John Appleby/IWMI

South Asia

South Asia

In the South Asia, major rivers, like the Ganges and the Indus, are key to people's livelihoods and cultural heritage, but are among the most polluted rivers in the world. These life giving rivers can also flood in the rainy season, causing damage and death. WLE is working to improve water quality and regulation for better food security, nutrition and livelihood security for farmers in a variety of landscapes, from mountains, to plains, to river deltas. It is also working to increase the resilience of urban and rural populations by improving water management in the region.

Disaster risk reduction

Variability in water supplies stemming from seasonal and climatic changes cause, in turn, catastrophic floods and droughts in the region, leading to damaged crops, property loss, and death. WLE is researching ways to help reduce the impacts of these variability events and improve the resilience of the rural and urban poor.

Water management

There are serious water quality and quantity issues that plague South Asia, including severe pollution, deletion of groundwater and inequitable water distribution. If there is to be enough safe water for agriculture, industry and household use, then improving water management will be critical.

Migration and social change

Many men are leaving the rural areas of South Asia in order to earn money in urban centers and other countries. This means that women are increasingly in charge of managing family farms. Instead of finding this role as head decision-maker empowering, many women are burdened with societal stigma, a lack of land and water rights, and limited access to markets, adding to their already significant burden.