Meeting Water Experts in Dhaka to discuss improve water storage in South Asia

The “built water storage South Asia project” in-country consultation was held with the participation of Water Experts on 12 June 2024 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In South Asia, the demand for water is rapidly increasing with the increasing population. Although largely unrecognized, the declining water storage is a major contributor to local and regional water crises, ultimately threatening millions of people and many ecosystems throughout the region. Still, it is well known that the countries in the region are with ample amount of water resources which are even unmatchable with the rest of the world. Bangladesh is one of those blessed countries, where it commonly known as the world's largest river delta, that empties two of the largest rivers, Brahmaputra and Ganges into the Bay of Bengal. The fertility generated in the Bangladesh soil is the reason where the country named as “the Green Delta”.

Still, the decades of degradation of wetlands, watersheds and soils, sedimentation of reservoirs, and over abstraction of groundwater have undermined both natural and built water stores in South Asia. In order to look for potential solutions, a joint project launched in January 2023, funded by the US Department of State and entitled “enhancing adaptive capacity and improving water security through water storage in South Asia” with the aim of transforming planning and management of water storage throughout the region sustainably.

The project facilitated a series of meetings, informant discussions and fields visits. This specific meeting was the fifth cohort meeting held with the participation of experts from water sector representing the Government of Bangladesh, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Bangladesh Water Partnership and Global Water Partnership South Asia. The meeting provided a platform for the IWMI Researchers to disseminate key findings on policy and institutional study of water storage in Bangladesh and water storage mapping and analyses. The participants carefully evaluated and provided comments to improve the studies.   

The built water storage South Asia project aims to strengthen national capacities for integrated water storage planning and management and to enable relevant ministries and line agencies to make better use of data and approaches for understanding water storage gaps and the options to fill them. It is expected these meetings would facilitate cross-border and regional dialogue to address water storage gaps in the South Asia Region.