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Sustainable Water Treaty: Converging To The Iwrm Goals

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Shampa Shampa, Asadul Bari, Swapna Das , Zareefa Islam Begum
1, Joint River Commission (JRC) , Bangladesh2, Center for North East Studies(C-NES), India3

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 12: Transboundary river basins and shared aquifers,
AbstractBackground and present state of the problem

Transboundary river basins and aquifers link approximately forty per cent of the world's population by supporting their incomes and livelihoods as well as playing one of the major roles in earth's eco-system services (UN Water, 2008). Transboundary lakes and river basins cover nearly one half of the Earth's land surface and at the same time contribute 60 per cent of total freshwater flow of the planet. But countries need to intervene these transboundary water bodies for their own development-arising water conflicts among the different riparian countries. Transboundary Water treaty comes as a solution of this conflict.

Treaties tell about how tell about how the regional water needs are met, over 3600 international water treaties has been drawn up since 805 AD (UN website, 2013). Among them 145 are related Transboundary Freshwater Dispute now. Sectoral distribution of these treates shows maximum of these related with Hydropower (39%), Water utilization (37%), flood control (9%) and others (15%) (HDR, 2006). South Asia, which is the home for 7 billion people experiences longstanding water disputes (Ashraf., A.S.M.A., 2012). Several studies (Ullah, 2009; Abbas, 1987; Nishat, A., 1996; Swai, A., 1993) have been done on treaties but most of them focus on a single or regional case study. Often they ignored the lessons from past experiences.

In south Asia the Indo-Pakistan Indus Treaty (1960), the Indo-Nepal treaties regarding the Kosi (1954), the Gandaki (1959), and the Mahakali (1996), and the Indo-Bangladesh Ganges Treaty (1996) have markedly suffered during implementation. While most of the above treaties focused on sharing, some also emphasized an integrated approach, including flood control and irrigation. The transboundary water treaties suffer from the present advance of science and do not address the future uncertainties. There is no scope for basin wise data sharing strategies. The provision for local water users and environmental considerations are almost absent except some provisions for environmental flows, which is also brings disputes. Under these circumstances a very crucial need arises for a conceptual format of a treaty which will satisfy all the needs- environmental viable, socially acceptable as well as free from South-Asian political ambiguity.

Objectives with specific aims and possible outcome

The main objective of this paper is to find-out the major constraints in the transboundary water treaty for sustainable water management and gives a way forward to this for South Asia. The specific aims are * Review and assess the present practice of transboundary water treaty in South Asia * Identify the gaps between existing approaches to ecosystem-based approaches for the existing treaties within the light of IWRM * Identify ways to formulate a sustainable water treaty. The expected outcome of this study is to an indication by which we can make a water treaty which will help to sustain the river in a nature friendly manner and keep the river outside the South-Asian political ambiguity for a healthy, better eco-system.

Outline of methodology

The study will be done through the review the secondary literatures. The treaties between the different countries of South-Asia like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Srilangka will be reviewed. The present practices of water management of different south Asian countries will be investigated. The future demand for water will be assessed based on the present practices of water management and contribution different sector like agriculture, industries etc on national GDP. The institutional arrangement that act responsible for maintaining the transboundary water treaty will also be investigated. An attempt will be made to make a room for managing the transboundary water within the extent of IWRM goals. Then a conceptual framework will be tried to develop for a sustainable solution of water conflicts through the transboundary water treaty.

Keywords: Transboundary, Water, Treaty, IWRM.

Abbas, A.B.M., (1987). The Ganges Dispute, Dhaka: UPL, 1987

Ashraf., A.S.M.A., (2012). Trans-Boundary Water Disputes in Africa, Europe, and South Asia; Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 16, N os. 1 & 2, June & December 2012

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Swai, A., (1993) "Conflicts Over Water: The Ganges Water Dispute", Security Dialogue, vol. 24, no. 4, 1993, pp. 429-439

Ullah, M., (2009). Water Disputes in South Asia: Threats to Security, Dhaka: Center for Sustainable Development, 2009

UN Water (2008). Transboundary Waters:Sharing Benefits, Sharing Responsibilities, United Nations Office, International Decade for Action 'Water for Life' 2005-2015 (UN-IDfA), based in Zaragoza, Spain.

UN website (2013) Transboundary Waters, Water for life 2005-2015

2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin