Pakistan and India water disputes

Discussion in 'Pakistan's Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by fawwaxs, Feb 9, 2010.

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  1. HAIDER
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    HAIDER SENIOR MEMBER

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    At the recent foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan in New Delhi, Pakistan’s foreign office team presented a paper on water issues to India prepared by Pakistan’s Indus Water Commission. Although water is not a core issue for the resumption of talks between the two nuclear neighbours, differences over the use of rivers assigned according to the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty have undercut peace-making efforts. As Pakistan and India’s populations grow, water for agriculture and electricity generation is in short supply. Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah talks to Dawn.com about the urgent need to resolve water-sharing disputes.

    Q. India says the Kishenganga project does not violate the Indus Waters Treaty. What is Pakistan’s position?

    A. The Kishenganga River runs through Kashmir, and becomes the Neelum River. Water flows through Azad Jammu and Kashmir for 165 km before joining the Jhelum at Muzaffarabad. Now 70-80 kilometres of this river also run through Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. So the water re-routed by the Kishenganga power project reduces the flow of water going to Muzaffarabad. And then, Pakistan also has one project on the Jhelum River – the Neelum-Jhelum hyrdro-electric power project.

    What are the adverse impacts of this one project according to the Indus Water Treaty? One, it reduces our annual energy generation. Two, the Kishenganga project also has an environmental impact because the depth of the water is reduced and this has an impact on the flora and fauna in Azad Jammu and Kashmir through which the Neelum flows. Three, there are technical problems in the design of the Kishenganga project such as the height of the gates and so on.

    Q. But India contends that that it started its Kishenganga project earlier than Pakistan’s Neelum-Jhelum project. According to the Indus Water Treaty, India may construct a power plant on the rivers given to Pakistan provided it does not interfere with existing hydro-electric use by Pakistan. Is this true?

    A. Yes. But the Jhelum waters were given to Pakistan. And going by the spirit of the treaty, while the waters are Pakistan’s to use, both countries can accrue benefits. When India made its plans known to Pakistan, that did not mean Pakistan did not have the intention [of constructing a plant]. In 1989, we told India that we are constructing a project there. India wanted to inspect the site. At the time, it was only a small exploration tunnel. Now the intention has been shown, with the Chinese being given the project. So we have a legal case.

    Moreover, while the total quantity of water has not been changed, there are no guarantees that India will not store or divert water into the Wullar barrage. Certainly, re-routing will impact the flow-time and therefore reduce the quantum of water [to Pakistan].

    Q. Where are talks between India and Pakistan on the Kishenganga project now?

    A. In 1988, we came to know about Kishenganga and we asked for details. We were told that India was just conducting investigations. India is obliged by the treaty only to give detailed plans six months prior to construction.

    In 1992 or 1993, India asked to conduct its first inspection of the site of the Neelum-Jhleum project in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. That was when there was just an underground tunnel. India told us unofficially that the tunnel was an eye-wash.

    Then in 1994, we were officially informed about Kishenganga, which was to be a 330 watt storage work. Now in a storage work, there is no mention of diversion.

    The commission held five meetings between 1994 and 2006 and the storage height of the dam was ultimately reduced by 40 metres. But by 2006, Kishenganga became a run-off project. Pakistan’s position was that this is a new project, the run-off was not in the 1994 project, and the 1994 project should be considered abandoned.

    In June 2006, we raised objections. Between 2006 and 2008 the commission held three meetings. In 2008, Pakistan informed India that it intends to seek the opinion of a neutral expert appointed by the World Bank. India said Pakistan has no case and that there is no controversy since the Kishenganga project does not harm Pakistan’s usage. India wanted to resolve the issue at the level of the commission. So the government of Pakistan agreed to meet representatives of the government of India, but the meeting proved inconclusive.

    So India and Pakistan agreed to negotiations, and in March 2009, Pakistan proposed two names of negotiators. But the Indian stance remained the same. According to the treaty, if negotiations reach a deadlock than a court of arbitration can be constituted with seven experts: two from the government of Pakistan, two from the government of India and three jointly named umpires. If these names are not jointly agreed upon, then the World Bank would help.

    Pakistan’s point of view is that the direction of flow and environmental impact of the dam should be addressed by the court of arbitration, while the matter of design would be decided by the neutral expert.

    Now, the Pakistan Indus Water Commission has shortlisted several names and these are with the foreign office and the law and justice ministry who have to finalise Pakistan’s two names.

    Q. Will Pakistan be taking up other Indian projects with the World Bank?

    A. As I said, India is planning two more power projects on the River Indus. But those of concern are the ones on the Chenab because we don’t have any storage site there. So the Chenab is more vulnerable. After constructing three, including Baglihar, India intends to construct 10 to 12 more dams on the Chenab and its tributaries.


    Certainly, the treaty gives India the right, but the designs should be compliant. Already, India constructed the Wullar barrage unilaterally without informing Pakistan.

    Q. It is said that the Baglihar dam issue was settled by the World Bank in India’s favour because Pakistan did not raise the objections in time. Do you agree with that?

    A. Both parties had different points of view. When we approached the World Bank, India blocked us because it did not want a neutral expert. So the fact that a neutral expert was appointed was a small victory. The expert asked for documentation from us, which we provided. India believed that Pakistan was maligning them, but the fact is that the neutral expert settled three points in favour of Pakistan and one in India’s favour. And both parties bore the cost of the proceedings.

    Both India and Pakistan need these waters and there is a need for candidness and transparency. Political considerations should not shadow the technical aspects. Unfortunately, the technical side is subordinate to the political side.

    For example, India did not provide us updated flow data. In August 2008, India violated the treaty by not providing accurate data on the initial filling of the Baglihar dam. The treaty says the initial filling should not reduce the water flowing into Pakistan. So the initial filling of the Baglihar reduced Pakistan’s water and India should compensate for the lost water.

    Q. What impact has the construction of Indian power projects had on Pakistan’s waters? We are, after all, facing shortages for agricultural use and electricity generation.

    A. Apart from the Baglihar dam, neither Pakistan nor India has had problems with the Indus Water Treaty. But looking to the future, I foresee problems, especially given climate changes. India has already constructed 50-60, medium-sized projects and it plans more than a hundred. One hundred and fifty will be in the small catchment areas in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. This is human intervention: imagine how many trees will be cut, and the resulting environmental impact? They will also impact Pakistan’s water, given the environmental degradation and increased sediment flow.

    I think we will now have to look beyond the treaty for solutions. India is allowed run-off hydro-electric projects according to the treaty, but two or three is different from more than a hundred.

    In 1960, Pakistan did not want to give three of its rivers to India, but it did. But clearly the World Bank had not factored in climate change and the impact of human intervention. I think the World Bank treaty is likely to be jeopardised. Already, we are facing a shortage in the western rivers, how can we then compensate for the lack of water in the eastern rivers?

    Q. Do you think it is time to expand the scope of the treaty?

    A. There are some issues with that. Right now, we need to protect and implement the treaty in its full spirit without re-visiting it. But both governments should initiate talks along with expert stakeholders.

    Q. Would this be in India’s interest?

    A. Yes, because we are neighbours. The Indus Water Treaty was not a happy marriage but we accepted it. But Pakistan should take action at the appropriate time: what happens to the state of Bahawalpur where the rivers Sutlej and Ravi are dry?
    DAWN.COM | World | Jamaat Shah interview
  2. sab
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    Some Pakistani persons (I think these people are in the position to know better than you and me) think there is no issue regarding water with India, it is the fault of GoP to misguide people (for some reasons?)

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  3. Justin Joseph
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    Yes, there is no water issue at all.

    As India is not using EVEN its allotted share of water under Indus treaty. And India's share of water is freely flowing to Pakistan.



    It is best argument in pakistn to fool their people that's why pakistni government is doing this all and also fueling anti India sentiments so they get more money to buy weapons and no one will raise objection of their huge expenditure on army.
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  4. Yusuf
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    Pakistan needs to come up with some issue to keep tensions alive thats why the water issue comes up. If India was not sincere in the deal, it would have unilaterally walked of the treaty, better still not signed at all and dried up Pakistan long back. Even today if India wants it can just say Kashmir do, paani lo and turn the tap off even if it means war. But we are not doing anything of that sort.
  5. manojb
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    Rejecting recent allegations by Pakistan of non-adherence to the Indus Water Treaty, India [ Images ] on Tuesday said it was yet another move to raise an 'anti-India' bogey to create 'popular resonance' to cover-up their internal domestic water woes and asked Islamabad [ Images ] to do better water management.

    Pakistan is trying to deflect its own domestic water problem by raising the 'India bogey,' sources said adding that the attempt from that country is always to 'stall' or 'delay' any project undertaken by the Indian side.

    There are 33 hydroelectric projects by India including Baglihar and Kishanganaga, which are run-of-river projects permissible under the treaty, the sources said.

    The information about all these projects, based on their various stages, have been provided to Pakistan, they said.

    "India has all along adhered to the provisions of the treaty. There has never been the slightest of tinkering from our side," sources said, adding that most of the issues raised by Pakistan have been those of technical nature and should be addressed by the mechanism of the Permanent Indus Commission.

    The allegations by the adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Education, Sardar Aseff Ali, that India 'steals' water has whipped public hysteria.

    Even terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] and Jamaat-ud-Dawa have been trying to hype the issue by blaming India for growing scarcity of water in Pakistan and their leaders Hafiz Saeed [ Images ] and his deputy Abdur Rahman Makki were making public statements like 'Muslims dying of thirst would drink the blood of India.'

    "We would ask them (the Pakistan government) to get their act together and do a better management of water. 38 million acre feet (MAF) water constitutes what is known as average escapage to sea," the sources said.
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  6. Materialistic
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    Pakistan's internal water management has got nothing to do with the fact that India is violating Indus water treaty. Which clearly mentions that from total of six rivers, Three western tributaries will go for Pakistan which are namely Indus, Chenab & Jehlum whereas the three eastern tributaries which include Ravi, Sutlej and Beas will provide water to India. And now India is building dams on western water tributaries of Pakistan flowing from Indian occupied Kashmir, which any one possessing a peanut sized brain can understand that its an open violation of Treaty.

    Pointing on Pakistan's internal water management system won't provide any cover for stealing Pakistani water.

    Pakistan doesnt want India to build dams on our water sources and once again, Whatever we do with our water either drink it or dump it into the sea and die of thirst is completely our internal matter and India shouldn't be concerned of that. :police:

    And its not just the case with Pakistan, India has got serious water issues of same nature with Bangladesh and Nepal. So, now what Indian government wants to say is that all the countries are just making some sort of organised propaganda against india !!!
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  7. Materialistic
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    Well atleast this shouldnt come out of the mouth of any Indian government person please.

    We are already concerned about our own problems and we discuss them and find solutions to them and this issue is discussed a hundred times. I think the person concerned considers Pakistani & Indian media same just because they spell the same !!

    Its funny to turn on an Indian news channel and one realizes that there is some Mighty Super Power Called Pakistan which has sieged on some war already torn small village called India . And on contrary if you watch a Pakistani news channel its like a Pure Democratic Country busy discussing its own internal problems regarding people and where you wont get a chance to think that some country Named India actually exists on the planet (except for a news stating some on going political activity or meeting).

    If Pakistan makes some weapon no matter if buy a pack of bullets, Its given as Pakistan is not leaving any chance or opportunity to destroy India and fulfill its evil desires, and when India makes even some 3000km range missile its hardly given once in news bar at the bottom of the screen and that also not always.

    And I appreciate Amitabh Bachan who made a movie like Rann to show the real face of how Indian news media works.
  8. Hammy007
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    when india wants, it stops the water, to destroy crops by water shortage, and some times when there is an excellent harvested crop ready , india increases the water flow to destroy these crops by flood, this is what some pakistanis told me about their problems.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  9. scrumpy
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    That is the problem.

    Why not use the data and rip apart this conspiracy using mechanisms made available in the IWT. Surely if this was such an open and shut case this would have submitted for arbitration a long time back.
  10. Hutchroy
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    Water-logging, salinity threaten to destroy chief minister's home district

    Mahadev Kirshan

    The northern or upper districts of Sindh, including Ghotki, Kahirpur, Larkana, Jacobabad and Shikarpur were once hubs of agricultural products and cash crops, such as cotton, rice and fruits. The date palm of district Khairpur, the rice production of Larkana, Jacobabad and Shikarpur, and the cotton production of district Ghotki, once contributed a major portion of national agriculture production. For the past few decades, however, the reducing water flows in the Indus River, and the increasing prices of agriculture input, such as seed, fertilizers and fuel, have badly affected these agriculture-rich districts of Sindh.

    Beside water scarcity for irrigation, water-logging and salinity have emerged as ìtwin menacesî in these districts, and have damaged millions of hectares of farmland in the past few decades. Incidentally, Khairpur Mirs, the home district of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, is the worst-affected of the lot.

    This former princely state of the Talpur Mirs (the Ameers of the state) is now a picture of massive destruction, wrought by water-logging and salinity.

    Khairpur Mirs was once peaceful with vast, scattered farmlands. The rich agricultural land and weather pattern made bananas and date palms grow in the same field. Quality date palms from this district are still exported to major markets such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Denmark, Nepal, Germany, South Africa, US, Australia and Canada. Official data reveals that Khairpur Mirs exported dates worth US$38.8 million in 2008. In recent years, however, salinity has started flooding these vast scattered date-palm orchards.

    The local residents fear that if the situation continues, the date-palm orchards will be completely destroyed. The ratio of salinity flooding to soil surface doubles in the winter.

    Water-logging and salinity, however, is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan. It began in the British era, after the then government constructed controlled irrigation systems in the Indus plain, and the groundwater table started to rise steadily.

    In the 1950s, when water-logging and salinity were reported for the first time in some districts of Punjab, the government took serious notice. In the early 1960s, the Salinity Control and Reclamation Project (SCARP) was initiated under WAPDA with the help of the World Bank. Under the SCARP project, the federal government started installing SCARP public tubewell services in different districts of Sindh and Punjab to suction salinity and drain out saline water from these tubewells. Surface drain disposal systems and outfall drains were introduced.

    With the passage of time, however, the governmentís lack of interest and bureaucratic corruption has proved that these tubewells and surface drain disposal systems as a failed project. The evacuation of these surface drains was not continued for decades; thus, heavy weed infestation has completely choked these outfall drains, especially in district Khairpur Mirs. Instead of draining out salinity, these choked drains have started flooding lush green agricultural fields and vast date-palm orchards.

    Besides choked drains, the tubewells have also become ineffective and individuals have assumed ownership of some of these tubewells. They, however, were unable to keep them functional. Eventually, a majority of SCARP public tubewell services went out of order, and at many places, water suction pumps were stolen.

    With the passage of time, the salinity did not remain limited to farmlands, and started pouring into villages. According to local residents, tens of hundreds small villages in district Khairpur Mirs have become stranded underneath saline water, but the government has taken no notice whatsoever.

    Tens of thousands residents of these salinity-hit villages have migrated to safer places, while the twin menaces -- water-logging and salinity -- have left them with no other option.

    Over the past few years, residents of the salinity-hit villages began protesting over the worsening situation; after these protests, SCARP authorities sometimes sent evacuators, but this was rare.

    In the summer, the ratio of salinity reduces, but the saline water, after drying up from the land, leaves behind large deposits of salt and minerals on the soil surface. This does not allow crops to grow on these lands.

    The increasing water-logging and salinity in the district has thus not only affected date-palm orchards and villages, but underground water sources, such as hand pumps and wells, that were supposed to be sources of drinking water for human consumption, have also become polluted with saline water.

    The residents of Khairpur Mirs now demand that the government take notice of this worsening situation and restore the SCARP public tubewell services. They demand immediate relief and the evacuation of surface drain disposal systems.

    – The writer is a social activist based in Karachi.
  11. Cityboy
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    OMG 38 millin acre feet?:coffee::coffee:
  12. Kinetic
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    Pakistan is not utilizing their resources perfectly but blaming India! Indian sub-continent will remain poor if we do like that....
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  13. RajeHind
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    look what your sources say....u are responsible for your own new mess "the so called water crisis".

    DAWN.COM | Editorial | The looming water crisis

    heed the call of intelligent people in your own country instead of halfaz shaeed.
    do some case study, if you found india is violating any international level water treaty then drag it to proper international forum else work on your own mess like terrorism or else sit quite if you cann't stop ranting about india for your own mess.
  14. Spock
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    You don't seem to understand the point.

    India has repeatedly blocked the flow of the Western Rivers in to Pakistan. That is a clear violation of the Indus Water Treaty.

    I don't think this is a very complex point to understand, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    If India "do like that" which it does, Indo-Pak relations won't be getting better any time soon.
  15. EjazR
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    KAshmir Times reporting the news as well. Unfortunately, the people of J&K have to suffer from the IWT because the western rivers are to be used by Pakistan and J&K are unable to utilize fully these waters for their own benefit.

    Source: Untitled Document

    Water not an issue at all: India
    Iftikhar Gilani
    NEW DELHI, mar 9: India on Tuesday dismissed Pakistan’s concerns over flow of water and attributed its woes to “mismanagement of water resources and an attempt to divert attention from growing discontent in Sindh and Balochistan over denial of their share of Indus waters.” Pledging commitment to Indus Water Treaty (IWT) in letter and spirit, senior Indian officials here blamed Pakistan for making water a “populist issue” and expressed concern for handing this issue over to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) for raising anti-Indian sentiments.
    They described propaganda unleashed by both Pakistan’s political class as well as jihadi elements against India’s “machinations to rob the neighbouring country from its share or water” a source of concern as well as figment of imagination. They denied plans to build any storage projects on the western rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chenab which account for an average water flow of 135 million acre feet (MAF). But revealed that surveys were being conducted to explore possibility of small conservation storage projects on Chenab.
    They believed that Pakistan was concealing crucial facts from its public. According to officials, out of 135 MAF flowing through western rivers, India has right to utilise 3.6 MAF for storage projects. Even for irrigation purposes, India has used under 0.8 MAF as against 1.3 MAF allowed in the IWT. In other words, of the crop area of 13,43,477 acres that India is allowed to irrigate using waters of western rivers, it has far been irrigating only 7,92,426 acres.
    Officials further said India had provided 62 million pounds to Pakistan under the treaty to construct ‘replacement’ canals as compensation for surrendering eastern rivers for India. But, India has not been able to harness the entire potential of eastern rivers laving 3 MAF water flowing to Pakistan.
    Coupled with mismanagement of water resources, Pakistan’s woes are compounded by rising silt levels in Indus waters, deforestation and rising temperatures. That means Indus waters were not reaching whole length of the canals in Pakistan and the country may experience a deficit of 30 per cent of water by 2025. Further due to silting at the Tarbela and Mangla dams Pakistan has lost 32 per cent of its storage capacity.
    Officials said at the time of enacting of IWT, India and Pakistan had irrigable areas at 26 million acres and 39 million acres respectively under these six rivers. The water made available to Pakistan was 135.6 MAF and to India 32.8 MAF. This means for India only 1.26 feet of water is available for its agriculture and for Pakistan’s agriculture it is 3.5 feet.
    Quoting Pakistan’s own documents, Indian officials said about 30 MAF water was “available surplus” to Pakistan with a very high escapage to the sea. They believe that Pakistan’s irrigation efficiency is also low, at an estimated 40 per cent.
    Further the river flow from India to Pakistan has almost halved between 1999 and 2009 due to reduced rainfall and snow melt.
    There are 33 hydroelectric projects by India including Baglihar and Kishanganaga, which are run-of-river projects permissible under the treaty, the sources said. The information about all these projects, based on their various stages, have been provided to Pakistan, they said.
    "India has all along adhered to the provisions of the treaty. There has never been the slightest of tinkering from our side," officials said, adding that most of the issues raised by Pakistan have been those of technical nature and should be addressed by the mechanism of the Permanent Indus Commission.
    The allegations by the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Education, Sardar Aseff Ali, that India "steals" water has whipped public hysteria.
    "We would ask them (the Pakistan government) to get their act together and do a better management of water. 38 million acre feet (MAF) water constitutes what is known as average escapage to sea," the officials said.
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