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Why #OneSouthAsia?


Three major rivers flow from the Himalayan mountains, providing crucial water for people and crops in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. 


Shared management of the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra river basins can increase fair and inclusive development and climate change resilience throughout the region. Collaboration is also important for the environmentally fragile Sundarbans, a vast wetlands straddling the border of Bangladesh and India.


The World Bank and its partners, including through the South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI), provide funding and analyses to promote regional collaboration in managing transboundary rivers and groundwater. Some activities are listed below.


Plastic-free Rivers and Seas for South Asia

Atal Bujal Yojana National Groundwater Management Improvement Project (India)

Bangladesh Regional Climate Services Project

Bangladesh Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project

Bhutan Hydromet Services and Disaster Resilience Regional Project

Coastal Embankment Improvement Project (Bangladesh)

Innovation in Floating Solar Power and Hybrid Technologies (India)

Co-location, Socioeconomic Status, and Perceptions of Environmental Change (Sundarban)

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (India)

Inventory of Freshwater Resources in the Sundarban Landscape

Landscape Narrative of the Sundarban: Toward Collaborative Management by Bangladesh and India

Multipurpose Disaster Shelter Project (Bangladesh)

Multisector Approaches to Delta Management (Bangladesh)

National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (India)

National Ganga River Basin Project (India)

National Hydrology Project (India)

Nepal Power Sector Reform and Sustainable Hydropower Development

Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (India)

Sundarban: A Review of Evolution and Geomorphology

Sundarban in a Global Perspective: Long Term Adaptation and Development

Sustainable Forests and Livelihood Project (Bangladesh)

Regional Capacity Building: Water Governance

Water Sector Capacity Building and Advisory Services (Pakistan)



Blog series:  Water in South Asia

SAWI reports and publications


What's new


Mangroves and coastal protection: A potential triple-win for Bangladesh

July 16, 2020 - Mangrove forests are increasingly seen as a buffer to protect coastal areas such as the vast Sundarban wetlands on the Bay of Bengal. New World Bank research measured the protective capacity of this unique ecosystem in Bangladesh.
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World Bank provides $400 million to help clean up Ganga River Basin

July 7, 2020 - The World Bank and the Government of India signed a loan agreement to help curb pollution in the iconic Ganga River Basin, which is home to more than 500 million people and key to India's water and food security.
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South Asia launches initiative to fight plastic pollution in all 8 nations

June 8, 2020 -The World Bank, Parley for the Oceans, and the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme launched an ambitious $50 million regional project to stop plastic pollution based on Maldives' successful model.
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Unshackling India’s energy-water-agriculture nexus: Is solar power the panacea it promises to be?

June 5, 2020 - Subsidized power to farmers in India has led to the ubiquitous use of irrigation pumps and over-extraction of groundwater, creating a crisis in all three sectors.
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SAWI Activity Brief: Fostering a Spirit of Cooperation Among the Brahmaputra River Basin Riparians

Feb. 6, 2020 - The South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) works with stakeholders in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, and India to advance dialogue about potential co-management of the Brahmaputra River Basin.
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Water in 2020

Dec. 16, 2019 - What does 2020 look like from the perspective of a water expert? Download the calendar created by the World Bank's Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership and see for yourself.
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Fighting droughts with smart dams in Pakistan

Nov. 26, 2019 - A small, six-meter high recharge dam was completed just in time for the monsoon rains this year, replenishing groundwater for villagers and their livestock in one of Pakistan's most drought-prone areas.
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Landscape Narrative of the Sundarban: A Summary

Oct. 1, 2019 - The Sundarban wetlands sprawls across 10,000 square km of Bangladesh and India and is home to some of the poorest, most vulnerable people in South Asia. Management will require both countries to craft effective institutions at multiple levels.
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How real-time data can help India's water crisis

Sept. 19, 2019 - Rapid urbanization, expanded irrigation, and rising demand from the industrial, domestic, and power sectors are stretching India’s limited water resources to the limit.
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Need Assessment and Detailed Planning for a Harmonious Hydrometeorology System for the Sundarban

June 26, 2019 - Management of the fragile Sundarban wetlands needs real-time data about tidal fluctuations, currents, sediment loads, and salt water contamination. Sundarban is shared by Bangladesh and India and includes part of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.
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Sri Lanka mitigates flood risks, boosts climate resilience

June 25, 2019 - The World Bank approved a $310 loan to reduce and mitigate flood risks in the lower Kelani basin in Colombo and to improve weather forecasting and early warning systems across Sri Lanka.
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VIDEO Jun 25, 2020

Enhancing Support for Rejuvenating the Ganga

The Ganga Basin is home to over half of India’s people and provides one-third of the nation's surface water. But the Ganga river is under pressure from human and economic activity that impact water quality and flows. The World Bank supports India’s efforts to make the Ganga a cleaner, healthier river.



Grow Solar, Save Water, Double Farm Income

Feb. 12, 2020 - Advancements in solar and communication technologies offer new possibilities to realign the incentives and interests of India's farmers, power utilities, and the government.
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South Asia Water Initiative Annual Report

Jan. 10, 2020 - The South Asia Water Initiative (SAWI) is a trust fund supported by the United Kingdom, Australia, and Norway, and administered by the World Bank. During fiscal 2019, SAWI funded 28 grant activities, including eight that were completed.
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Pakistan: Getting More From Water

Feb. 14, 2019 - Pakistan is well endowed with water but its large and growing population means water availability per person is low. Water use is dominated by agriculture, which contributes one-fifth of GDP, but less than half of this is from irrigated crops.
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Flood Risk Assessment and Forecasting for the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Basins

Oct. 1, 2017 - The Ganges Basin's catastrophic annual floods cause widespread human suffering and economic losses. This book maps flood risk across the basin and identifies identify priority areas for relocating levees and improving warning systems.
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Extending the Life of Reservoirs: Sustainable Sediment Management for Dams and Run-of-River Hydropower

Oct. 4, 2016 - The risks of extreme weather need to be better understood and managed in regions with large potential for hydropower. Climate change is expected to change mean annual river flows and hydrologic variability, causing more extreme droughts and floods.
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