Being a downstream country and deltaic portion of a huge watershed, Bangladesh is naturally vulnerable to the water quality and quantity that flows into the country from the upstream. All major rivers, running through Bangladesh, have their origins outside its border, and, therefore, any interventions in the upper riparian regions have a significant impact on Bangladesh.
This complex network of river systems and its physical characteristic severely limit the degree of control and management of the inflow of water in the monsoon and dry season. The extreme variation of the temporal and spatial occurrence of rainfall is a major constraint to the development of agriculture, which still dominates the country?s economy. Under this situation, Bangladesh urgently needs protection from the dry season scarcity of water as well as flooding from the Ganges during the monsoon.
The Ganges dry season flows have been notably reduced since the construction of Farakka. Ecological situation in Bangladesh has been deteriorated to an irreparable level and salinity front has traveled up to 280 km upstream from seacoast. The Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, has already shown dying out affect due to increase in salinity level in the estuarine rivers.
For many years, India and Bangladesh have been at loggerheads and traded sharp accusations over shared river resources. After making several temporary agreements, India and Bangladesh entered into the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty in 1996.
Despite the treaty, Bangladesh still experiences severe scarcity of water flow in the dry season. India?s latest plan to divert vast quantities of water from major rivers, including the Ganges and Brahmaputra, will aggravate the situation further, threatening the livelihoods of more than 100 million people downstream in Bangladesh.
In this study we have tried to portray the real situation over sharing of water resources, especially the Ganges water, between the two countries with long historical background and pictures drawn from other research and studies.
The details of all the accords, agreements and treaties signed between the two countries to resolve the conflict centering water resources were discussed in detailed in this study with their merits and demerits. The study is a synthesis of collected data, official documents, reports, researches and studies prepared by various national and international organisations and investigations and interviews of water experts, academicians and concerned people.
In fact, the study is a reminder of the importance of regional and international cooperation on trans-boundary water resources and exploring their potentialities.