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Indus Waters Treaty

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    22nd Oct, 2019

Union minister Nitin Gadkari said the government, under the Indus Waters Treaty, has decided to stop its share of water which was used to flow to Pakistan.

Context

Union minister Nitin Gadkari said the government, under the Indus Waters Treaty, has decided to stop its share of water which was used to flow to Pakistan.

About

  • The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank to use the water available in the Indus System of Rivers located in India.
  • The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.
  • According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three "eastern" rivers of India the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India.
  • While control over the water flowing in three "western" rivers of India the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan.
  • Since Pakistan's rivers receive more water flow from India, the treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unlimited use for power generation, domestic, industrial and non-consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc.

History and background

  • The waters of the Indus System of Rivers begin mainly in Tibet region of China and the Himalayan Mountains in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • They flow through the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Sindh, etc before emptying into the Arabian Sea south of Karachi and Kori Creek in Gujarat.
  • The partition of British India created a conflict over the waters of the Indus basin.
  • The geography of partition was such that the Source Rivers of the Indus basin were in India. Pakistan felt its livelihood threatened by the prospect of Indian control over the tributaries that fed water into the Pakistani portion of the basin.

Why is the Indus Waters treaty important for Pakistan?

  • Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are the lifelines of Pakistan as the country is highly dependent on these rivers for its water supply.
  • Since these rivers do not originate from Pakistan but flow to the country through India, Pakistan fears the threat of drought and famine.
  • While Chenab and Jhelum originate from India, Indus originates from China, making its way to Pakistan via India.

How is India utilising the waters of Eastern Rivers?

  • It allows India to use only 20 per cent of the total water carried by the Indus River.
  • To utilise the waters of the Eastern Rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi.
  • These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share of the eastern river waters.
  • About two MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan.
  • Centre is currently taking three steps - resumption of construction of Shahpurkandi project; construction of Ujh multipurpose project; and a second Ravi-Beas link below Ujh.
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