Spring 2014

Idea for a Brahmaputra River Basin Commission: Lessons from Mekong and Sava Rivers Basins

Md. Marufur Rahaman

The Brahmaputra is the 22ndlongest river of the world. The Brahmaputra river has a total length of 2,880 kilometers. Total drainage area of the Brahmaputra River Basin is around 573,400 square km. The Brahmaputra River Basin is shared by China, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The course of the Brahmaputra has changed continually over time. But at this moment, the absence of integrated management of the Brahmaputra River Basin stands for an ongoing threat to future development in the Brahmaputra River Basin. Several studies show that integrated Brahmaputra River Basin management with effective participation of all riparian countries could ensure sustainable development in the whole region. This study analyzed Mekong and Sava Rivers Basins Commissions to understand how rivers basins are managed by riparian countries through formal commissions. Based on the experiences from Mekong and Sava Rivers Basins Commissions, this thesis provides a preliminary idea for a Brahmaputra River Basin Commission (BRBC). This commission could be instituted by all riparian countries of the Brahmaputra Basin (China, Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh). If implemented, proposed Brahmaputra River Basin Commission could potentially support the integrated development of the Brahmaputra Basin that promotes sustainable development of water and related resources for the riparian countries.