MANAGING SOUTH ASIA'S SCARCE WATER RESOURCES
Promoting cooperation on transboundary water governance
South Asia is home to three of the most densely populated river basins in the world—the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra—which support an estimated 700 million people. The basins straddle national borders, linking water to complex geopolitical relations between countries in the region. As water scarcity intensifies, effective management of river basins is crucial to long-term peace, stability, and economic development in the region, which houses a third of the world's poor. With water part of larger ecological concerns, we see the need for greater cooperation and broad-based deliberation on transboundary water governance to help ensure that water scarcity and related conflict do not negatively affect the region's future.
In 2012, in partnership with local organizations in India and Bangladesh, and supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, we conducted an analysis of the Teesta River Basin. We also supported a regional grouping of NGOs from India, Bangladesh, and Nepal to disseminate information on transboundary water agreements online. In addition, we supported a workshop on water governance within the Ganges basin in which 20 participants from India, Bangladesh, and Nepal committed to preparing a people's charter on water governance in South Asia.