Experts and policymakers here say regional cooperation is a must to resolve long-standing water problems in South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal, and to harness the full value of water.
In the wake of recent water-related disasters in Bangladesh, including water-logging and floods that displaced thousands of families, a high-level consultation in the capital Dhaka on valuing water will look at ways to optimize water use and solutions to water-related problems facing South Asia.
Like many other fast-growing megacities, the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka faces severe water and sanitation problems, chiefly the annual flooding during monsoon season due to unplanned urbanisation, destruction of wetlands and poor city governance.
Abdul Aziz, 35, arrived in the capital Dhaka in 2006 after losing all his belongings to the mighty Meghna River. Once, he and his family had lived happily in the village of Dokkhin Rajapur in Bhola, a coastal district of Bangladesh. Aziz had a beautiful house and large amount of arable land.
Facing the bleak prospect of millions of its citizens being displaced in coming years due to storms and sea level rise caused by climate change, Bangladesh is building up existing coastal embankments in a bid to protect coastal lands and people.
Bangladesh has decided to set up a Hilsa Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) to protect this fish from over-exploitation due to population growth and effects of climate change.