Inderscience Publishers

Hydropower ambitions of South Asian nations and China: Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers basins

This paper analyses the current status of hydropower development in two major rivers basins in South Asia, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. The total drainage area of the basins is about 1,660,000 km² shared by China, Nepal, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh. These two basins are blessed with ample water resources and huge hydropower potential. The abundant hydropower potential of these rivers basins is the key driving force behind the prospect of potential transboundary cooperation in the field of water and can help providing riparian countries with a safer energy future. Based on five years of research studies (2005-2010), this paper analyses the hydropower development plans and ambitions of riparian nations with special focus on China and India. The finding suggests that it is essential to develop an integrated hydropower development approach involving all riparian nations intended to foster regional development and overcome the prospect of severe conflict because of unilateral hydropower ambitions of China and India. The hydropower development cooperation among the riparian nations could also become the positive turning point in the integration of South and Southeast Asia.

Keywords: South Asia, hydropower, rivers basins, Ganges, Brahmaputra, common water resources, transboundary cooperation, conflict, China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, shared rivers, riparian countries, renewable energy, regional development, water wars

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