Trans-boundary Rivers A Trans-boundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. There are presently some 260 transboundary river basins around the world, covering 45% of the land surface of the earth. Bangladesh is traversed with the greatest number of these rivers, almost exclusively trans international. A total of 58 major rivers of Bangladesh have entered the country either from India or from Myanmar. Hydrologically and politically, these 58 trans-boundary rivers are very significant as they carry a lot of sediments to help land accretion in the estuarine region but also raise riverbeds to cause floods. The countries upstream often do not care for international conventions of water sharing and this leads to disputes with complex political implications.
India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers of which agreement has been reached only on sharing of waters of the river Ganga. The India-Bangladesh Treaty on the Sharing of Ganga Waters was signed on December 12th 1996 and is based on a sharing formula of the flows measured at Farakka, during the lean season each year, from 1st January to 31st May. The 30-year Treaty is renewable by mutual consent. The two countries have a bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) that was established in June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems, formulation of flood control works, formulation of proposals on advance flood warnings, flood forecasting and cyclone warning. The last meeting of JRC took place in Dhaka in September 2005. In September 2006, the Water Resources Ministers of both the countries jointly visited some river sites in both countries and discussed issues relating to riverbank protection, minor lift irrigation and drinking water schemes.
The trans-boundary rivers of Bangladesh and the names of the border districts are as follows:
|No.||Rivers||Districts bordering India|
|12.||Kulik or Kokil||Thakurgaon|
|Rivers||Districts bordering Myanmar|
Transboundary water disputes occur whenever demand for water is shared by any sets of interests, be they political, economic, environmental, or legal. Conflicts over shared water resources occur at multiple scales, from sets of individual irrigators, to urban versus rural uses, to nations that straddle international waterways. The issue of managing international rivers would be more convenient had there been an international government or an overarching authority that could oversee such task. However, the international system remain anarchical without a clear set of laws for states to follow. The principles of international law applicable to the use of transboundary resources like rivers are many and often contradictory. Conflicts over the use of water resources are growing where population pressures and competing demand for resources are rising. However research has been going on by several workers over the world in order to identify the nature of disputes and to find out their possible resolution. [Masud Hasan Chowdhury]