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Water Policy Vol 11 No 2 pp 168–190 © IWA Publishing 2009 doi:10.2166/wp.2009.012

Integrated Ganges basin management: conflict and hope for regional development

Muhammad Mizanur Rahaman

Water Resources Laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, Tietotie 1E, PO Box 5200, Fin-02015 HUT, Espoo, Finland. E-mail: muhammadmizanur@gmail.com


ABSTRACT

The aim of this research is to highlight the various factors relating to the water conflict among the riparian countries in the Ganges basin and to examine the potential benefits of integrated water development. Lack of cooperation between the nations involved who promote a nationalistic approach for the management of the basin have made integrated development difficult. This paper examines the issues related to the utilization of the Ganges water resources, regional water-based development potentials and views of riparian countries on integrated Ganges basin management. It identifies four types of prospective benefit from integrated Ganges basin management: benefits to the river; benefits from the river; reducing costs because of the river; and benefits beyond the river. Finally, it recommends guidelines to overcome the constraints to integrated Ganges management and, hence, achieve overall regional development. This paper stresses the need to develop an integrated water management approach intended to foster regional development and overcome the prospect of severe water conflict along the Ganges basin.

Keywords: Development; Integrated Ganges basin management; Mutual benefits; Regional co-operation; Water conflict


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