Water and Communities in South Asia: A Case for Regional Cooperation
Increased use of water for hydropower and agriculture, due to population growth accounts for future water shortages that will affect a quarter of South Asiaâ€™s population by 2050. Water crises affect all member-nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. SAARC nations water needs exacerbate the water crisis on the one hand and lack of mechanisms for good governance and cooperation required for addressing issues related to food and water security within the region. This paper attempts to draw attention to the big picture regarding water resources management and the impacts of water scarcity on South Asian nations. The paper begins with a review of the water crises in each of the SAARC nations and follows on with consideration of perceptions towards transboundary river infrastructures and the political stances each nation takes about solutions for the continuing water crisis. Undoubtedly, the only mechanism that these nations can adapt to address the geopolitical challenges of a thirsty world, for which SAARC association provides the platform is a deliberate constructive solution centred dialogue. A range of recommendations for SAARC nations are reviewed with a view to assist the water thirst in these nations.
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