The Indus Water Treaty

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Just at partition of sub-continent of India on 14-15 August 1947, the ties between two newly independent countries India and Pakistan became very tense over the distribution of water as a "resource". India threatened to stop the three eastern rivers irrigating mainland of Pakistan from waters of the river Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. This meant strangulating Pakistan who solely depended for its survival on agro-based economy. India could do that because the root-sources of all the five tributaries of the Indus - Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej remained in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

World Bank officials brokered a treaty into the famous Indus Water Treaty in 1960 with Indian and Pakistani diplomats. According to the agreement, India got the exclusive control over the waters of the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej, whereas Pakistan controls the waters of the Indus, Jhelum and the Chenab. The Treaty came under heavy fire in India, as Pakistan was given 75% of the water of Indus Water Basin System. Pakistan's reaction was that the treaty allowed only 75% of the water when it had 90% of the irrigated land. This divergence of stance is now resulting in contentious issues such as Baglihar, Salal dam and Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Projects of India.

The Chenab issue is getting critical ever since India has built the controversial Baglihar dam on part of the river that flows on their land, saying that the dam has been built on run-of-the-water and as such the amount of water to Pakistan would not reduce. Baglihar hydroelectric power project was built 150 km north of Indian Occupied Kashmir in 2008. There were many impediments and controversies including Indian manipulation of IWT which allowed India under carefully specified conditions to tap the hydropower potential of the three western rivers that dam was built on "run-of-the-river".

Journeys into the Heart of the World's Water Crisis", addresses the water issue that many scientists contend will be the cause of future world conflicts - the world is running out of water. The area irrigated by the eastern rivers has been supplied water from the western rivers through effective link-canals system, requiring massive hydraulic structures. This unnatural transfer of water has altered the natural flow regime of rivers. This diversion of water has devastated the whole aquatic ecosystem and culture of Pakistan, turning the water unfit for human consumption as well as unusable for agricultural purposes.

India should release water from its own share to save the Indus delta so vital for keeping the regional ecological system robust. Pakistan has a remarkable history of successfully confronting major water challenges. Since India and Pakistan are hopeful about a breakthrough on Sir Creek issue, it is possible to strike a new treaty for the collective good of the countries where rivers flow through them.

Feroz Ahmed Bawany goal is to increase my knowledge and to understand the only civilized creations of Almighty Lord are HUMAN. He is a regular contributer to TRCB.com.

 

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