Encompassing parts of India, Nepal and the majority of Bangladesh, the Eastern Gangetic Plains is one of the most densely populated and poverty-stricken belts in South Asia.
While the area is rich with fertile land, a growing population continues to be highly dependent on it for food security and livelihood.
Behind this persisting poverty are deeply entrenched social structures of class and caste, with a high incidence of inequitable landlord-tenant relations making it extremely difficult for disadvantaged residents to prosper.
Poor access to irrigation water in the dry season, poor government support systems, limited irrigation capacity and low agricultural innovation, only adds to this difficulty.
There are strong linkages between poverty and access to water.