Holistic Engineering and Hydro-Diplomacy in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin - EPW Paper

Holistic Engineering and Hydro-Diplomacy in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin - EPW PaperThis document by Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, highlights the importance of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) basin as an important source of water for many of the countries in South Asia, and the crucial role of negotiations in the context of the impending water crisis threatening the basin with the phenomenon of climate change.

The document argues that traditional water engineering has been found to be highly reductionistic and ineffective in bringing about development in the GBM basin and the continuing poverty in the GBM basin can be linked to the absence of a holistic ecological perspective, use of an incomplete framework for economics and ignoring of long-run economic costs of the actions proposed.

The existing view of governmental water engineering has been unable to evolve with time, resulting in an exclusive mode of hydro-diplomacy in south Asia.

The paper argues that the entire hydro-diplomatic process in the GBM basin needs to be viewed in a broadened framework, while taking into consideration several factors, such as ecology, economics, institutions and the social, in the framework of water resource engineering.

Negotiations now need to be rethought from an eco-hydrological perspective in the comprehensive economic framework. This changed perspective will make room for a very different functional format for making development policies in river basins and conducting related hydro-diplomacy.

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