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Water Wars: Consuming, Conserving and Sharing Water Resources in South Asia

Water is an increasingly precious resource. In Asia, the sharing of our rivers and water sources can be a bitterly divisive issue, pitting state against state, country against country. A network of treaties and endless diplomatic wrangling have shaped this process over the years, but whether it’s Pakistan and India’s mutual dissatisfaction over the Indus Water Treaty, India’s opposition to China’s proposed diversion of the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, or Bangladesh’s concerns over the division of waters from the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin, water sharing is a source of much contention.

Meanwhile, recent disasters like the landslide that blocked the Sun Kosi River in Nepal  and the floods in Kashmir have underlined the role of data sharing and cross-border arrangements in averting such tragedies. As the effects of climate change are felt across the region, the need for collaborative, innovative responses is only growing.

Join SciDev.Net’s expert panel as we discuss South Asia’s water worries and look for proactive solutions.

Date: 12/09/2014

Time: 3.30pm – 5pm (IST) 

The debate will take place in the comment section below. Please login below and add your comments and questions on the thread.

We will be cross-posting any questions we get via Twitter (@SciDevNet_SA) using the hashtag #asianwaters, so please get in touch.

Madhukar Upadhya has  over 22 years of experience in natural resource management, rehabilitation of water induced disaster affected areas, watershed management, water supply, soil conservation, bio-engineering and rural development and transport. While working on the Bagmati Watershed Project in Nepal, he developed a water-centric approach to watershed management and successfully re-established the use of traditional dug-out ponds that helped reduce erosion, increase slope stability and enhance food and water security across the middle mountains.

Shafqat Kakakhel is a retired senior Pakistani diplomat (1969-1998) and a former deputy head of the UN Environment Programme (1998-2007). Since retirement in early 2008, he has actively participated in efforts to promote environmental protection and sustainable development as a member of a UN Panel on Clean Development Mechanisms and a Pakistani Task Force on Climate Change, as well as a member and currently chairperson of the think tank, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Co-Chair, Climate Change Network-South Asia (CANSA).

Sudhirendar Sharma, an acknowledged expert and writer on water sharing issues, published  "Disputes over the Ganga"  as a research output in 2004 for the Panos Institute, London. Based in New Delhi Sharma has travelled extensively in South Asia to study distrust and suspicion over water sharing on the sub-continent.
Dilrukshi Handunnetti, our moderator, is a multiple award-winning Sri Lankan investigative journalist, lawyer and trainer. Handunnetti is just back in Colombo after receiving the WASH Media Award 2014 at  the World Water Week at  Stockholm.

Also joining us:
Zubair A Dar has worked as a journalist from Srinagar, reporting on water conflicts and environmental concerns besides other issues. In 2010 he moved to Delhi where he organized Track II dialogue between India and Pakistan over pressing issues like water sharing and mutual security. 

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