Why India and Bangladesh Should Renew the Ganges Water Treaty?

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The 30-year agreement for sharing Ganges water between India and Bangladesh will run its course in 2026. The Ganga, a basin with a high population density and abundant natural resources, is shared by India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. With a population of 37 million, Bangladesh is the basin’s lower riparian nation. The Ganges water serves as exigent for the social, political, and economic growth of the inhabitants of the basin. It is alarming to see how the Ganges River basin’s demand-supply mismatch is growing. It is clear that water stress in the Ganga basin has increased as a result of industrialization, agriculture, urbanization, rising population, and climate change.

The Ganga Treaty, which inspected a new route for regional cooperation between India and Bangladesh, determines the share of the Ganges flow. The Ganges water also aids in the transformation of national development by fostering the growth of the communities reliant on it in the basin. India and Bangladesh, however, get advantages from a functioning framework for managing the shared Ganges water. Given Gange’s geographical position, India as the basin’s Upstream and Bangladesh as downstream nation, the basin’s dearth of water resources, and the Ganges water treaty’s impending expiration in 2026, Bangladesh and India need to renew it for both its own basin water security and the development of both nations.

The Supply Side

The supply side becomes an integral dimension of Ganges water security in and of itself. The geographical development of the basin with upstream and downstream concerns necessitates the supply side. Since the basin’s overall water intake and outflow dictate the supply dimension, the downstream flow also can immediately impede the basin’s development by affecting the upstream flow. Upstream and downstream flow, which serve as a river’s lifeblood, are connected to the supply side. At the same time, the development of the water-related crisis and an acceptable amount and quality of water are taken into account on the supply side due to the fact that the supply side primarily focuses on production, the environment, people, economy, ecosystem, livelihood, and health. Additionally, the supply option can enhance agricultural management, water productivity, water quality, biodiversity and changes in the climate. It is clear that, if the water could be effectively safeguarded and supplied in a sustainable fashion, the supply feature of water might boost human growth and security. Given both Bangladesh and India share the Ganga and are both highly dependent on their supply side one another for their own national development, it is important to consider the need for its renewal for both countries.

Food Security

Ganga’s concerns agriculture and cultivation, which are likewise dependent on the supply of water, water is a necessary component for the production of food. The Ganga basin’s riparian population is having trouble producing enough food as a result of the water shortage, which is affecting their ability to live and survive. The Ganga’s supply side issues are related to its food problems. Therefore, the production of food in terms of supply efficiency denotes enough agricultural output to support a community or a nation. It is becoming evident that the production of food will be impacted if the supply side is hindered. It is crucial to take into account the Ganga basin’s supply efficiency in order to ensure food security for both countries.

Sustainability

Sustainability mandates supply efficiency as a further key issue, ensuring water-related social, economic, and ecological needs. For example, it guarantees the natural environment in terms of safeguarding and enhancing everyone’s safe access to enough safe water for a continuing healthy, productive life at a reasonable price. In this broad context, it therefore encompasses ensuring the food supply, satisfying basic needs, preserving ecosystems, sharing water resources, reducing risks, managing water, and valuing water. For all of that, Ganges water serves as a resource for a number of actors, including those in the fields of health, food, urban planning, and the environment. In addition, water’s supporting norms distinguish it as both a connecting and a supporting actor. As far as the Ganga basin is concerned, shared by India and Bangladesh, the overall development relies on its sustainability if both India and Bangladesh can consider renewing the Ganga Treaty.

Societal Security

Since ganga water is crucial to the growth of people, it also has societal implications. Water informed by healthy individuals and sound ecosystems is a source of life, a means of sustenance, and a provider of income. The Ganges water has a significant impact on the societal development of the basin communities. It can also cause harm, devastation, and even deprivation, impeding efforts to address societal issues. Droughts, floods, landslides, epidemics, erosion, desertification, pollution, and disease can all result from a lack of supplies. The destructive qualities of water, such as its necessity, unpredictable nature, movement, and tremendous force, can exacerbate ganga. The Ganga basin’s ability to sustain itself depends on the availability of supplies.

Economic Security

The Ganga water resources have always been and remain vital to efforts to advance society, combat poverty, and promote sustainable development. The Ganges water resources supported by the availability of water and the availability of water based on supply sufficiency were crucial for the economic growth of the basin communities in terms of their way of life. Water management and development are a top priority for the sake of economic development.

The Ganges Water Treaty incorporates a variety of factors, including ecological, socioeconomic, and environmental considerations, some of which are intertwined. Because Ganges water is integral to food, social development, and sustainability, all of which resemble human progress. As the Ganges treaty is set to expire in 2026, there has been an emerging need for it to renew from both sides. So, both nations must have good water governance to use and manage the Ganges River’s shared waterscape. Both Bangladesh and India will be able to further consolidate their ties through the renewal of the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty.

– Anup Kumar Saha, PhD Researcher, Department of International Relations, South Asian University, New Delhi.

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