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POST TIME: 18 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Managing water resources of South Asia

Managing water resources of South Asia

It is positive that the need for transnational policies for water governance in South Asia is now being given increasing attention. In these days of challenges from climate change, water management should be a key discourse particularly for the countries of South Asia lying in the Himalayan basin. The need for transnational policies for water governance in this region was rightly underscored in a two-day conference titled ‘Himalayan Water Conference 2019: Highland-Lowland Interactions’ in the capital recently.  

It is given fact that water crisis is looming large over the countries in the Himalayan region and Bangladesh is no exception. Hitherto known as a land of rivers, this deltaic region faces crisis of water in every lean season. Due to paucity of water, many rivers here have dried up or in the process of dying. Similar situation is with other countries including India and Pakistan. Every country, big or small, needs water for sustaining life and development. The cause of equitable use of water can greatly be advanced if countries in the region agree to have transnational policies for water governance.

The noted water expert of Bangladesh, Prof. Dr. Ainun Nishat, pertinently pointed out that countries here cannot neglect the importance of water sharing and efficient management of trans-boundary water in the region with the emerging approach of basin-wise planning and management of huge water resources in the Himalayan region. This would benefit individual countries with hydropower generation, navigation facilities and disaster management in the context of climate change.

It cannot be overemphasised that all lives are interconnected across the boundaries through mountains, rivers and water in South Asia. A participating foreign expert at the conference pointed out environmental politics now can play a huge role in the regional and global development issues.

The South Asian region does not have an effective regional body to address the common problems facing the nation. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is now almost a doomed entity. In absence of any such organization, it has now become an imperative for the Himalayan region to find water governance policies to meet the unprecedented challenge from climate change that will incur huge economic, environment, social and political costs. Leaders of countries located in this region must now act seriously so that people of this region are saved.