| water environment international |

Sara Louise Bennett, Ph.D.

International Environment Specialist



Contact information

  • nhc-Wiebe, 9819-12 Ave SW, Edmonton AB, T6X 0E3, Canada
  • Tel +1 (780) 708-2737
  • Email: sbennett@bicn.com
  • Fax: +1 (780) 436-1645

Last updated 5 February 2011


Ph.D. Oceanography (Physics), Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, October 1988. Recipient, Carroll L. Wilson Award for post-doctoral research.

B.S. Chemistry, Colorado State University. National Merit Scholar.

Undergraduate Studies, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Recipient, Caroline D. Blanchard Scholarship and National Merit Scholar.

M.A. Counselling Psychology, City University, Seattle WA, June 2010.


Mother tongue: English

Basic working proficiency: French

Basic conversational proficiency: Bengali


History of employment and assignments

2000 to present Independent Consultant.  Assignments:

         Monitoring and Evaluation Support Consultant, Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Restoration Project (ECRRP), Bangladesh (for World Bank/IDA). 2009 to present.

ECRRP is a USD109 million project developed to address cyclone rehabilitation and recovery and long-term disaster preparedness.

As Environmental Safeguard Management Expert, responsible for supervision of compliance with the Project Environmental Management Framework of ECRRP water management and cyclone shelter feasibility studies and infrastructure construction, and monitoring and evaluation of Project environmental impacts and outcomes.

         Preparing the Water Resources Development Project (WRDP), Afghanistan (Asian Development Bank TA No. 7088). March-July 2009.

Project Preparation Technical Assistance (PPTA) to prepare a Multi-Tranche Financing Facility (MFF) for a USD180 million medium-term water resources and irrigation development program for Afghanistan. Deliverables consist of a Strategy and Road Map, Policy Framework, Investment Plan with Financing Plan, feasibility studies for the three Tranche 1 subprojects (USD80 million), and Project Development Facility design.

As Environment Specialist, prepared an Initial Environmental Evaluation (IEE) and Summary IEE for the Tranche 1 subprojects, and an Environmental Assessment and Review Framework (EARF) and Cumulative Impact Environmental Assessment (CEIA) for the MFF as a whole.

         Earthquake and Tsunami Emergency Support Project (ETESP), Roads and Bridges Sector, Project Preparation Consultant Phase II (PPC2) Aceh Province, Indonesia (for Asian Development Bank). September-October 2007.

ETESP is a USD 290 million multi-sectoral post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation grant that was put in place after the Dec 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

As the PPC2 Environment Specialist, prepared two Initial Environmental Examinations for two subprojects. One of these was for reconstruction of a coastal port access road/causeway in one of the most devastated parts of Banda Aceh.

         Special Assistance for Project Formation, Small Scale Water Resources Development in Greater Mymensingh, Bangladesh (for Japan Bank for International Cooperation). June-November 2006.

Technical assistance to prepare a JPY 5 billion (USD 42 million) participatory small-scale water resources project for the northeastern region of Bangladesh.

As Environment and Social Considerations Specialist, assessed environmental dimensions of potential Project investment options; prepared four subproject IEEs; and designed the Project environmental and social management framework.

1989 to present - Senior Environmental Management Consultant, water environment international, affiliated with northwest hydraulic consultants.  Assignments:

         West Bengal & Bangladesh Arsenic Crisis Information, May 1997 - present

ACIC provides online information on the contamination of groundwater used for drinking by arsenic in West Bengal and Bangladesh.  Initially information is provided through an extensive website and a quasi-monthly email newsletter. Over time information sharing has shifted to an online discussion group with +1500 members.

As Owner / Webmaster / Moderator:

- Designed, implemented, and maintained a website and discussion  group

- Liaise with arsenic researchers, projects, and donors

- Monitor a broad range of information sources for new arsenic-related findings

         Sessional Instructor, Human Geography - Landscapes & Human Settlements (at The King's University College, Canada), Winter/Spring Term 2002


         Red River Basin Water Resources Management Project, Vietnam (for Asian Development Bank).

This two and a half year (March 1998 to late 2000) ADB Technical Assistance (No. 2871-VIE) to Vietnam addresses basin-based integrated water resources planning and management for the Red River basin, through  (i) support for the creation of a National Water Resources Council and a Red River Basin Organization;  (ii) development of enhanced information and decision support systems to strengthen agencies with RRB  water resources management responsibilities; and (iii) implementation of demonstration-scale integrated water resources management studies.  

As Task Manager, Land & Water Management Study (2 person-months in 2000), I was responsible for one of the demonstration-scale studies, a study of selected land use / water management issues in the Red River Basin.  I mobilized and led a team of three Vietnamese specialists (land use, water resources development, and public participation/social scientist), supported by geographic information system (GIS) and database specialists, to undertake:  extensive literature review; assembly, review, and analysis of basin statistics; field visits using basic rapid rural appraisal techniques; presentation of two workshops to the Project Working Group composed of officials from RRB water resources planning agencies; and preparation of the study final report consisting of findings and recommendations.  

         Beneficiary Participation and Project Management, Bangladesh (for Asian Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Netherlands External Development Assistance).

This four-year (Mar 97 to 2001) Technical Assistance is intended to strengthen engineering and environmental capabilities of Local Government Engineering Department, in the context of the implementation of 400 small-scale water resources subprojects with ADB loan funds. Major focus areas are improved beneficiary participation, enhanced management systems, and expanded staff training.

As Environment Specialist (5.5 person-months 1997-2000), had overall technical responsibility for the environment component of the TA.  Duties:

- Advise and assist LGED staff with environmental tasks

- Design improvements to systems and training related to environmental planning, assessment, and management

- Develop a management information and reporting system to produce the 400 subproject appraisal+initial environmental evaluation reports required, integrating inputs from each of the technical disciplines

- Assist in the institutionalization of participatory rapid rural appraisal (PRRA) by independent multi-disciplinary teams, augmenting conventional top-down engineer-led techniques, to improve incorporation of stakeholder input in subproject conceptualization and design

- Field investigations of selected subprojects to identify impact avoidance opportunities

- Development of impact avoidance methods and training tools for inclusion in standard engineering planning methods and training

- Suggest a project newsletter design and distribution to strengthen stakeholder awareness and understanding of the project and basic technical information

- Advise on the development of LGED regional water quality laboratories

         Environmental Baseline Characterization and Stakeholder Consultation for Environmental Impact Assessment, Exploratory Gas Drilling (for Occidental of Bangladesh).

Team Leader (Dec 1998 - May 1999). Mobilized and led a six-person team to characterize regional and site-specific terrestrial and aquatic environment and ecology. Team members included a deputy task manager, agronomist/soil scientist, ecologist, sociologist, and GIS analyst.

Work included:

- Organizing a programme of water and soil collection and analysis at international and local laboratories

- Assisting ERM-UK to conduct stakeholder consultations at the sites;

- Preparing final baseline environment chapters of the EIAs for the sites;

- Setting up a project website with mirrors on the OBL LAN and a password-protected Internet domain

- Performed final edits on EIAs submitted by other consultants.

Engaged as a subconsultant to Environmental Resources Management UK, reporting directly to the OBL Health Environment and Safety Manager.

         Environmental Impact Assessment, Naryanganj-Narsingdi Irrigation Project Engineering Services, Bangladesh (for Bangladesh Water Development Board).

This is a 14-month feasibility and design consultancy for a proposed flood control, drainage, and irrigation project on 24,000 ha (population 400,000) in the eastern peri-urban zone of Dhaka city. A major component of this consultancy is a full environmental impact assessment. 

As EIA Specialist (Dec 1998-Jan 1999):

- Prepared an EIA implementation plan for subsequent investigation and analysis by local experts, of area agriculture, soils, and land use; fisheries; socioeconomy; hydrology; and urban, industrial, and transportation development

- Worked with GIS analyst to prepare basic mapping layers and database files

- Brought to the project team's attention an planned major highway development (Roads & Highways Dhaka Outer Bypass) that will pass through the proposed irrigation scheme area and greatly accelerate urbanization.

         Initial Environmental Examination, Aquaculture Development Project Appraisal, Bangladesh (for International Fund for Agricultural Development)

AqDP aims to improve aquaculture in the southwestern region of Bangladesh. This IEE looked at the potential impacts of the AqDP as formulated prior to the IFAD appraisal mission. Proposed project activities included infrastructure and other interventions for large-scale aquaculture development at baors (oxbow lakes) in western Bangladesh.

Team Leader/Environment Specialist (2 person months in in 1997). Led a two-member team in undertaking:

- Literature review

- Extensive field visits using participatory rapid rural appraisal techniques

- Preparation of the IEE document, including detailed recommendations for project design changes to improve environmental outcomes.

         Capacity Building in the Water Resources Sector, Vietnam (for Asian Development Bank).

This 18-month (Aug 95 to Feb 96) Technical Assistance (ADB No. 2233-VIE) was intended to strengthen engineering and environmental capabilities of the Ministry of Water Resources. Major focus areas included:

- Planning and design process

- Irrigation system operation improvement

- Gender aspects of water resources development

- Environmental monitoring

- Development of short courses in engineering topics and environmental monitoring

As Environment Specialist (3 person-months 1995-6) responsible for:

- Reviewing the relevant institutional arrangements for environmental monitoring and training

- Preparing an environmental monitoring programme design

- Recommending lab equipment and training to be procured with ADB loan funds (US$150,000)

- Reviewing drinking water standards and pesticide regulatory arrangements

- Designing and subcontracting training services leading to the development of an environmental monitoring short course.

         Fact Finding Mission, Red River Basin Water Resources Management (for Asian Development Bank)

Three-person Fact Finding Mission to design the proposed technical assistance project entitled "Red River Basin Water Resources Management," that addressed institutional development and capacity building related to integrated water resources planning in the Red River basin.

Environment Specialist (0.5 person-month, April 1997).  Attended ADB-GOV meetings, collected information required by ADB project officer, participated in discussions about the design of the proposed TA, and contributed to the aid-memoire.

         Irrigation Rehabilitation Project, Viet Nam (for Ministry of Water Resources, World Bank, CIDA Industrial Cooperation)

IRP (1994-6) was a multi-disciplinary feasibility-level study for the preparation of six irrigation subprojects ranging  in size from 5,000 to 50,000 ha located in six provinces. Three subprojects involved gravity diversions for irrigation. Three consisted of flood control embankments, pumped drainage, and pumped irrigation. Design work was in support of project preparation for World Bank appraisal and subsequent implementation under  a US$100 million IDA Credit. IRP  work included assessment of current situation, review of previous studies and database, irrigation planning, hydraulic design, civil design, procurement, environmental assessment, irrigation management, and social impact including resettlement.

As Environmental Advisor, responsible to advise,  review, and provide quality control on environmental assessment procedures and subproject environmental management action plans.

         Northeast Regional Water Management Plan, Flood Action Plan Item 6, Bangladesh (for Shawinigan-Lavalin International/NHC Joint Venture, consultants to CIDA).

NERP is a CDN$10 million regional water resources planning exercise covering the Sylhet/Mymensingh area of northeastern Bangladesh. It is one of 26 items of the World Bank-coordinated Flood Action Plan (FAP). Under Phase I (1991-4) a Regional Plan for water resources development was prepared, using a strategic planning process grounded in extensive specialist studies of key topics including hydrology and geohydrology, river sedimentation and morphology, existing water resources development, agriculture, fisheries, water transport, wetland and upland biological systems, human resource development, and institutions. The Plan consists of a strategy for development of regional water management systems through 2015, and includes a portfolio of 45 structural and non-structural projects for public and private implementation. Under Phase II, feasibility studies and pilot implementations are being undertaken for several of the projects.

As Environment Specialist / Environment Team Manager during Phase I (August 1991 - May 1994), responsible for:

Environment Team Management

Wetland Resource Studies

Project Preparation

Environmental Impact Assessment of Existing and Proposed Water Resources Projects

         Project Preparation, Northeast Regional Project, Bangladesh (for CIDA, Bangladesh Water Development Board, and SLI/NHC Joint Venture)

Project preparation activities for the Northeast Regional Water Management Project.  Tasked with project preparation activities by project proponents, prior to joining the project implementation team as its Environment Specialist.  Work performed:

- Technical Assistant to the Bangladesh Water Development Board (May 1990). Prepared Technical Assistance Project Pro Forma, the project document required by the Government of Bangladesh for project processing.

- Consultant to the CIDA Project Team (August 1990). Prepared the CIDA Management Plan, the final CIDA project document prior to project approval.

- Environment Advisor (June/July 1989) on the twelve-person In-Country Inception Mission. Designed the project's environment component.

         Inception and Subproject Proposal Review Mission, Project Planning, Monitoring, and Review Project, Indonesia (for CIDA).

The PPMR project (June 1992 to June 1995) was  responsible to monitor and review all CIDA's current projects in the water sector in Indonesia, and to prepare a sector plan for future investments. In June 1992, my tasks were (1) to finalize the Inception Report based on inputs from a five-member Inception Team and (2) to review eleven water resources and institutional strengthening subproject proposals submitted to PPMR by one of its monitored projects, the Water Sector Technical Cooperation Fund, against detailed CIDA/GOI criteria.

         Small Scale Water Control Structures III, Bangladesh (for CIDA).

Small Scale Water Control Structures III (SSWCS III) is a CDN$10 million project that provides technical assistance (feasibility studies and detailed design) in support of a US$60 million IDA credit to fund the construction of small flood control, drainage, and irrigation projects at sites throughout Bangladesh.

As Environment Advisor (intermittently from January 1989 to September 1994), designed and implemented SSWCS III's environment component.  This included initial environmental evaluations of subprojects, environmental field investigations, basic environmental and rapid rural appraisal technique training for engineering staff, participation in the stakeholder consultation program, and environmental to efforst to improve O&M.  Co-authored, with three social anthropologists, the final report of a community-based O&M pilot programme, a two-year effort to investigate the applicability to Bangladesh of  community-based methods to  increase cultivators' participation in the development and management of water resources projects.

         Small Water Resources Project Evaluation Mission, Vietnam (for Bread for the World, German non-governmental organization).

Two-person mission to Vietnam to evaluate BfdW's involvement in the Vietnam's water sector. Site visits to 17 proposed/ongoing projects and discussion of 35 prospective projects in five provinces in north and central Vietnam were undertaken. Project types included dam/reservoir and weir-type hill irrigation; hydropower; pumped irrigation and drainage; salinity intrusion control on coastal rivers; repair of typhoon damage to existing large-scale surface water irrigation schemes; and coastal dune stabilization. Project costs ranged from US$10,000 to US$500,000 total, with BfdW providing from US$10,000 to 100,000.

As Environmental Specialist (October-November 1991), identified and investigated biophysical and socioeconomic aspects of projects, including: cropping patterns, cultural practices, and crop diversity; soil conservation/erosion measures including afforestation; land reclamation; land tenure and land distribution/redistribution mechanisms; settlement/resettlement issues; operation and maintenance costs and fees, including labour levy; role and management of existing indigenous water control structures; and impacts of projects on adjacent areas. Co-author of final report commenting on each individual project and on overall BfdW development assistance strategy (120 pp).

Jun 88 - Nov 89 Independent Researcher

         Environmental Implications of the Proposed East Rapti Irrigation Project for Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal (in association with Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies), November/December 1989.

Investigated the environmental implications for Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP) of the proposed East Rapti Irrigation Project, a large-scale surface water irrigation project proposed for one of RCNP's principal rivers. RCNP is a designated World Heritage Site that contains wetland habitat key to the survival of a globally endangered rhinoceros species. Work consisted of rapid rural appraisal-type fieldwork, literature review, and stakeholder interviews in Nepal and Manila. Results were published in the Asian Wetland News, the newsletter of the Asian Wetland Bureau. Government of Nepal later used these research results to develop a training case study for Nepali engineers and environment specialists involved in water resources development.

         Impact of Climate Change on the Bengal Delta of Bangladesh (undertaken with funding from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Carroll L. Wilson Secretariat), January 1989.

Assessment of the potential environmental impacts on the Bengal delta of global warming accompanied by rise in sea levels.  Work consisted of literature review and field reconnaissance visits in coastal Bangladesh. Results were published in the proceedings of the Asian Farming Systems Research/Extension Symposium, November 1991, AIT Bangkok.

         Global/Regional Sea Level Rise Predictions and Strategic Implications (for the Office of the Geographer, United States Department of State), June 1988.

Summarized current global and regional sea level rise predictions, and discussed possible strategic implications.

Nov 88 - Dec 88 Post Doctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University and Bedford Institute of Technology, Halifax, Nova Scotia

1982 - 1988 Graduate Research Assistant, Physical Oceanography Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


Bennett, Sara L., 2010: Getting out the lived experience of leaving Canadian federal prison and re-entering the community. M.A. thesis, City University, Seattle WA. 140 pp.


______, 2009: Initial Environmental Evaluation, Tranche 1 Subprojects. Report, ADB TA No. 7088-AFG, Afghanistan Water Resources Development Project. 195 pp.


______, 2007: Subproject Initial Environmental Examination. Report, Roads and Bridges Sector, Earthquake and Tsunami Emergency Support Project (ETESP), Aceh, Indonesia. 93 pp.


______, 2000:  Final report, management study on land use and water management.  Internal report, ADB TA No. 2871-VIE, Red River Basin Water Resources Management Project.  72 pp.

______, and Nurul Islam, 1997: Initial environmental evaluation report, Bangladesh Aquaculture Development Project. Internal report for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). June. ix + 88 pp. + 20 annexes.

______, 1997: Environment final report - summary of activities and reviews of pesticide regulation, water quality standards, and water environmental training. Internal report, ADB TA No. 2233-VIE, Capacity Building in the Water Resources Sector. May, iii + 26 pp.

______, and Nguyen Thai Lai, 1996: Water quality management in Vietnam. In: Reaching the Unreached - Challenges for the 21st Century, 22nd Water Engineering & Development Centre (WEDC) Conference, New Delhi India 1996. Pp31-33, 206pp preprint volume.

_____, 1995: Report of environment specialist - mission I. Internal report, ADB TA No. 2233-VIE, Capacity Building in the Water Resources Sector. November, 58 pp.

_____, Mujib Huq, and David McLean, 1994: Initial environmental examination, Northeast Regional Water Management Plan. Northeast Regional Water Management Project, Flood Action Plan 6, Shawinigan-Lavalin Inc./Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Joint Venture for CIDA. 108 pp. + appendix.

_____, Istiak Sobhan, S.M.A. Rashid, and Anisuzzaman Khan, 1994: NEMREP - Northeast Region environment, management, research, and education project. Pre-feasibility study. Northeast Regional Water Management Project, Flood Action Plan 6, Shawinigan-Lavalin Inc./Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Joint Venture for CIDA. 122 pp. + 4 appendices.

_____, Derek Scott, Ansarul Karim, Istiak Sobhan, Anisuzzaman Khan, and S.M.A. Rashid, 1995: Wetland resources specialist study. Northeast Regional Water Management Project, Flood Action Plan 6, Shawinigan-Lavalin Inc./Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Joint Venture for CIDA. 106 pp. + 4 appendices.

_____, Anisuzzaman Khan, and S.M.A. Rashid, 1993: Potential initiatives for wetland management in the Northeast Region of Bangladesh. In: Freshwater wetlands in Bangladesh - issues and approaches for management. Ainun Nishat, Zakir Hussain, Monoj K. Roy, and Ansarul Karim, eds. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. xii + 238 pp.

_____, Atiq Rahman, and Saleem ul Huq, 1990: Climate change and farming systems. Proceedings, Asian Farming Systems Research/Extension Symposium, 19 - 23 November 1991, Asian Inst. Tech., Bangkok, 13 pp.

_____ and Uday Sharma, 1989:  Environmental implications of East Rapti Irrigation Project for Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Unpublished paper.

_____, 1988: Impact of climate change on the Bengal delta of Bangladesh. Proposal to the Carroll L. Wilson Award Committee. 13 pp.

_____, 1988: Where three oceans meet - the Agulhas Retroflection region. PhD dissertation. MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. 365 pp.

_____, J.M. Toole, and J.R. Luyten, 1988a: Interbasin exchange revisited. S. Atlantic Accel. Res. Initiative Meeting Rep., Lamont-Dougherty Geological Observatory, 67 pp. (abstract).

_____, _____, and _____, 1988b: The Agulhas Retroflection - Agulhas current transport in excess of wind-driven interior flow and multiple Retroflection branches. Abstracts of the Joint Oceanogr. Assem., Mexico 1988, 147 pp. (abstract).

_____, 1986: The relationship between vertical, diapycnal, and isopycnal velocity and mixing in the ocean general circulation. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 16, 167-174.

_____, James R. Luyten, and John M. Toole, 1985: The Agulhas and Agulhas Return Currents - analysis of CTD/O2 sections crossing the Currents and an XBT survey following the 15oC at 200 m contour. EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. U., 66(46), 930 (abstract).

_____, M.S. McCartney, and M.L. Bremer, 1983: Some aspects of the deep circulation of the tropical North Atlantic. EOS, Trans. Am. Geophys. U., 65(52), 1027 (abstract).

Brown, John, S. L. Bennett, Carlos Isles, and Tony Beck, 1994: Community-based operation and maintenance - case studies and lessons learned. Small Scale Water Control Structures III Project. Northwest Hydraulic Consultants/Cochrane Lavalin for CIDA and The World Bank.  58 pp. + 2 appendices.

Gordon, S., H. Wiebe, R. Jacksteit, S. Bennett, 2005:  Water resources management and the energy industry in Alberta, CanadaJournal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, August.  Presented at the 18th World Petroleum Congress, 25-29 Sep 2005, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Islam Q. R. and S. Bennett, 1998: Role of deepwater rice (Oryza sativa) to maintain aquatic environment in deeply flooded wetlands. In: Proceedings, 10th European Weed Research Society Symposium on Aquatic Weeds 1998, Lisbon.

Luyten, J., A. Spencer, S. Tarbell, K. Luetkemeyer, P. Flament, J. Toole, M. Francis, and S. Bennett, 1990: Moored current, AVHRR, CTD, and drifter data from the Agulhus Current and retroflection region (1985-1987), Vol. XLII, Woods Hole Ocean. Inst. Tech. Report 90-30, July.

McCartney, M.S., S.L. Bennett, and M.E. Woodgate-Jones, 1991: Eastward flow through the mid-Atlantic Ridge at 11N and its influence on the abyss of the eastern basin. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 21, 1089-1121.

Northeast Regional Water Management Project Team, 1995:  Northeast Regional Water Management Plan.  Flood Action Plan 6, Shawinigan-Lavalin Inc./Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Joint Venture for CIDA.

Pham Xuan Su, Nguyen Thai Lai, Sara L. Bennett, 1997: Water environment survey of two Red River Delta irrigation schemes. Internal report, ADB TA No. 2233-VIE, Capacity Building in the Water Resources Sector. May, vi pp. + 52 pp. + 7 annexes.

Sobhan, I. S., S. L. Bennett, and A. Karim, 1993: Some uses of aquatic plants in Northeast Bangladesh. International Symposium on Aquatic Weeds, September 1993, Dublin, Ireland (abstract).

Talukdar, Jyotirmoy and S. L. Bennett, 1994: Flood and erosion affected villages development project. Pre-feasibility study. Northeast Regional Water Management Project, Flood Action Plan 6, Shawinigan-Lavalin Inc./Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Joint Venture for CIDA. 34 pp. + 2 appendices.

Wiebe, H. D., and S. L. Bennett, 1991: Water resources mission to Vietnam, final report. Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, N. Vancouver, BC. Prepared for Brot fur die Welt, Stuttgart. 120 pp.

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