Water Resources in the Himalayas: Turning the tide towards

Water Resources in
the Himalayas:
Turning the tide
towards
cooperation
Panel Discussion
EIAS, 28 May 2015
Water Resources in the Himalayas:
Turning the tide towards
cooperation
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The Himalayan river basins in China, India,
Bangladesh and Nepal
Water security challenges
Importance of water sharing treaties
Diversity of challenges affect the region
Transboundary river systems
Diversity of uses: hydropower, agriculture – the
water nexus
Floods
Involvement of society
Water in the Himalayan region
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The rapid retreat of the Himalayan glaciers has
consequences for water-related hazards, such as glacier
lake outburst floods, and for water stress, as a result of the
decline in fresh water supplies.
Evidence shows a decline of water available.
Cooperation among the countries in the Himalayan region
for managing water resources and water-related hazards is
essential to ensure the future of the region.
Climate change as a driver of environmental change obliges
to address disaster-reduction and water-management
concerns in a holistic manner at the river basin level.
Per capita water availability in 2000 and 2005 (cubic
metres/person/ year) in the Himalayan region
Country
Basin Name
Population,
Thousands
Per Capita
Water
Availability*
2000
Per Capita
Water
Availability*2
005
Afghanistan
Indus, Tarim
24,926
2,986
2,610
Bangladesh
GBM
149,664
8,809
8,090
Bhutan
GBM
2,325
45,564
40,860
China
GBM, Indus,
Tarim
1,320,892
2,259
2,140
India
GBM, Indus
1,081,229
1,880
1,750
Myanmar
GBM
50,101
21,898
20,870
Nepal
GBM
25,725
9,122
8,170
Pakistan
Indus, Tarim
157, 315
2,961
1,420
Principal Rivers of the Greater Himalayan region: Indus, Gages,
Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze, Yellow and Tarim.
Source: FAO‟s AQUASTAT 2005 *Water Availability: Total Actual Renewable Water Resources
Water related conflicts in the
Himalayan region
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Factors leading to cross-border water-related conflicts -Some of the critical indicators of vulnerability to conflict
among nations related to water availability are the per
capita water availability, the level of water withdrawals for
annual use in relation to its availability, and the extent of
dependence on water resources that flow in from the
borders.
Just as population growth could adversely affect the
demand side, climate change may have a serious effect on
the supply side of water resources management.
Water related conflicts in the
Himalayan region
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The scramble for control of natural resources to support economic
and population growth, combined with the uncertain effects of
climate change on the Tibetan Plateau, is raising tensions in Asia
over Himalayan water resources.
Ten of the region’s largest and longest rivers (the Amu Darya,
Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Irrawaddy, Mekong, Salween,
Tarim, Yangtze, and Yellow) originate in the Himalayas.
These rivers help provide water, food, and energy for nearly 4
billion people in China and across South and Southeast Asia—
nearly half of the world’s population.
However, depletion and diversion of these transborder resources
to meet growing industrial, agricultural, and urban demands have
the potential to trigger far-reaching economic, social, and
environmental challenges.
Water related conflicts in the
Himalayan region
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The critical stress level of water availability, that is the level
at which users start to feel the shortage of water, has been
given as 1700 cubic meters per person per year being 1000
m3 the minimum water requirement
In the region, the annual water availability for Pakistan was
already below the critical stress level in 2005 and may soon
fall below the minimum level. The data shows that India,
China, and Afghanistan are also water-limited nations in the
region, where the annual water availability is quickly
approaching the critical stress level.
Water related conflicts in the
Himalayan region
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The lack of comprehensive and effective regional frameworks
for cooperation hinders sustainable management of these
waterways.
Problems with some countries in the region:
• China, which controls the headwaters of these rivers, has an
enormous need for Himalayan water to satisfy economic and
energy demands.
• While there is a dialogue and some cooperation with
neighbours, China do not participate in formal multilateral
water-sharing and water-management agreements with its
neighbours.
• China’s dam-building and water-diversion projects are a source
of major concern to the countries downstream
EU FAC Council Conclusions July 2013
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The EU has a substantive commitment to address the root
causes of water challenges, particularly through its work on
development and environment
An EU policy promoting water co-operation across the world can
be built on the long tradition of co-operation and vast
experience and knowledge of the management of
transboundary waters in Europe
Encourages the promotion of international agreements on
water co-operation, the relevant UNECE and UN Conventions
CEWP
1. 3 Pillars: Research, Governance and Business
2. Supported by PDSF
3. Represent EU interest (Export of EU water policies)
4. Concrete work program
Water Security
Is EU policy a model for other countries to follow?
• EU Water Legislation
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Namely EU Water Framework Directive, Flood Risk Protection Directive.
• EU Water Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's waters
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Water is a local issue but it is also a global problem interlinked with many
issues (food security, desertification, climate change, etc.) which all have
significant economic, social and environmental dimensions
International dimension of water governance
Blueprint proposed to support integrated sustainable water resource
management
• 7th Environment Action programme
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Tackling international challenges: Many of the priority objectives can only
be achieved through co-operation with partner countries or as part of a
global approach
EU China cooperation on Water: The
China EU Water Platform
Concrete projects on water
• EU River basin management program (on Yellow and
Yangtze river basins) 2007 – 2012
• EU China Policy Development Support Facility (PDSF)
• CEWP
• EU China Urbanization Partnership
EU China cooperation on Water: The
China EU Water Platform
CEWP
• 3 Pillars: Research, Governance and Business
• Supported by PDSF
• Represent EU interest (Export of EU water
policies and business opprotunities)
• Concrete work program
International dimension of EU Water policy: Many transboundary
basins in the EU, many bilateral and multilateral agreements and the
EU is party to the Convention on the Protection and Use of
transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE WC)
Council decision
95/308/EC on the
Convention on the
protection and use of
transboundary
watercourses and
international lakes.
• EU's responsibility to take
international commitments in
such matters
• EU policy on the environment
aims at strengthening
international co-operation
There is already an EU
commitment on
transboundary water
issues.
International
Commission for the
protection of the
Danube (EU and non EU
countries)
Rhine river
Commission, Scheldt,
Meuse, bilateral
cooperation
Spain/Portugal, etc.
WFD: Significant Water
Management Issues on EU basins,
example of Danube basin
Organic
Pollution
Nutrient
Pollution
Hazardous
Substances Pollution
Hydromorphological
Alterations
Conclusions
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Integrated management of water resources is essential for water
security
Many instruments are required:
At governance level (agreements, Conventions, legislation)
At policy level (align agriculture, energy, food production, land
use with water policies)
technical level (best available solutions)
Stakeholder involvement and inter-sectoral cooperation is a keyrequirement
Clear political committment for cooperation is crucial in a shared
river basin
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