Monday, April 15, 2013

Water Cooperation in the Ganga Basin

The governments of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh (NIB) have made a commitment to join together in managing the hydropower and water resources of the Ganga river basin. This decision comes during the UN-declared International Year of Water Cooperation, which emphasizes international cooperation in the management of water resources. With growing populations and diminishing resources, cooperation is imperative to managing resources effectively.
According to UN Water, there are 276 transboundary river basins in the world, shared by a total of 148 countries. Without cooperation, water is not managed in the most effective way, and detrimental effects are passed on to people and the economy. Conversely, water that is shared and managed encourages mutual sustainable development, as well as peace and prosperity.
An article in The Hindu states that the NIB Ministries of Power, Water Resources, and External Affairs have concluded that “the Ganga Basin has tremendous potential for development of water resources and hydropower. Therefore, the role of the Ganga in the agriculture, hydro-power, fisheries, navigation, and environmental sectors and in the economy of the co-basin countries is vital. The joint initiative will contribute to poverty eradication and better socio-economic integration.” The note states that the initiative will focus on technically and geographically feasible augmentation and equitable distribution of water and power, overseen by the Committee of Water Resources and Power Ministries of the NIB. In addition to improving access and quality of water resources, this initiative serves as an example of an international partnership that will contribute to long-term sustainable development, economic growth, and sub-regional cooperation.

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