Experts for regional equitable sharing
Water experts from home and abroad yesterday suggested a regional approach for equitable sharing of water from trans-boundary rivers in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins and their management.
Security concerns arise for the lower riparian countries of the basins when the upper riparian countries try to manage common waters. Such concerns must be eradicated to avoid further conflicts over water, they said at a conference.
The basins mostly cover Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and 80 percent of Bangladesh. Floods during the monsoon and scarcity of water during the dry season are the basins' two extreme features affecting the region's biodiversity, livelihoods and industries.
The two-day regional conference, “Development and Management of River Basins: The Case of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna”, was organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies in collaboration with German-based think tank Konrad Adenauer Stiftung's Saarc Regional Programme.
“If states artificially stop the flow of common rivers, it will cause a major ecological imbalance in the basins,” said Air Vice-Marshal (retd) AK Khandker as the chief guest.
“Water is such a scarce resource that it will not be right for states to fight over it. The cost of non-cooperation will outweigh the cost of conflict,” he said, suggesting intense negotiations at multi-levels to resolve the region's pending water sharing issues.
Khandker, also the planning minister, suggested a joint study of each of the 54 common rivers between Bangladesh and India before any interventions.