THIS is apropos of the letter ‘India violating water laws’ (Nov 24). The statements by the writer that the Indus Waters Treaty) “surely does not make any allowances for building any sort of reservoirs, dams, etc, for storage purpose.

India, however, uses the water from western rivers flowing within its territory for irrigation and has been accused of constructing multiple projects for storing water, thus impacting Pakistan’s supply” are factually incorrect.

The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) provides for agricultural use of waters of the western rivers by India as laid down in Annexure C of the treaty.

India can have additional irrigated cropped area (ICA) of 1.34 million acres, however, only additional 0.15 million acres of area has been irrigated.

The IWT provides that the aggregate storage capacity of all single-purpose and multi-purpose reservoirs, which may be constructed by India after the treaty of western rivers, shall not exceed 3.6 MAF (1.25 MAF of general storage, 1.6 MAF of power storage and 0.75 MAF of flood storage).

As compared to the above entitlement, India has built no storage so far. In general, India’s use of waters of the western rivers is much less than it is entitled to under the IWT.

The writer further makes another factually incorrect comment that “Pakistan has been opposing projects by India that violate water laws such as the Baglihar, Kishenganga and Wullar projects that have built greater water storage”.

On Baglihar, Pakistan’s objections were referred to a neutral expert in 2005 at the request of Pakistan. The expert upheld India’s design approach and suggested only minor changes in the scope of construction. The changes have since been carried out by India.

The other issue raised by Pakistan regarding initial filling of the Baglihar reservoir was resolved by the Permanent Indus Commission at its meeting held in June 2010. Thus issues related to Baglihar stand settled.

The Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project is now in the court of arbitration constituted at Pakistan’s request. The court is yet to render its award.

The works on the Tulbul navigation project/Wullar Barrage were unilaterally stopped by India in October, 1986, and remain suspended since then.

On the basis of such incorrect facts, the writer concludes that “India being the upper riparian play its role according to international water laws to minimise water scarcity to reduce security threat at the regional level”.

India has all along adhered to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty in letter and in spirit. We have never deprived Pakistan of its share of water under the treaty and have no intention of doing so.

In our view, sharing of waters between India and Pakistan must be rooted firmly in the framework of this treaty, which is an example of the mutually-beneficial cooperation for the past more than 50 years.

JANARDAN SINGH First Secretary( Inf) High Commission of India Islamabad

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Comments (2)

Asma Yaqoob
December 5, 2012 3:12 pm
It is true that to date India has not built any dams on the western rivers of Indus Basin beyond the limit permitted by the Treaty. But the number of dams proposed by India (more than 90) on the Indus Basin will cumulatively affect the time and flow of water both within India and across the border to Pakistan. The Treaty restricts any party to cause significant harm to other party in the utilisation of trans-boundary rivers. International Water Law also stipulates the same thing with regard to the "inherent duties of upstream riparian". The global practice however leaves little room for the clarification of what is equitable in terms of upstream-downstream uses. Pakistans' fears regarding the downsream impacts of Indian dams on the western rivers of the Indus Basin are similar to the recently propounded fears of India regarding the Chinese construction of dams upstream Brahamaputra. It is not only the debate regarding what is allowed in the Treaty and what is not? Growing climate change impacts on the river basins are leading the countries around regions to conceive water development in terms of basin-wise management and not nation-wise management. India and Pakistan should also move ahead. Asma Yaqoob Research Analyst Institute of Regional Studies Islamabad
zafar khan
December 5, 2012 11:30 am
India must give us our right of water.
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