The Hydrologic and hydraulic regime of Bangladesh consists of numerous looped and cross-connected channels with extensive flood plains and depression storage areas. In the first version of the National Water Plan published in 1985, Government and its Development Partners recognised that under the complex hydrological and hydraulic regime and socio-economical dynamics, National Water Planning process requires refined analysis in the face of increased capital scarcity; it was also realised that, as development would progress and more projects are completed, the problem of interdependence and impact assessment would grow more severe and costs of correcting adverse impacts will increase.
To overcome the serious shortcomings of the tools available for planning and design analysis based on so called simplistic approach in accurately predicting and analysing the consequences of impacts of single or multiple projects, it was recognised that powerful analytical tools like Mathematical Modelling would be essential. “The Surface Water Modelling Programme” (SWSMP) was launched by MPO in 1986 to develop analytical predictive tools like mathematical modelling for planning and design analysis and institutionalise the capability as an essential and integral part of National Water Planning Process.
The need for sophisticated analysis of water system was given added impetus following two consecutive disastrous floods in 1987 and 1988.
The then Master Planning Organisation (MPO) presently Water Resources Planning Organisation (WARPO) under the Ministry of Water Resources launched the Surface Water Simulation Modelling Programme (SWSMP) in 1986. SWSMP was aided by UNDP and the World Bank and was to develop and institutionalise sustained high level of analytical capabilities as an essential and integral part of National Water Planning process (ProDoc BGD/85/045/c/01/42). The capability was institutionalised by establishing the Surface Water Modelling Centre (SWMC) under DANIDA aided SWSMP-II (1989-1993) which continued its further improvement and consolidation of technology under SWSMP III (1994-1996); management of SWMC was transferred to the SWMC Trust in December 1996. It was renamed as Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) on the 1st of August, 2002 in line with its function of generating learning through its studies and research. Danish Hydraulic Institute, almost all the FAP studies (particularly the Co-ordination Advisory Technical mission comprising renowned water experts around the world) all the Water Institutions of the country and BUET very much actively contributed towards adoption of appropriately technology in IWM.
All along the main objective remained enhancement of hydraulic and hydrologic knowledge base of the country to enable better planning and design studies of the country’s water management investments.
As a natural development over time IWM developed expertise in state-of-the-art Hydrometric measurements, hydrographic and topographic surveys and monitoring programmes, urban drainage, ground water hydraulics, eco-hydraulics and morphological modelling for river and coastal engineering and science.
As the computational methods improved with the improvement of computer capacity demand of analysis expanded to cover the entire gamut of computational hydraulics and water modelling. At the end of SWSMP-III, SWMC developed capabilities in areas of hydrodynamic modelling of rivers, estuaries and Bay, hydrological modelling including surface water-ground water interaction modelling based on three-dimensional GW modelling, fully dynamic morphological modelling based on quasi-three Dimensional flow and sediment transport modelling, complete set of water quality modelling (salinity, BoD, CoD, temperature, arsenic etc) of surface water and ground water flows. It also grew as the leading hydrographic and topographic survey institute based on the state of the art technology in order to support its analytical work by strong database through real time measurement campaigns.
After a thorough Institutional Study by experts from home and abroad for the best sustainability of the local capabilities so hard earned through the ten years of TA project, by a Cabinet decision, GoB founded the SWMC Trust under the Trusts Act 1882 on the 24th December 1996 to institutionalise SWMC.
It was renamed as Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) on the 1st of August, 2002 in line with its function of generating learning through its studies and research.
Since then it is functioning to support improved planning of water related environment of Bangladesh through project activities and conducting research, training and technology transfer.