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The study area consists of a portion of the Ganges River system, a major Himalayan river system of South Asia. The scale of the Ganges River Basin is staggering: it is one of the largest basins in the world, encompassing an area of almost 1.2 million km2 (World Bank, 2014). The basin spans four different countries (Figure 1 and Table 1), making it an international transboundary river, and it represents the majority of the region's water resources. However, despite the fact that Nepal and Bangladesh represent relatively small fractions of the basin in land area, all of Nepal and over one quarter of Bangladesh lie within the basin; thus, the Ganges remains a hugely important river system to these countries (World Bank, 2014).
Table 1.

Distribution of Ganges Basin across riparian countries (Frenken, 2013).

BasinArea (km2)CountryArea (km2)% of total basin area% of total country area
Ganges 1,087,300 India 860,000 79 26 
China 33,500 0.3 
Nepal 147,500 14 100 
Bangladesh 46,300 32 
BasinArea (km2)CountryArea (km2)% of total basin area% of total country area
Ganges 1,087,300 India 860,000 79 26 
China 33,500 0.3 
Nepal 147,500 14 100 
Bangladesh 46,300 32 
Fig. 1.

Ganges Basin map (World Bank, 2014).

Fig. 1.

Ganges Basin map (World Bank, 2014).

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