  • delta progradation
  • long-term development
  • Meghna estuary
  • delta shiftin
  • distributaries


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