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Groundwater Irrigation and the Rural Poor logo This volume reports on a concerted effort to analyze and reflect on the possible role of groundwater development in helping to address the persistent rural poverty problem in Bangladesh, Nepal, and eastern India, an area in large part coincident with the Gangetic Basin. The work was initiated by the World Bank and cosponsored by the International Irrigation Management Institute, which contributed substantially to its success. Papers were presented at the World Bank Colloquium on Groundwater Irrigation, held April 1214, 1989, in Washington, D.C. Groundwater remains the largest natural resource endowment of this region that is not yet used to its full potential, even though this potential cannot be identified with certainty for the basin as a whole or for its constituent parts. In addition to an incomplete data base, a problem common to many development challenges, a great deal of uncertainty arises from the unresolved riparian issues affecting the use of the water from the Ganges river system. These concern not only the three countries of the region but also the division of the water resources among the Indian states in the basin. Given the close interaction between surface water flows and groundwater availability, resolution of the riparian issues will place as yet unknown political limits on groundwater development in many parts of the region.

Publisher: World Bank

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