Nepal and Bangladesh, with the per capita water availability of 9,122 m3 and 8,809 m3 respectively, are deemed richer, compared to the neighbors (2,961 m3 in Pakistan, 2,642 m3 in Sri Lanka, 2,259 m3 in China and 1,880 m3 in India). However, tragicomic situation of “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink” exists. This is mainly due to, specifically in the case of Nepal, flood during 4 months and drought in 8 months. While the water table is declining at a rate of one foot per year averaged over the Indian states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, including the national capital territory of Delhi, more than 438,000 square kilometers. Bangladesh, on the other hand is ravaged by flood regularly.
It has been estimated that approximately 70% of dry season flow and 40% of annual flow of the Ganga River comes through Nepal; the terrain and topography of which affords opportunity to add temporal and spatial value in terms of flood control and provide augmented/regulated flow during dry season for irrigation; generating high value electricity (peak-in power) cost effectively as a byproduct. For the purpose, reservoir projects will have to be built in Nepal’s mid-hills. For which regional cooperation, amongst Ganga basin countries, focusing on proper apportionment of both positive externalities and negative externalities is sine qua non.
Abstract of my presentation in Dhaka on the auspices of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies made in August 2012.