The Bangladesh government is considering a proposal from China on the management and restoration of the Teesta river, the fourth-longest river in the country that flows down from India.
The Chinese proposal comes as Bangladesh has spent almost a decade trying to finalise a water-sharing deal with India on the Teesta river. The signing of the deal was postponed at the last moment in 2011 due to opposition from Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal. Bangladesh has made no progress through negotiations with India since then.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has seen water levels in the Teesta drop dramatically in recent years during the dry season, due to dam construction and irrigation canals upstream and the impacts of climate change – further straining relations with India.
In the dry season, farmers can no longer grow their crops. In 2016, the water flow fell to 300 cusecs in the dry season – over twenty times less than two decades ago