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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


Four kilometers of flood protection river wall has opened up 66 hectares (ha) of new, safe land for Bhutan’s second biggest city, located in a high-risk area of the Himalayan mountains.

The Phuentsholing Township Development Project seeks to protect the city from increasing floods, riverbank erosion, and landslides while also allowing for safe urban expansion to take place. New housing is often built precariously on steep hillsides and floodplains around the city, making residents vulnerable to natural disasters.

To address these challenges, the city is planning a number of developments to increase resiliency against floods and provide new areas for low-risk housing. Following a hydrological evaluation of the Amochhu river, the city was able to design a four kilometer flood protection wall designed to protect against 100 year flood events. By installing the wall, 66 ha of previously high-risk floodplain has been reclaimed for urban development.



As extra precautions for the new township in Phuentsholing, the city also raised the ground level, implemented extra drainage infrastructure, and is rolling out an early warning system for the whole city in case of extreme floods.

Funding for the $63 million project is provided in part by ADB in the form of a concessional loan and grant.

Phuentsholing is located on the border with India in the Himalayan foothills of southern Bhutan (photo by ADB).

The Challenge

Located between the Himalayan foothills and Amochhu River, safe development space is at a premium in Phuentsholing.


Economic The development provides new space for public services and commercial businesses, allowing the city to diversify its economy and provide employment opportunities for residents.

Social The township will be developed in an inclusive manner, with land allocated for social housing and infrastructure that is designed with gender-sensitive measures in mind.