RFP: Consultancy Services for Flood Forecasting and Integrated Flood   Risk Management Planning for Beki, Buridehing and Jiadhal sub-basins of Brahmaputra River in Assam

The World Bank

Assam, India 🇮🇳


Country – India

Project – Assam Integrated River Basin Management Program (AIRBMP)

Project No.: P174593

Assignment Title: Consultancy Services for Flood Forecasting and Integrated Flood   Risk Management Planning for Beki, Buridehing and Jiadhal sub-basins of Brahmaputra River in Assam.


1.         The Water Resources Department (Externally Aided Projects) wing has applied through Flood & River Erosion Management Agency of Assam, the Project Management Unit (PMU) for financing from the World Bank toward the cost of the AIRBMP project and intends to apply part of the proceeds for consulting services to prepare investment for next phase of the project.

2.         The objective of the Consultancy Service is to develop Flood Forecasting and Integrated Flood Risk Management Planning (IFRMP) to Water Resources Department and Assam State Disaster Management Agency of Assam. This consultancy will henceforth be referred as the Flood Consultancy. The Consultancy Service is expected to provide the support to FREMAA, Water Resource Department (WRD) and Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and other partner institutions/stakeholders in Capacity Building, Baseline Diagnostic and Flood Risk Assessment, develop Flood Forecasting and Advance Modelling Toolsets, IFRM Planning & Strategy, Preparation of DPR, ESIAs, RAPs, Bid Documents and Bill of Quantities for selected investments. The Consulting Services include following scopes (Annexure 1 provides a summary of Terms of Reference for this assignment which is available in the websites of www.assamtenders.gov.in, www.fremaa.assam.gov & waterresources.assam.gov.in):

a.         Task A: Develop Water Resources Baseline Information to serve as the bases for the operational flood forecasting system (Task B) and Integrated Flood Risk Management Planning (Task C) activities.

b.         Task B: Develop Operational Flood Forecasting System for Beki, Buridehing and Jiadhal sub-basins of the Brahmaputra River basin with improved lead-forecasting time providing floodplain location specific forecasts and specified by type of flooding (pluvial or fluvial flooding).

c.         Task C: Develop Integrated Flood Risk Management Planning utilizing both integrated water resources management and disaster risk management principles and approaches to conceptualize and prepare the engineering design of priority WRD investments in Beki, Buridehing, and Jiadhal sub-basins for construction under Phase 2 of AIRBMP.

3.         FREMAA now invites eligible consulting firms (“Consultants”) to express their interest in providing the services.  Interested Consultants should provide information demonstrating that they have the required qualifications and relevant experience to perform the services. The information should include comprehensive descriptions of previous relevant assignments including nature of assignment, contract date, contract amount, person man months provided by the firm, and role of the firm in the contract (Lead Firm, Joint Venture member, sub-consultant, etc.,). The general criteria which will be taken into consideration in the short-listing process include experience in similar assignments of compatible size, complexity, and technical specialty in the required areas. Similar assignment means:

a.         Hydrological and hydraulic modelling as well as sediment transport and morphological modeling for stream flow and channel migration simulations, for the purpose of deriving design parameters and forecasting in a river environment.

b.         River Basin Planning, Flood Risk Management / Planning or other relevant IWRM related planning studies with the objective to identify a set of strategic investments under a multi-stakeholder umbrella.

c.         The engineering design of river works in a highly morphologically dynamic river environment.

d.         Undertaking of environmental and social studies (e.g., ESIA, ESMP, RAP) in the context of infrastructure investments in a river environment.

e.         World Bank or other development partners funded projects in Asia, preferably South Asia or South-East Asia.

f.          The firm must demonstrate to be capable of managing a large technically and institutionally complex project.

4.         The attention of interested Consultants is drawn to paragraphs 3.14, 3.16, and 3.17 of the “World Bank Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers” Fourth Edition November 2020, setting forth the World Bank’s policy on conflict of interest.

5.         Consultants may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or a sub-consultancy to enhance their qualifications. The Consultants shall clearly state the role of each member in the association (Lead, JV partner, or Sub-consultant) in their expression of interest.

6. While evaluating Expression of Interest (EOI), the employer will assign higher score for larger number of years in core business, experience of similar role in implementing larger number of Projects or high value Projects of similar nature and comparable complexity,

7.         A Consultant will be selected in accordance with the Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS) method as set out in Section VII, paragraph 7.3 of the World Bank’s “Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers” Fourth Edition November 2020. Shortlisted Consultants will be invited to submit their Technical and Financial proposals as per the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents to be issued to them.

8.         The Terms of Reference for the assignment can be found as Annexure-I and also at the following weblink: www.assamtenders.gov.in, www.fremaa.assam.gov & waterresources.assam.gov.in

9.         Queries should be submitted online through e-procurement portal or may be mailed at worldbank.wrd@gmail.com with subject line – “Query- EOI/Flood Consultancy -WRD(EAP) (Name of the Firm)” latest by 20/01/2023. The consolidated replies of queries will be uploaded at www.assamtenders.gov.in on or before 29/01/2023 at 17:00 HRS

10.         Interested firms/organizations may upload Expressions of Interest along with the aforesaid supporting documents at the e-procurement portal of Govt. of Assam viz. www.assamtenders.gov.in as detailed below.

Key Dates:

i)          Online EoI proposal submission Start Date: 31/01/2023 at 9.00 HRS (IST)

ii)        Online EoI proposal submission End Date:  14/02/2023 at 14.00 HRS (IST)

iii)       Online opening of EoIs through www.assamtenders.gov.in 14 /02/2023. at 14.30 HRS (IST)

Address for Communication:

Office of the Chief Engineer

Water Resources Department

5th Floor, Assam Water Centre, Near Basistha Police Station,

Kundil Nagar, Basistha Chariali, Guwahati–781029, Assam     

E-mail: worldbank.wrd@gmail.com, hiu.wrd@gmail.com

Annexure-I: Abbreviated Terms of Reference

A. Project Description

The Government of Assam (GoA) has approached the World Bank to provide support through the proposed Assam Integrated River Basin Management Program (AIRBMP) to reduce flood and river erosion risks and adopt integrated water resources management in the state. The proposed program focuses on strengthening institutions, filling critical knowledge gaps, and implementing integrated solutions to tackle the current challenges of floods and erosion, and to seize opportunities for climate resilient growth and improved livelihoods. The proposed program will be implemented in three phases with Phase-1 focusing on laying the groundwork for implementing integrated water resources in Assam and selected critical infrastructure interventions for flood and river erosion risk management.

AIRBMP-Phase1 will have three main components with component 4 reserved for Contingent Emergency Response.

Component 1: Institutional Strengthening and Strategic Studies. This component focuses on institutional strengthening of WRD and ASDMA and consists of three subcomponents.

Component 1.1 Institutional Strengthening of WRD to help WRD to make the transition from a department focused on structural flood control solutions to a broader integrated water resources management (IWRM) department that helps Assam sustainably develop its abundant water resources and uses a portfolio of structural and non-structural measures, including nature-based solutions, to help reduce flood and river erosion risks in collaboration with ASDMA. Activities include: i) preparing the first ever Assam State Water Policy; ii) undertaking a set of Assam-Brahmaputra Basin strategic studies and preparing a “State of the Basin Report;” iii) promoting water resources transboundary knowledge exchanges between Assam, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, and collaboration between the seven northeast India states within the Brahmaputra River basin; and iv) upgrading WRD’s management information systems.

Component 1.2: Institutional strengthening of ASDMA to support a set of studies that inform ASDMA’s strategic approach and improve its effectiveness. These include:  i) a multi-hazard risk financing strategy including potentially a weather-based parametric insurance scheme; ii) improving ASDMA’s post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) capacity; and iii) developing a flash flood forecasting feasibility study for Assam’s mountainous regions.

Component 1.3: FREMAA Project Management and Incremental CostsThis encompasses i) overall Project Management Technical Consultancy (PMTC)ii) communication and outreach; iii) specialized individual consultants; iv) equipment; and iv) FREMAA’s incremental operating costs.

Component 2: Water Resources Management. This component finances the structural and non-structural activities to reduce flood and river erosion risks in selected sub-basins and establishes a foundation for IWRM. There are five subcomponents.

Component 2.1. River Works Investments in Beki and Buridehing River Basins. This consists of approximately 50 kms of river works, including riverbank anti-erosion works and strengthening existing flood control embankments. A provisional sum, approximately US$15 million, is reserved for similar small and high priority works that may emerge in any part of Assam.

Component 2.2: Flood Forecasting, Flood Risk Management Plans, and Investment Preparation. Integrated flood risk management plans (IFRMP) will be prepared for the Assam parts of the Beki, Buridehing, and Jiadhal basins. The IFRMPs will be developed under the co-leadership of WRD and ASDMA and produce an action plan that encompasses both structural and non-structural activities, including an investment program for Phase 2. It will also upgrade the existing Assam Flood Early Warning System (FLEWs) by increasing forecasting lead times and include both river and floodplain inundation forecasts. WRD’s hydro-informatics unit (HIU), in collaboration with NESAC, will be responsible for flood forecasting and ASDMA will provide early warning through the upgraded EWDS described in Component 3.

Component 2.3 Data Collection and Embankment Asset Management. This includes several contracts to support WRD’s forecasting and planning activities, including hydro-met stations, river cross-sections, LiDAR survey, bathometric surveys, etc., A flood embankment asset management plan will be prepared, for implementation in subsequent phases.

Component 2.4: Assam Water Center Annex: for the construction of a new building to support WRD’s HIU, which will be located next to the Assam State Water Data Center and adjacent the new ASDMA headquarters to facilitate interagency collaboration during flood disasters.

Component 2.5: WRD Project Management and Incremental Costs including: i) communication and outreach; ii) specialized individual consultants; iii) equipment; and iv) WRD incremental operating costs.

Component 3: Disaster Risk Management. This will help Assam improve its disaster mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery capacity. It has five subcomponents.

Component 3.1: Flood Shelters: involves the construction of 5-10 new flood shelters, and the upgrading/augmentation of around 30 schools that are currently designated as shelters. Each shelter will serve approximately 400-500 people and are designed to offer people a haven from floods and river erosion. The shelters will be designed and operated to accommodate the specific needs of women, children, persons with disability, and other vulnerable populations.

Component 3.2: Early Warning and Dissemination System: will support an end-to-end early warning dissemination system across the Assam that is supported by intelligent geospatial analytics and an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) management system. Activities include: i) upgrading EOCs at the state and district levels; ii) providing geo-referenced alerts using cell-phone broadcasting; and iii) establishing a geospatial laboratory.

Component 3.3: Revenue Circle Disaster Management: consisting of training and equipping revenue circle quick response teams. A revenue circle is the lowest administrative unit of the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management (DR&DM) which has front-line responsibility for responding to disasters. Training facilities at the Assam Civil Defense and Home Guard Central Training Institute will also be upgraded.

Component 3.4: Climate Resilient Villages: will enhance community resilience through the preparation of approximately 50 Village Disaster Mitigation Plans. In around 25 of these villages, ASDMA will construct low-cost resilient housing structures that utilize local materials and are able to withstand high flood levels. The construction of these “technical demonstration units” (TDUs) will be accompanied by capacity building on resilient housing and are intended to motivate villages in upgrading their own homes. ASDMA will also provide training and essential equipment to the participating villages, including lightning arrestors, emergency response kits, emergency warning systems, etc.

Component 3.5: ASDMA Project Management and Incremental Costs: including: i) communication and outreach; ii) specialized individual consultants; iii) equipment; and iv) WRD incremental operating costs.

Component 4: Contingent Emergency Response Component: This allows an immediate response to an Eligible Crisis or Emergency, as needed, from other components to partially cover emergency response and recovery costs. This component could also be used to channel additional funds should they become available because of the Emergency.

B. Project Context

The State of Assam is strategically important as the largest and most populous state in the northeast. The state faces many of the challenges prevalent in other parts of the northeast, but also holds tremendous potential for development through improved water resources management. Assam forms the physical and economic backbone of the region, connecting mainland India with the other northeastern states through the Siliguri corridor. Climate change is expected to exacerbate the water-related challenges in Assam. Climate modeling studies project an increase in the frequency of extreme flooding events for the period 2020-2059 due to higher monsoon precipitation over the Indus-Ganga-Brahmaputra River basins and accelerated glacial melting in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau due to warmer temperatures. The 2022 monsoon has shown how devastating these floods can be.

C. Project Location

Phase 1 of the AIRBMP will focus on the Buridehing, Beki and Jiadhal subbasins which are tributaries of the Brahmaputra River. The Integrated Flood Risk Management Planning scope will be limited to the areas of the basins within Assam.

River Sub-BasinApprox. Total Area (sq. km)Approx. Area in Assam state (sq.km)

All three basins face a set of complex interrelated problems that require an integrated approach with multiple interventions. The following key challenges were identified;

  • Riverbank erosion causing direct loss of cultivable land as well as posing a potential threat to critical infrastructure (bridges, roads, schools, and other critical buildings) and loss of floodplain forest reserves.
  • Pluvial flooding: direct rainfall and surface run-off causing flooding of low-lying floodplain areas (back-swamp) and waterlogging due to lack of sufficient drainage capacity.
  • Fluvial flooding (overtopping): Increased River discharge causing riverbank and embankment (slow flooding)
  • Fluvial flooding (breaching): Failure of embankments and subsequent inundation of floodplain areas behind the embankment (back swamp) because of increased water level in the river or by erosion of the riverbank (flash flooding).
  • River course shifting: Loss of cultivable and assets (houses, schools, roads, or other infrastructure) by riverbank erosion. Meander cut-off may disconnect water intake facilities from the river, cut-off access roads amongst others.
  • Urban, Town and Village Flooding due to direct fluvial flooding or indirectly due to a lack of sufficient drainage infrastructure or siltation of existing infrastructure (with sediment, waste or overgrown by vegetation)
  • Land Use Management and Flood Zoning to reduce flood risks
  • Floodproofing critical infrastructure and structures
  • Climate change impacts – exacerbating adverse impacts of already high flood risk in Assam.
  • Protecting and restoring wetlands and water sensitive eco-systems – rehabilitation of former wetlands or connecting existing wetlands, disconnected from the river by embankments.
  • Enhancing flood/river erosion response and recovery activities

D. Objectives of the assignment

The objective of this consultancy is to assist the Government of Assam in improving flood and river erosion risk management by taking an integrated water resources management approach. The primary focus of the consultancy will be to help the Assam Water Resources Department (WRD) develop Integrated Flood Risk Management Plans (IFRMPs) and an Operational Flood Forecasting System for the Beki, Buridehing and Jiadhal river basins.

The consultant will also support WRD develop Water Resources Baseline Information and an information management system to support IFRM and Flood Forecasting activities. As part of this support, the consultant is expected to help establish a comprehensive water resources baseline with information of the climate, hydrology, natural resources, and existing and proposed investment options in the three subbasins, including for water storage, hydropower, irrigation, watershed management, water supply, and environmental services. The Consultant will also help develop an appropriate Information Management System that will be a central data base and interface for data storage, management of models and to automate the flood forecasting system.

The expected results of this assignment are:

  • Integrated Flood Risk Management Plans and associated investment plan to reduce flood and river erosion risk for the Beki, Buridehing and Jiadhal sub-basins of the Brahmaputra River and preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for priority flood and river erosion risk management investments to be implemented under Phase 2 of AIRBMP.
  • A real-time flood forecasting system for the three sub-basins with improved lead-forecasting time and reliability.
  • A Water Resources Baseline Information and an Information Management System to serve as an integrated suite of tools and impact assessment methodologies designed to understand the hydrological, environmental, social, and economic implications of sub-basin-wide investment strategies to reduce floods and river erosion risks.

All activities are to be complemented with appropriate stakeholder consultation (after systematic identification and topology of stakeholders) and training/capacity-building, sub-catchment modelling and documentation activities at all stages of this work.

  1. Abbreviated Scope of Services

Task A: Development of Water Resources Baseline Information

The objective of task A under Component 2.2 of AIRBMP is to develop a water resources baseline information to serve as the bases for flood risk management planning and the operational flood forecasting activities. This task will include developing a data management system to store and access hydro-met timeseries data, geo-spatial spatial layers, modelling and analytical tools, and other datasets required for an integrated flood risk management and operational flood forecasting. The task includes developing standard data protocols and Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) mechanisms for the information that will be stored in the data management system. The task also includes developing the water resources baseline information for Beki, Buridehing, and Jiadhal sub-basins by collecting relevant data available at the implementing agencies and other national and international sources during implementation of the project. The baseline information should be stored in the data management system following the QA/QC protocols.

Task B: Operational Flood Forecasting System

The purpose of this task is to support WRD in developing an operational real-time flood forecasting on village level for Beki, Buridehing and Jiadhal sub-basins. The Flood Forecasting system should be an extension of the existing Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS) that has been developed and operationalized by the Northeastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC). The enhanced Flood Forecasting System will be equipped with improved lead-forecasting time and will be extended from 1D to also providing floodplain location specific forecasts, specified by type of flooding (pluvial or fluvial flooding). Flooding of the floodplain areas happens under influence of different flood drivers, ranging from flooding due to direct rainfall (pluvial flooding), indirect consequences of constraint drainage capacity, to flooding due to riverbank overtopping or back water flooding as indirect consequence of water levels in the main river (fluvial flooding).  

The objective of task B of this assignment is to strengthen the capacity of Assam WRD to effectively plan for and respond to significant hydro-meteorological hazards/extreme flood events and support ASDMA in flood early warning systems with 72-hours lead flood forecasting.

WRD has come to an agreement with the NESAC on provision of hands-on technical support to WRD Hydro Informatics Unit (HIU) in developing the enhanced flood forecasting system. An MoU between WRD and NESAC has been signed in June 2022. The responsibility for the development of the Flood Forecasting system fully lies with the consultant, however, the Flood Forecasting consultant will be supported and supplemented by NESAC existing data and model inputs as part of NESAC MoU with WRD. NESAC will also train WRD (HIU) staff for attaining self reliance in operational flood forecasting in the long run through providing training and technical hand holding after handing over the operational flood models to the HIU, WRD. The HIU will be housing the flood forecasting system and it’s experts will be responsible to perform operationl flood forecasting after the system is developed.

Task C: Integrated Flood Risk Management Planning

The objective of task C under Component 2.2 of AIRBMP is to conceptualize and prepare the engineering design of priority WRD investments in Beki, Buridehing, and Jiadhal sub-basins for construction under Phase 2 of AIRBMP. An Integrated Flood Risk Management Planning Framework will be needed as the set of issues related to flood and riverbank erosion as well as opportunities to sustainably develop water resources in these basins require sophisticated, integrated spatial planning that goes far beyond the no-regret investments in Component 2.1. The Integrated Flood Management Plans (IFRMPs) will utilize both integrated water resources management and disaster risk management principles and approaches. In addition to the IFRMPs, the activities will include preparation of WRD-related investment programs for Phase 2 financing of the AIRBM program.

  1. Deliverables and Schedule of Payments

The Consultancy contract shall be lump sum with payments made against clearly defined deliverables (see Table 1). The contract has an estimated total duration of 24 months. There may be a follow-on assignment for 12 months to provide operational flood forecasting support based upon satisfactory completion of the initial assignment.

  1. Required Expertise of Consulting Firm and Key Experts

The consultancy will be overseen by a Team Leader with support from a resident Deputy Team Leader for each sub-basin. The Consultant team is composed of a multi-disciplinary team of experts with international and Indian background

For most of the above staff positions, professional experience in Asia, and in India in particular, would be an advantage. Most senior key expert positions require broad international experience, whereas some key expert positions require specific regional and national consultants/specialists with fit-for-purpose qualifications who speak the local languages and are familiar with communication with local stakeholders.   

The indicative composition of the team is listed below. However, the consultants should make their own estimates of staffing resources and level of effort required to complete the assignment satisfactorily. The Consultant may propose additional experts and administrative staff as may be needed to successfully fulfil the tasks outlined under this TOR. The Consultant is encouraged to a follow the ‘best team approach’. The estimated person-months for the assignment are on the order of 589, which may be adjusted in the Request for Proposal. The following list describes the indicative staff positions for the assignment, which may be adjusted in the Request for Proposal.

Staffs with International Experience

  1. Senior River Basin Management Expert
  2. Senior Hydrologist & Flood Forecasting Expert
  3. Senior Disaster Risk Management Expert
  4. Senior Information Management and Decision Support Systems Expert
  5. Senior Geo-morphologist & Sediment Management Specialist
  6. Senior Sediment Transport and Morphological Modelling Expert
  7. Senior Hydraulic Modelling Specialist

Staffs with National/Regional Experience

  1. River Engineer + Project Management
  2. Senior Integrated River Basin Management Expert
  3. Social Safeguards Specialist
  4. GIS Specialist
  5. River Basin Modelling Specialist
  6. Hydraulic modeling Expert
  7. Sediment Transport and Morphology Modeller
  8. River Engineer (Anti-erosion and anti-flood works design)
  9. Environment Safeguards Specialist
  10. Training and Capacity Building Expert
  11. Economist – Financial Analyst
  12. Ecosystem Service Specialist (Terrestrial ecosystem)
  13. Agriculture Specialist
  14. Procurement and Contract Management Specialist
  15. Information Management Specialist/Database expert

Non- Key staff

  1. Mid-level Water Resources Engineer
  2. Mid-level River Basin Modelling Specialist
  3. Mid-level River Engineer (Anti-erosion and anti-flood works design)
  4. Mid-level Hydrological (Rainfall-Runoff) Modelling Specialist
  5. Mid-level Flood Modelling Specialist
  6. Data Analysts
  7. Auto-CAD Drafts person (Civil 3D)
  8. Accountant
  9. Secretarial Assistants
  10. Office Assistants




IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development