Strategic Foresight Group, a political think tank based in Mumbai-India, has released a report called ‘Indus Equation’ that provides clarifications on the water issues between India and Pakistan.
Key findings of the report:
Pakistan’s water supply is not simply predicated on Indian dam building. Water shortages in Pakistan are also a result of poor demand management and the increasing effects of climate change.
Pakistan’s irrigation sector has some of the lowest conveyance efficiencies in the world. 25% of the water supply in the irrigation sector is misplaced in ‘line losses’ and only 36% of the water is actually absorbed by the crops due to poor ‘field application efficiency’.
40-60% of the water flow in the Indus River comes from glacial meltwater from the Himalayas and hence the Indus River is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change. The Former Head of China’s Meteorological Administration Qin Dahe has said that Tibetan glaciers are retreating faster than any other glaciers in the world and once these glaciers vanish “water supplies in Pakistan will be in peril.”
The report also elucidates how unequal distribution, water pollution, seawater intrusion and siltation contribute to poor water supply in Pakistan.
The second part of the report concludes that there are mechanisms in place to protect Pakistan’s water supply flowing from India and these mechanisms are enshrined in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).
- The Indus Water Treaty, since its inception in 1960, has never been breached.
- In April 2008 Pakistan’s Former Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah stated that, “The hydroelectric projects India is developing are on the run-of-the-river waters of these rivers, projects which India is permitted to pursue according to the treaty.”
- India is allowed to build run-of-the-river dams on the Western Rivers of the Indus as these dams have a limited amount of storage. In any case India has always been open to design changes and the process of arbitration with regard to these dams. This was true in the case of the Baglihar Dam, the Wullar Barrage and it is true in the case of the Kishanganga Dam.
Much of the controversy around water has arisen because people do not know the facts. The ‘Indus Equation’ aims to provide facts and figures that would remove popular misconceptions and help ease tensions between the two neighbours.
To access the whole report, please click: http://www.strategicforesight.com/110617.pdf