Water Rights in Southeast Asia and India

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But the politics of water is not limited to the international sphere; domestic politics often plays a major role in water security. Farmers may operate within a particular political environment and their access to water supplies may be governed by political factors. Water Can be a Source of Inter-state Conflict : water may result in conflict in a number of ways.

First, water may spark conflict between states. This can also occur when one state uses a threat of cutting off water supplies to another state i. Malaysia against Singapore. Conflict may also result when smaller states deal with larger states, which happen to be the source of major water supplies i.


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China's refusal to negotiate multilaterally regarding the Mekong Delta. W ater security is emerging as an increasingly important and vital issue for the Asia-Pacific region. Many Asian countries are beginning to experience moderate to severe water shortages, brought on by the simultaneous effects of agricultural growth, industrialization, and urbanization. In recent years, moreover, evidence indicates that water security is becoming increasingly affected by erratic weather patterns, most notably the El Nino and La Nina weather phenomena.

Several countries in the region, including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, have experienced droughts of such severity that they have caused food shortages and have threatened the long-term food supply. In the future, climate change may produce even more erratic weather and result in similar crises.

Another concern in the region is growing competition over shared water resources. Singapore, for example, is highly dependent on and vulnerable to Malaysia for its water supplies. Many nations, such as those in the Mekong Delta region, share water resources and depend on mutual cooperation. In South Asia, conflict over freshwater has strained relations between India and Bangladesh, as well as India and Pakistan.

In the future, diminishing and degraded freshwater resources could lead to internal instability in many nations, and possibly even spark interstate conflict. The seminar also explored linkages between water security and traditional national security and national sovereignty. This report serves simultaneously as a seminar report and a research survey to explore the current and potential reality of water security problems in the Asia-Pacific region.

When these levels reach between 1, and 1, cubic meters per person, occasional water shortages are likely to occur. However, when water supplies drop below 1, cubic meters per person, the country faces water scarcity which can threaten food production, undermine economic development, and harm ecosystems.

Availability refers to the physical presence of adequate water supplies, whereas access refers to the ability of people within a particular country or region to actually receive or gain access to clean freshwater. Obviously, these are two distinct types of problems, although they can both be present in a region experiencing water stress or water scarcity.

Availability may be more dependent on physical or environmental factors i. In China, although freshwater resources are abundant, they are distributed unevenly and hence unavailable to many regions of the country. The amount of rainfall in China ranges from mm in inland desert areas up to mm along the southern tropical coast.

Clean water is, moreover, becoming increasingly scarce because of an increase in domestic and industrial effluents. The cost to human health of water pollution has been estimated to be as high as India is experiencing similar shortages. In , a government minister warned that per capita availability of freshwater was declining due to rapid population growth and industrialization. The minister told the Indian parliament that the per capita availability of freshwater in is expected to be 1, cubic meters per year, as compared to 2, cubic meters in and 5, cubic meters in This will have a huge negative impact on food security, as Asian agriculture is already heavily reliant on irrigation, with much of the anticipated increases in food production likely to be dependent on even higher levels of irrigation and irrigation efficiency.

W ater shortages are often described in terms of a lack of availability, but in fact, as many experts assert, the fact that people do not have safe drinking water is often an issue of access. But there should be an assumption in the international community that water is essential and should be available for everyone. In general, the question of access to safe freshwater largely depends on the level of development of a particular country. At this stage, the seminar considered the challenge for providing water to populations of less developed countries, especially the poorest segments of these populations.

Several seminar participants noted that water is an essential human rights issue; without it, no other human right would be meaningful. Thus, it was argued that assurance of adequate water supplies is implied in international human rights law. In developed countries, access to water is considered an entitlement; this mentality does not necessarily prevail in developing countries where access to safe drinking water is often a luxury, sometimes available only to the affluent. The problem in many developing countries is that water systems are frequently created as a result of local political considerations, not out of any large-scale strategic vision.

Thus, market forces often do not govern the pricing of water; rather, it is subject to local political pressures. Factors that Influence Water Security. T here are many factors that influence the availability of water and access to it. This session of the seminar attempted to identify and focus on some of the key factors that determine whether a particular nation, or region, has water security.

Which factors are most important? How is water security related to food security? The following were noted as being critical determinants of water security in the region. One issue that consistently emerged is the impact of growing food demand on global water supplies. Experts are warning that food production will likely be seriously constrained by freshwater shortages in the next century. The Green Revolution resulted in increased crop yields, but achieved these yields largely through extensive irrigation and with increased reliance on freshwater.

Thus, in Asia it is clear that the growing demand for food is a significant factor determining the supply of available freshwater. In China, for instance, it is commonly accepted that, with growing population demands, food production will need to be increased dramatically. About half of the water that is used for irrigation is lost to seepage and evaporation. Irrigation is also a major concern for many other Asian countries; six Asian countries China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have in excess of 30 percent of their total cropland under irrigation.

For example, mismanaging water resources can result in the erosion, waterlogging, and salinization of the soil, which in turn makes the soil less able to produce crops. Poorly managed irrigation can also result in water pollution and water-borne diseases. Aside from agriculture, another factor that influences the state of water security in a particular country is its degree of industrialization. In developing countries, the percentage tends to hover around percent. Moreover, limited human resources, training, and capacity have undermined the capability of these governments to effectively implement existing transparency laws and policies.

Across all three countries, hydrological data and information are not being collected, maintained, or published in a systematic manner. Where data is available, it is often of poor quality, difficult to verify, and provided in a format that is not user-friendly. Taken together, the highly fragmented availability of data makes it difficult to get a complete hydrological picture of the rivers.

Participants debated the issues and challenges in making climate and water data more accessible throughout South Asia, and brainstormed ways to leverage existing information-sharing experiences and practices. While acknowledging the many constraints to regional data sharing, the forum also highlighted some of the innovative ways in which participating groups are enhancing data access and exchange on water and climate issues. For instance, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, the environmental NGO Aaranyak and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development ICIMOD have piloted an innovative community-based flood warning system that uses mobile phones to transmit critical flood related data and information to communities upstream and downstream of the eastern Brahmaputra basin.

At a national level, multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and others are supporting governments to improve their data and information management systems while simultaneously building government capacity to better manage these systems. At a regional level, ICIMOD has been working with the governments of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan to develop a Regional Flood Information System in the Hindu-Kush Himalayas that seeks to facilitate sharing of flood data and information between countries to reduce the vulnerability of affected communities. There are also ongoing efforts to provide the media and private sector with data and information on water related issues.

For example, the Third Pole recently launched a new, open source geospatial database — Data. TheThirdPole — to provide the media and other stakeholders with access to a searchable catalog of water-related datasets sourced from different organizations in Asia. Such initiatives testify to the growing demand for more accurate and comprehensive data and information on transboundary water issues on the subcontinent. The democratization of data, technology, and access has been one of the defining developments of the 21st century.

Riding on the wave of this global movement, governments in South Asia have opened up in nearly every sphere, whether enacting transparency laws, disclosing budget and public expenditure information to citizens, or taking the lead in e-governance and other ICT initiatives. Given these developments, and the proliferation of new information and communication technologies, the paradigm of security that has prevented governments from effectively sharing data and information on shared resources is out of date.

The sharing of data and information between governments, and between governments and civil society, will be critical to planning for this new and uncertain water future. She can be reached at mandakini. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not those of The Asia Foundation. It helped me alot because i am doing water and scaricity on laos and it haves a lot of information and great facts to help us on are projects and our papers. If i was you guys i would reccomad on this website it is great i hope u guys like this website. Southeast Asia covers about 4.

Its total population is more than million, about 8. It is the third most populous geographical region in the world after South Asia and East Asia. The region, together with part of South Asia, was well known by Europeans as the East Indies or simply the Indies until the 20th century. In the 20th century, however, the term became more restricted to territories of the former French Indochina Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The maritime section of Southeast Asia is also known as the Malay Archipelago , a term derived from the European concept of a Malay race.

Malcolm only included the Mainland section and excluded the Maritime section in his definition of Southeast Asia. However, by the late s, a roughly standard usage of the term "Southeast Asia" and the territories it encompasses had emerged. Sovereignty issues exist over some territories in the South China Sea.

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Mainland Southeast Asia includes:. Maritime Southeast Asia includes:. The eastern half of Indonesia and East Timor east of the Wallace Line are considered to be biogeographically part of Oceania Wallacea due to its distinctive faunal features. New Guinea and its surrounding islands are geologically considered as a part of Australian continent , connected via the Sahul Shelf. The region was already inhabited by Homo erectus from 1,, years ago during the Middle Pleistocene age. Studies presented by HUGO Human Genome Organization through genetic studies of the various peoples of Asia, show empirically that there was a single migration event from Africa, whereby the early people travelled along the south coast of Asia, first entered the Malay peninsula 50,—90, years ago.

The Orang Asli, in particular the Semang who show Negrito characteristics, are the direct descendants of these earliest settlers of Southeast Asia. These early people diversified and travelled slowly northwards to China, and the populations of Southeast Asia show greater genetic diversity than the younger population of China. Solheim and others have shown evidence for a Nusantao Nusantara maritime trading network ranging from Vietnam to the rest of the archipelago as early as BC to 1 AD.

Its influence spread to other parts Southeast Asia. The peoples of Southeast Asia, especially those of Austronesian descent, have been seafarers for thousands of years, some reaching the island of Madagascar , became the ancestors of modern-day Malagasy people. Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History about Chryse and Argyre , two legendary islands rich in gold and silver, located in the Indian Ocean.

Their vessels, such as the vinta , were capable to sail across ocean. Magellan's voyage records how much more manoeuvrable their vessels were, as compared to the European ships. Most Southeast Asian people were originally animist , engaged in ancestors, nature, and spirits worship. These belief systems were later supplanted by Hinduism and Buddhism after the region, especially coastal areas, came under contacts with Indian subcontinent during the 1st century.

They periodically invited Indian Brahmins into their realms and began a gradual process of Indianisation in the region. It then spread into Southeast Asia via Bay of Bengal , Indochina, then Malay Archipelago, leading to thousands of Shiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in the region. This branch was fused with the Hindu-influenced Khmer culture. Mahayana Buddhism established presence in Maritime Southeast Asia, brought by Chinese monks during their transit in the region en route to Nalanda.

The spread of these two Indian religions confined the adherents of Southeast Asian indigenous beliefs into remote inland areas. Maluku Islands and New Guinea were never been Indianised and its native people were predominantly animists until the 15th century when Islam began to spread in those areas. After the region came under contacts with Indian subcontinent circa BCE, it began a gradual process of Indianisation where Indian ideas such as religions, cultures, architectures and political administrations were brought by traders and religious figures and adopted by local rulers.

In turn, Indian Brahmins and monks were invited by local rulers to live in their realms and help transforming local polities to become more Indianised, blending Indian and indigenous traditions. The first Indian-influenced polities established in the region were the Pyu city-states that already existed circa 2nd century BCE, located in inland Myanmar.

It served as an overland trading hub between India and China. It became the dominant trading power in mainland Southeast Asia for about five centuries, provided passage for Indian and Chinese goods and assumed authority over the flow of commerce through Southeast Asia. By the 5th century CE, trade networking between East and West was concentrated in the maritime route. Foreign traders were starting to use new routes such as Malacca and Sunda Strait due to the development of maritime Southeast Asia. This change resulted in the decline of Funan, while new maritime powers such as Srivijaya , Tarumanagara , and Medang emerged.

Srivijaya especially became the dominant maritime power for more than 5 centuries, controlling both Strait of Malacca and Sunda Strait. Many of the surviving examples of the Hindu cultural influence found today throughout Southeast Asia are the result of the Chola expeditions.

The empire's capital Angkor hosts majestic monuments—such as Angkor Wat and Bayon. Satellite imaging has revealed that Angkor, during its peak, was the largest pre-industrial urban centre in the world. The Vietnamese launched a massive conquest against the Cham people during the Vietnamese invasion of Champa , ransacking and burning Champa, slaughtering thousands of Cham people, and forcibly assimilating them into Vietnamese culture.

During the 13th century CE, the region experienced Mongol invasions , affected areas such as Vietnamese coast, inland Burma and Java. Myinsaing Kingdom became the real ruler of Central Burma and challenged the Mongol rule. This resulted in the second Mongol invasion of Burma in , which was repulsed by Myinsaing. Singhasari rejected the proposal and injured the envoys, enraged the Mongols and made them sent a large invasion fleet to Java.

Unbeknownst to them, Singhasari collapsed in due to a revolt by Kadiri, one of its vassals. When the Mongols arrived in Java, a local prince named Raden Wijaya offered his service to assist the Mongols in punishing Kadiri. After Kadiri was defeated, Wijaya turned on his Mongol allies, ambushed their invasion fleet and forced them to immediately leave Java. Majapahit would soon grew into a regional power. Its greatest ruler was Hayam Wuruk , whose reign from to marked the empire's peak when other kingdoms in the southern Malay Peninsula , Borneo , Sumatra , and Bali came under its influence.

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Various sources such as the Nagarakertagama also mention that its influence spanned over parts of Sulawesi , Maluku , and some areas of western New Guinea and southern Philippines , making it one of the largest empire to ever exist in Southeast Asian history. Majapahit then collapsed around It was the last major Hindu kingdom and the last regional power in the region before the arrival of the Europeans.

Islam began to make contacts with Southeast Asia in the 8th-century CE, when the Umayyads established trade with the region via sea routes. In the 11th century, a turbulent period occurred in the history of Maritime Southeast Asia. The Indian Chola navy crossed the ocean and attacked the Srivijaya kingdom of Sangrama Vijayatungavarman in Kadaram Kedah ; the capital of the powerful maritime kingdom was sacked and the king was taken captive. Along with Kadaram, Pannai in present-day Sumatra and Malaiyur and the Malayan peninsula were attacked too.

Soon after that, the king of Kedah Phra Ong Mahawangsa became the first ruler to abandon the traditional Hindu faith, and converted to Islam with the Sultanate of Kedah established in Samudera Pasai converted to Islam in , the King of Malacca Parameswara married the princess of Pasai, and the son became the first sultan of Malacca. Soon, Malacca became the center of Islamic study and maritime trade, and other rulers followed suit. There are several theories to the Islamisation process in Southeast Asia. Another theory is trade. The expansion of trade among West Asia, India and Southeast Asia helped the spread of the religion as Muslim traders from Southern Yemen Hadramout brought Islam to the region with their large volume of trade.

Many settled in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. This is evident in the Arab-Indonesian, Arab-Singaporean, and Arab-Malay populations who were at one time very prominent in each of their countries. Finally, the ruling classes embraced Islam and that further aided the permeation of the religion throughout the region.

The ruler of the region's most important port, Malacca Sultanate , embraced Islam in the 15th century, heralding a period of accelerated conversion of Islam throughout the region as Islam provided a positive force among the ruling and trading classes. Gujarati Muslims played a pivotal role in establishing Islam in Southeast Asia. Trade among Southeast Asian countries has a long tradition. The consequences of colonial rule, struggle for independence and in some cases war influenced the economic attitudes and policies of each country until today.

Records from Magellan's voyage show that Brunei possessed more cannon than European ships, so the Chinese must have been trading with them. Malaysian legend has it that a Chinese Ming emperor sent a princess, Hang Li Po , to Malacca, with a retinue of , to marry Sultan Mansur Shah after the emperor was impressed by the wisdom of the sultan. Han Li Po's well constructed is now a tourist attraction there, as is Bukit Cina , where her retinue settled. The strategic value of the Strait of Malacca , which was controlled by Sultanate of Malacca in the 15th and early 16th century, did not go unnoticed by Portuguese writer Duarte Barbosa , who in wrote "He who is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice ".

Western influence started to enter in the 16th century, with the arrival of the Portuguese in Malacca, Maluku and the Philippines, the latter being settled by the Spanish years later. By the 19th century, all Southeast Asian countries were colonised except for Thailand. European explorers were reaching Southeast Asia from the west and from the east. Regular trade between the ships sailing east from the Indian Ocean and south from mainland Asia provided goods in return for natural products, such as honey and hornbill beaks from the islands of the archipelago.

Before the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the Europeans mostly were interested in expanding trade links. For the majority of the populations in each country, there was comparatively little interaction with Europeans and traditional social routines and relationships continued. For most, a life with subsistence level agriculture, fishing and, in less developed civilizations, hunting and gathering was still hard.

Europeans brought Christianity allowing Christian missionaries to become widespread. Thailand also allowed Western scientists to enter its country to develop its own education system as well as start sending Royal members and Thai scholars to get higher education from Europe and Russia. Gujarat , India had a flourishing trade relationship with Southeast Asia in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The United States took the Philippines from Spain in It became a forward base for American trade with Asia. Most countries in the region enjoy national autonomy. Democratic forms of government and the recognition of human rights are taking root. ASEAN provides a framework for the integration of commerce, and regional responses to international concerns. China has asserted broad claims over the South China Sea , based on its Nine-Dash Line , and has built artificial islands in an attempt to bolster its claims.

China also has asserted an exclusive economic zone based on the Spratly Islands. China , the Court ruled in favor of the Philippines and rejected China's claims. Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia and it also the largest archipelago in the world by size according to the CIA World Factbook. Geological uplifts in the region have also produced some impressive mountains, culminating in Puncak Jaya in Papua , Indonesia at 5, metres 16, feet , on the island of New Guinea ; it is the only place where ice glaciers can be found in Southeast Asia. The highest mountain in Southeast Asia is Hkakabo Razi at 5, meters and can be found in northern Burma sharing the same range of its parent peak, Mount Everest.

Mayon Volcano , despite being dangerously active , holds the record of the world's most perfect cone which is built from past and continuous eruption.

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Southeast Asia is bounded to the southeast by the Australian continent , a boundary which runs through Indonesia. The climate in Southeast Asia is mainly tropical—hot and humid all year round with plentiful rainfall. Northern Vietnam and the Myanmar Himalayas are the only regions in Southeast Asia that feature a subtropical climate , which has a cold winter with snow. The majority of Southeast Asia has a wet and dry season caused by seasonal shift in winds or monsoon. The tropical rain belt causes additional rainfall during the monsoon season.

The rain forest is the second largest on earth with the Amazon being the largest. An exception to this type of climate and vegetation is the mountain areas in the northern region, where high altitudes lead to milder temperatures and drier landscape.

India and South East Asia

Other parts fall out of this climate because they are desert like. Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the world. The vast majority of Southeast Asia falls within the warm, humid tropics, and its climate generally can be characterised as monsoonal.


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The animals of Southeast Asia are diverse; on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra , the orangutan , the Asian elephant , the Malayan tapir , the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Bornean clouded leopard can also be found. Six subspecies of the binturong or bearcat exist in the region, though the one endemic to the island of Palawan is now classed as vulnerable. Tigers of three different subspecies are found on the island of Sumatra the Sumatran tiger , in peninsular Malaysia the Malayan tiger , and in Indochina the Indochinese tiger ; all of which are endangered species.

The Komodo dragon is the largest living species of lizard and inhabits the islands of Komodo , Rinca , Flores , and Gili Motang in Indonesia. The Philippine eagle is the national bird of the Philippines. It is considered by scientists as the largest eagle in the world, [92] and is endemic to the Philippines' forests. The wild Asian water buffalo , and on various islands related dwarf species of Bubalus such as anoa were once widespread in Southeast Asia; nowadays the domestic Asian water buffalo is common across the region, but its remaining relatives are rare and endangered.

The mouse deer , a small tusked deer as large as a toy dog or cat, mostly can be found on Sumatra, Borneo Indonesia and in Palawan Islands Philippines. The gaur , a gigantic wild ox larger than even wild water buffalo, is found mainly in Indochina. There is very little scientific information available regarding Southeast Asian amphibians. Birds such as the peafowl and drongo live in this subregion as far east as Indonesia. The babirusa , a four-tusked pig, can be found in Indonesia as well. The hornbill was prized for its beak and used in trade with China.

The horn of the rhinoceros, not part of its skull, was prized in China as well.

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The Indonesian Archipelago is split by the Wallace Line. This line runs along what is now known to be a tectonic plate boundary, and separates Asian Western species from Australasian Eastern species. As the pace of development accelerates and populations continue to expand in Southeast Asia, concern has increased regarding the impact of human activity on the region's environment.

A significant portion of Southeast Asia, however, has not changed greatly and remains an unaltered home to wildlife. The nations of the region, with only few exceptions, have become aware of the need to maintain forest cover not only to prevent soil erosion but to preserve the diversity of flora and fauna. Indonesia, for example, has created an extensive system of national parks and preserves for this purpose. Even so, such species as the Javan rhinoceros face extinction, with only a handful of the animals remaining in western Java. The shallow waters of the Southeast Asian coral reefs have the highest levels of biodiversity for the world's marine ecosystems, where coral, fish and molluscs abound.

According to Conservation International, marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat Indonesia is the highest recorded on Earth. Diversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the Coral Triangle composed of Indonesia, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, the Verde Passage is dubbed by Conservation International as the world's "center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity". The whale shark , the world's largest species of fish and 6 species of sea turtles can also be found in the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean territories of the Philippines.

The trees and other plants of the region are tropical; in some countries where the mountains are tall enough, temperate-climate vegetation can be found. These rainforest areas are currently being logged-over, especially in Borneo. While Southeast Asia is rich in flora and fauna, Southeast Asia is facing severe deforestation which causes habitat loss for various endangered species such as orangutan and the Sumatran tiger.

The two worst regional hazes were in and in which multiple countries were covered with thick haze, mostly caused by " slash and burn " activities in Sumatra and Borneo. Muar experienced the highest API level of on 23 June at around 7 am. Even prior to the penetration of European interests, Southeast Asia was a critical part of the world trading system. A wide range of commodities originated in the region, but especially important were spices such as pepper, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

The spice trade initially was developed by Indian and Arab merchants, but it also brought Europeans to the region. First Spaniards Manila galleon who sailed from the Americas and Portuguese , then the Dutch, and finally the British and French became involved in this enterprise in various countries. The penetration of European commercial interests gradually evolved into annexation of territories, as traders lobbied for an extension of control to protect and expand their activities. An economic effect of this imperialism was the shift in the production of commodities. For example, the rubber plantations of Malaysia, Java, Vietnam and Cambodia, the tin mining of Malaya, the rice fields of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and Irrawaddy River delta in Burma, were a response to powerful market demands.

The overseas Chinese community has played a large role in the development of the economies in the region. The origins of Chinese influence can be traced to the 16th century, when Chinese migrants from southern China settled in Indonesia, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. The region's economy greatly depends on agriculture; rice and rubber have long been prominent exports.


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