Md. Ruknul Ferdous

PhD fellow


Md Ruknul Ferdous has been working in the fields of water resources, hydrology, river morphology, flood forecasting and early warning system, river dredging for navigation, climate change studies and environmental and socio-economic assessments for more than 13 years. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Water Resources Engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh and Master of Science degree in Water Science and Engineering (specialization in Hydrology and Water Resources) at IHE Delft the Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands.

During the work on his MSc thesis, he gained experience in the field of “Socio-hydrology” and examined the dynamics of the southwest coastal region (Satkhira-Khulna-Bagerhat) of Bangladesh as a coupled human-water system. During the BSc thesis at BUET, he analysed the flow pattern in a meandering channel with floodplain.

He worked in a number of projects focusing on hydrology, river morphology, flood forecasting system and vulnerability assessment and adaptation to natural hazards and climate change, environmental and social impact assessment etc in Bangladesh, among which the most noteworthy are: “Geo-morphological Investigations and Plan-form Analysis using Remote Sensing Techniques and Environmental and Social Study of the Gorai River Restoration Project (GRRP)”, “Morphological analysis of Padma River in connection with the detailed design of the Padma Bridge”, “Morphological studies of the nine navigation routes of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA)”, “Comparative study on River Bank Protection and Erosion Control Practices in Bangladesh”, “Optimizing the dredging in the Jamuna and Padma Rivers”, “Sustainable End-to-End Climate/Flood Forecasting Application Through Pilot Projects Showing Measurable Improvements”, “Investigating the Impact of Relative Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Communities and their Livelihoods in Bangladesh” and “Impact of Sea Level Rise on Landuse Suitability and adaptation Options” etc. He is also experienced in river dredging and fixing dredging alignments in the rivers of Bangladesh to maintain navigation routes. During his career he has worked in the fields of disaster management and livelihood vulnerability analysis, climate change induced sea level rise vulnerability studies, community risk reduction programmes, environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment and resettlement planning studies. He is also capable of project management and quality control as well as producing research work plan and co-ordinating project activities. He has good interpersonal and communication skills, is self-motivated and has analytical capability and professional team leadership qualities. 

Md Ruknul Ferdous awarded doctoral degree on 15 January 2020. Find the link to his thesis here:


Socio-Hydrological Dynamics in Bangladesh

Research Summary

Bangladesh is a large delta and most of the people live in the overpopulated floodplains. Flows of people and water are very dynamic here. Flooding is a normal phenomenon and flood hazard along with river bank erosion are very much pronounced. The extremely poor people who are living in the char-lands (river islands) are most exposed to and affected by these hazards. Sometimes they have to flee temporarily in an emergency to the nearby areas or even permanently to other urban or rural areas due to the disappearance of the chars. Floodplain people of Bangladesh have to face lots of sufferings due to flooding and riverbank erosion and these bio-physical processes influence on social processes such as demographic shifts, land use changes, livelihood changes etc. The society is also taking different initiatives to cope with this hazards by constructing different interventions like embankments, dykes etc in the river bank and hampering the natural flow of water to the floodplain areas. Upstream structure like barrage also controls water levels and discharges and may possibly influence the increase of flooding and riverbank erosion to downstream of the river. Land use changes like constructing of new roads, buildings are reducing room for periodical overflow of rivers and putting pressure on the hydrological processes. Hydrological and social processes are intrinsically interconnected and their interplay is highly relevant in the Brahmaputra floodplain areas.

Interactions and feedback mechanism between bio-physical and social processes remain largely unexamined in the global scale and it is particularly true in a dynamic delta such as Bangladesh. A few studies tried to understand the relation between these two processes in Bangladesh. However, these studies tend to look at one or the other side of the interplay.

The main objective of this study is to explore these socio-hydrological dynamics in Bangladesh. This study will: i) develop hypotheses about the behaviour of the Brahmaputra floodplain as interdependent human-water system, and ii) test these hypotheses by studying the interplay between hydrological processes (flooding, riverbank erosion) and social processes (demographic shifts, land use change, livelihood changes). The results of the study, in particular will explore, if there is any co-evolution between human and water systems.

The initial test site will be the char lands region of Bangladesh. In this area, the dynamics of flood patterns, erosion, accretion, human population patterns and human interactions with the environment will be investigated by means of spatial and temporal analysis. The spatio-temporal correlation of social processes with the occurrence of physical events will allow testing hypotheses about the interactions between human and water systems in the Brahmaputra floodplain of Bangladesh.

The advanced understanding of the complex web of interactions between dynamic physical and social process will help to improve current policies for disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh. As socio-hydrology is related with short-term and long-term dynamics, understanding system dynamics might be of high interest to governments who are dealing with strategic and long term-decisions.

Funding Source: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, WOTRO Science for Global Development (NWO-WOTRO)

Project: Hydro-Social Deltas: Understanding flows of water and people to improve policies and strategies for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development of delta areas in the Netherlands and Bangladesh within the programme "Urbanizing Deltas of the World".


Ferdous, M. R., Wesselink, A., Brandimarte, L., Slager, K., Zwarteveen, M., and Di Baldassarre, G. (2018), Socio-hydrological spaces in the Jamuna River floodplain in Bangladesh, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 5159-5173,

Ferdous, M. R., Wesselink, A., Brandimarte, L., Slager, K., Mynett, A., & Zwarteveen, M. (2017, April). Living with floods in the Jamuna floodplain (Bangladesh): fight or flight? Technological and societal responses. In EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts (Vol. 19, p. 513).

Ferdous, M.R., Brandimarte, L., Di. Baldassarre, G., (2015), Understanding the dynamics interplay between hydrological and social processes of southwest coastal region of Bangladesh. Abstract presented in 26th IUGG General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) held in Prague, Czech Republic, June 22 –July 2, 2015 (Oral presentation).

Di Baldassarre, G., Yan, K., Ferdous, M. R., & Brandimarte, L. (2014). The interplay between human population dynamics and flooding in Bangladesh: a spatial analysis. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 364, 188-191.

Sarker, M. H., Thorne, C. R., Aktar, M. N., & Ferdous, M. R. (2014). Morpho-dynamics of the Brahmaputra–Jamuna River, Bangladesh. Geomorphology, 215, 45-59.

Hore, S. K., Sarker, M. H., Ferdous, M. R., Ahsan, M., & Hasan, M. I. (2013). Study of the off-take dynamics for restoring the Gorai River. In 4th International Conference on Water & Flood Management, Dhaka.

Sarker, M. H., Akter, J., Ferdous, M. R., & Noor, F. (2011). Sediment dispersal processes and management in coping with climate change in the Meghna Estuary, Bangladesh. IAHS-AISH publication, 203-217.

Mondal, M. S., Chowdhury, J. U., & Ferdous, M. R. (2010). Risk-based evaluation for meeting future water demand of the Brahmaputra floodplain within Bangladesh. Water resources management, 24(5), 853-869.

Bhuiyan, F., Ferdous, M.R., Haider, R. and Wormleaton, P., (2005), “3-Dimensional flow structure and Scour in Meandering Channel with Floodplain”, proceedings 3rd International Conference on Civil Engineering, March 9- 11, 2005, IEB, Dhaka, pp.15-22.


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