Inderscience Publishers

The Ganges water-sharing treaty: risk analysis of the negotiated discharge

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Bangladesh and India have resolved the Ganges water-sharing problem by signing a thirty-year treaty in December 1996. Both countries share the dry season (January-May) discharge of the Ganges River at Farakka, West Bengal, India. The sharing season is divided into fifteen 10-day cycles. The treaty is based on the discharge of the Ganges at Farakka over the period 1949-1988, taking the average discharge values of the periods 1949-1973 (pre- Farakka) and 1975-1988 (post-Farakka). Since 1975, however, the dry season discharge of the Ganges at Farakka has declined due to increased upstream uses for agriculture and other purposes. Therefore, the likelihood of occurrence of the 1949-1988 discharge values has reduced. Statistical analysis has been carried out to examine the probability of the occurrence and risks of non-occurrence of the treaty discharge values under 1975-1988 conditions and to consider some discharge reduction scenarios. The results indicate that reductions in the discharge due to withdrawals upstream of Farakka put Bangladesh and India at risk of non-availability of the shared discharge agreed in the treaty. Failure of the sharing arrangement in two out of five years (1997-2001) since the enforcement of the treaty supports the results of the analysis. Due to the sharing arrangement of the treaty, Bangladesh may be at a greater risk than India in future if more water is withdrawn in the upstream of Farakka.

Keywords: Bangladesh, discharge, dry season, Ganges water-sharing treaty, India, risk

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