The Ganges River Basin: Status and Challenges

Our next Bonn Water Lecture will be with Dr. Luna Bharati (International Water Management Institute IWMI and Center for Development Research ZEF, University of Bonn)

Date:              Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 5.30 p.m. - 7.00 p.m.
Venue:           University of Bonn, Department of Geography, „Red Room“ (Room no. 116 Ground Floor), Meckenheimer Allee 166, 53115 Bonn

About this lecture:
The Ganges River Basin spans China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. About 1200 billion m3 of precipitation falls into the basin each year and over 500 billion m3 flow into the Ganges river. The rest recharges the groundwater or evaporates. With a catchment area of nearly 1.1 million km2, the Ganges basin supports over 500 million people in agriculture-based livelihood systems in South Asia, who value the Ganges not only for irrigation, drinking water and energy production but also have a spiritual and emotional connection to the river. The Ganges is also unique as it is considered sacred in Hindu scriptures. Ironically, the river is heavily polluted. Due to overuse of the river, water flows have been shrinking and the pollutant loads increasing. Fecal contamination is especially a serious issue due to inadequate management of sanitation and waste.

A recently published book presents the first comprehensive overview of the key issues and challenges facing the Basin. Authors from the three main riparian nations assess the status and trends of water resources, including surface water sources, groundwater, pollution, floods, drought and climate change. They describe livelihood systems in the basin, and the social, economic, geopolitical and institutional constraints, including transboundary disputes, to achieving productive, sustainable and equitable water access. Management of the main water-use sectors and their inter-linkages are reviewed, as well as the sustainability and trade-offs in conservation of natural systems and resource development such as for hydropower or agriculture.

The presentation will summarize key points from the recently published book and provide a comprehensive overview of the key issues and challenges facing the Ganges river and Basin from bio-physical, socio-economic, governance and geo-political perspectives.