Home > Announcements > Events > Merging Expert and Community Opinions in the Ganges Basin

CPWF’s Ganges Basin Development Challenge (GBDC) is to “reduce poverty and strengthen livelihood resilience through improved water governance and management in coastal areas of the Ganges basin”. Its G4 project helps to contribute towards this goal by attempting to assess the impacts of external drivers of change on coastal water resources. External drivers are the driving forces that have potential to cause substantial changes on water resources. G4 is working to address anticipated changes in flooding, drainage congestions, salinity intrusion, water availability, sedimentation and risk of inundation of cyclone induced storm surge as a consequence of major drivers.

Since the project’s inception in June 2011, G4 has identified and ranked drivers using two separate approaches. In the first approach, it developed a comprehensive list of external
drivers based on past research, literature review, and interaction with major stakeholders and peers. This key drivers list was assessed under a well-designed priority and ranking
criteria and circulated to experts. In the second approach, G4 carried out focus group discussions and stakeholder consultations to assess the prevailing issues and the drivers causing these issues. In March 2012, G4 held a triangulation workshop in Dhaka to ‘triangulate’ and integrate these two sets of results. The ultimate goal was to finalize a list of the key external drivers.

The workshop drew participation from community representatives, experts, researchers, planning and development institutions, practitioners and academics. Additionally, representation from the other Ganges projects was also impressive. Dr. William Collis of the WorldFish Centre presented the overview of the GBDC and Dr. Bharat Sharma of the International Water Management Institute described the relevance of the study in the Ganges Basin. G4 Project Leader, Zahirul Haque Khan, presented the findings of the expert opinion survey and community consultations, both of which served as the basis of the initial discussion. The participants, divided into four heterogeneous groups, ranked the external drivers through discussions and brain-storming. Each group presented their recommendations at the plenary session where the final list of drivers was compiled.  The session was chaired by Dr. M. Shah Alam Khan, professor at the Institute of Water and Flood Management, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. The final list of external drivers of change on water resources are presented in the following table:

Final List of the External Drivers of Change on Water Resources and Rank

External Drivers Rank
Change in transboundary flow 1
Population growth 2
Change in water management practices 3
Land use change 4
Climate change (including precipitation, temperature and sea level rise) 5
Change in water governance and institutions (including policy change) 6
Water use change 7
Water infrastructure development 8
Urbanization 9

The G4 team will now devise future scenarios by combining the key external drivers in a participatory approach. Then, appropriate hydrological models will be used for assessing the effects of the external drivers on salinity intrusion, water availability and drainage congestion. Proper adaptation strategies will be formulated on the basis of the model results and data analysis.

By Salma Sultana, Ganges Communication Coordinator