Designing for seismic safety & resilience – Pipeline to prosperity in Dhaka


Turn on a tap in Dhaka and there will be times when the water is undrinkable, or nothing comes out at all. The city of more than 18M people is one of the world’s most crowded, and many face going thirsty as ground water supplies decline. This presentation will discuss the challenges associated with delivering the Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project in a moderately seismic environment. As part of this scheme, water from the Meghna river will supply drinking water to 4M people in Dhaka by building 100km of new pipeline, some of the deepest tunnels in Bangladesh and the country’s biggest treatment plant. The biggest challenge was imposed by the ground conditions which consisted of transitional wet silts which have the potential to liquefy under a design scenario. A pragmatic risk-based approach was adopted with a combination of ground improvement using sand compaction piles and a selection of flexible pipeline joints designed to flex with earthquake movement. The presentation will also highlight the sustainable outcomes and benefits of using a multidisciplinary approach to deliver major infrastructure projects.

About the speakers

Barnali Ghosh is a Technical Director at Mott MacDonald (London) and a Fellow at Institute of Civil Engineer (FICE). She is a chartered civil engineer with specialization in Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering. She was recently selected among the top 50 women in engineering in UK in 2020. She is the International Winner of 2017 Shamsher Prakash Award for Excellence in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Practice. During her long career, she has acted as a seismic designer and reviewer for high-profile projects around the world. She has been propagating sustainable solutions for developing countries which have wide social outcomes. She remains connected to the academic world as a Royal Academy Visiting Professor at Cambridge University where she teaches Geo Seismic Engineering.

Jim Gelder is a Technical Director at Mott MacDonald (Cambridge) and Global Discipline Lead for Geohazards. He is an engineering Geologist with over 25 years’ experience working on projects in over sixty countries in all sectors ranging from thermal and hydropower, through pipelines for oil, gas and water to road, rail, aviation and flood protection infrastructure. His technical specialism include engineering in karst and earthworks as well as digital data management and digital delivery. He was design lead for the £100M Boston Barrier Flood Defence as well as manager of the 60 strong Mott MacDonald Dams and River Engineering community. Since work on the Boston project, Jim has become a keen advocate of embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into project delivery to promote better social outcomes for all. He also advocates on mental health matters in the construction sector.

Further information

This event is organised by SECED. The event will be chaired by Andreas Nielsen (Atkins). Attendance at this meeting is free for members and non-members alike.

In-person attendance

The event will held in-person at the Institution of Civil Engineers (see map below). Prior registration is not required. Seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 5.30pm - 6pm.

Online attendance

This event will also be broadcast online. Please register for the online broadcast prior to joining. The registration process will provide you with the link you need to join the main event.


Event Details

Event Date 30/03/2022 6:00 pm
Location Institution of Civil Engineers

Location Map