Hydrological war of India against Pakistan
Plans, Impact and Consequences
Introduction / Background
During past decade nuclear arch rivals Pakistan and India came to brink of war many times but shown restrain every time. Better sense prevailed on both sides.
In 2004 by announcing unilateral ceasefire at LOC (line of control) Pakistan paved the way forward for durable peace in subcontinent. It was envisaged after initialising peace process that now as both the countries are N-capable so they are bound to solve their bilateral issues on table but courtesy to Indian aggressive water policy these hopes are fading away with each passing day.
Population growth in subcontinent is major impediment in progress. Pakistan is facing stiff challenges on many fronts. Water and energy security are most important of these.
Pakistan is on the brink of water disaster and its availability has decreased to 1,200 cubic meters per person from 5,000 cubic meters in 1947 and is predicted to plunge to 800 cubic meters by 2020. This is alarming situation and making the things even worse India has started many hydro power projects, dams, reservoirs and barrages on
Pakistani rivers in Kashmir.
Water dispute between Pakistan and India started when a boundary commission for demarcating the international boundaries, in the states of Punjab and Bengal under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Radcliffe was constituted. He awarded most of the canals and the canal irrigated land to Pakistan, but the sources of all the five tributaries of the Indus- Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej- remained in India. Thus, India continued to be the "upstream riparian" of the Indus and its tributaries. To fully comprehend the complication that the Indus River bears, it is essential to understand Indus River system.
Situation is going to get worse in future if India completed all its projects on Pakistani rivers flowing from Kashmir into Pakistan. Many international authors and thinkers have already rung the alarm bell while analyzing Pakistan’s water, food and energy security in future in context of Indian plans on Pakistani rivers and clumsy response from many Pakistani governments in Islamabad.
Indus River Basin
Dispute between Pakistan and India on water can only be understood after getting an insight about Indus river basin system.
Soon after independence, the problem drew the attention of the governments of India and Pakistan as both countries wanted to extend irrigation on their side of border. Bilateral negotiations were initially held but settlement was ultimately arrived under the
patronage of the World Bank. In Sep. 1960, The Indus Water Treaty was signed.
Under this treaty, Pakistan received exclusive rights to the water from the three Western rivers – Indus, Jelum and Chenab – with an assured flow of about 166.46 x 109 m3 or 135 million acre-feet (MAF). Water from three eastern rivers- Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, with an annual flow of 33 MAF were allocated to India. The treaty established a transition period up to 31st March 1970 for Pakistan to construct its systems of works, called Indus st Basin Replacement Plan. Meanwhile, India was to continue supply of water to Pakistan to irrigate about 1.2 Mha area before replacement works (two storage dams, five barrages, one siphon and eight link canal system) were completed. As a result, there is an impressive list of post independence irrigation works in the Pakistan.
History of Indo-Pak Water Dispute
• Brief history of Water disputes between Pak and India
Prior to independence the British started to establish a linked canal system in various parts of subcontinent. For this purpose number of headworks and canals were built, dams were envisioned.
On April 1st, 1948, India stopped supply of water to Pakistan from every canal flowing from India to Pakistan. Pakistan protested and India finally agreed on an interim agreement on May 4, 1948 (Inter-Dominion Accord). This accord required India to release sufficient waters to Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from the government of Pakistan so this agreement was not a permanent solution.
By 1951, dispute had taken a very dangerous turn as both countries were not talking to each other on this matter anymore and a war was very much at hands therefore, Pakistan approached the World Bank in 1952 to help breaking the deadlock and settle
the problem permanently. Negotiations were carried out between the two countries through the offices of the World Bank for six years (1954-60). It was finally in Ayub Khan's regime that an agreement was signed between India and Pakistan in September
1960. This agreement is known as the Indus Water Treaty.
• Indus Water Treaty 1960 (IWT)
This treaty divided the use of rivers and canals between the two countries. Pakistan obtained exclusive rights for three western rivers, namely Indus, Jehlum and Chenab. And India retained rights to three eastern rivers, namely Ravi, Beas and Sutluj. The
treaty also guaranteed ten years of uninterrupted water supply. During this period Pakistan was to build huge dams, financed partly by long-term World Bank loans and compensation money from India but India denied money to Pakistan for this purpose.
After Indian denial of money The Bank responded with a plan for external financing supplied mainly by the United States and the United Kingdom Three multipurpose dams, Warsak, Mangla and Tarbela were built. A system of eight link canals was also built and the remodeling of existing canals was carried out. Five barrages and a gated
siphon were also constructed under this treaty.
Important points of IWT (Indus water Treaty)
1. India will have exclusive right over Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) until they crossed into Pakistan.
2. Pakistan will have exclusive rights over Western Rivers (Chenab, Jehlum and Indus)
3. India will be allowed to use Western River waters for non-consumption use only (excluding irrigation and storage).
4. India will pay one time to Pakistan for loss of its water of Eastern Rivers.
5. A transitions period till 31 March 1970 will be maintained by both sides so that Pakistan can build its link canal system to divert water from its Western Rivers to Eastern Rivers through these link canals.
6. Both sides will avoid building any man made structure which can change natural course of water.
7. Both sides will be responsible for maintaining Indus basin by adopting best practices available.
8. India will be bound to inform Pakistan about design of any work on Western river well before start of any work on Western rivers.
9. If India construct any work on Western Rivers it will supply water downstream that was received by a dam or barrage within 24 hours.
Indian Plans for Pakistani Rivers
IWT was a treaty heavily in favor of India. India got unrestricted allocation of Eastern Rivers and some limited allocation on Western Rivers along with permission to complete under-construction dams and reservoir these included Mahora, Ganderbal,
Kupwara, Bhadarwah, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Chinani Nichalani Banihal etc. Pakistan did accept accord as there were still guarantees and criteria to ensure water availability to Pakistan and this was perhaps the last chance for settling the dispute peacefully.
India till this day has continued to pursue its dream of making Pakistan docile to fulfill Indian desires. To achieve this dream India decided to manipulate provisions of IWT1960 cleverly and now is in process of building multiple dams and barrages clearly
breaching the provisions described in the treaty. The aim is to damage link canal system of Pakistan by blocking water in one season and to destroy ready crops in the other season by releasing excessive waters through these dams and barrages. Diversion of water is also a disturbing practice opted by India during recent years.
Below are the details of some of the current and proposed Indian projects on Western rivers. These details clearly showcase intentions of India about water flow towards Pakistan.
India has already built 14 hydroelectric plants on Chenab River and is building more plants which will enable it to block entire water of Chenab for 20-25 days. These dams have also enabled India to release huge quantity of water downstream not only to cause damage to standing crops but also to our canal systems. Chenab River provides water to 21 canals and irrigates about 7 million acres of agriculture land in Punjab province of Pakistan.
• Baglihar Dam
Baglihar Dam is located near Doda (on river Chenab which according to Indus Water Treaty belongs to Pakistan. Baglihar dam is 143 meters (470 feet) high, equal to world’s largest rockfilled dam at Tarbela, Pakistan. The dam also houses gated spillways to control the flow of water of river Chenab.
India initiated this project in 1999 and spent more money than what was estimated. The increase in initial estimated cost of the dam in 2002 resulted in Rs5 per unit (highest in India) increase cost of electricity to be produced from the dam. Baglihar dam was the first project by Indian which was referred to neutral expert in the World Bank.
Pakistan time and again reminded India about its reservations and concerns regarding this project but instead of taking Pakistani concerns into consideration India continued construction of Baglihar dam even
after the matter was taken to World
Bank for arbitration. Pakistan raisedfollowing concerns regarding design of
• Height of Dam: Height of freeboard (The vertical distance between the top of the dam and the full supply level on the reservoir) of dam must be reduced as it is in excess of designed parameter of the dam.
• Gated spillways: India must abandon gated spillways design as it will enable India to manipulate water flow by blocking. There must be only a run of river project.
• Poundage /Storage: Storage capacity of reservoir of the dam must be reduced so that flow of the river is not interrupted.
The World Bank expert Raymond Lafitte approved the project in February 2007 but asked India to reduce height of the freebed by one and a half meters and reduction in poundage of storage from Indian claimed 38 million cubic meter (MCM) to 32 million cubic meter whereas Pakistan asked to reduce it. Other objections were rejected.
During 2008 Rabi sowing season (Jan-Mar) Pakistan suffered a loss of more than 20 billion rupees. Not only that but production of Wheat crop along with petty crop like Rice, Cotton also got affected due to low water in canals originated from Chenab.
Financial Viability of the project shows India is determined to cut flow of Pakistani rivers from Kashmir. Per MW cost of electricity from Baglihar is Rs8.89 Corer which is much higher than other parts of India and the only reason for that is the increased cost
of the project which was initially estimated at Rs27 Billion but increased to more than Rs40 billion. Despite this surge in cost India never showed any hesitation to undertake this enterprise. Cost will further increase after India modified its design in order to
implement verdict of neutral expert which includes reducing height of freeboard of dam.
Hydrologic viability is another gauge of Indian intention behind this project. After commissioning second phase of Baglihar total electricity out put will be 900 MW. The question here is; whether 900 MW production at Baglihar viable? For how many days in a year the production could be maintained at that rate?
In its May 2005 issue, ‘Dams, Rivers & People’ reported, “It will require 860 cumecs of water (to generate 900 MW), but Chenab flow reduces to lower than that in winter. In fact flow in Chenab reduced to upto 50 cumecs. The Indian authorities have not made public the hydrologic data or the projected power generation from the project. The experience of the existing 690 MW Salal project on Chenab 480 MW Uri HEP on the adjoining basin Jhelum shows that these projects in fact generate much less power in winter when the need for power is maximum in J&K.”
So it is evident that purposes of the dam, electrical station, reservoir and gated spillways are much more than what the Indians have projected about this dam.
• Salal Dam
This dam was built on River Chenab in 1987 and was commissioned in 1993; it is built downstream of Baglihar. It is medium size dam with height of 113 meters and it has a reservoir level of 494 meters. Means it can block water of Chenab.
Water discharging from downstream of Baglihar reaches Salal.
India has always claimed that hydro projects in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) are for the population of Jammu and Kashmir but according to official sources of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), the main contractor and builder of many dams in India and Kashmir including Salal dam, electricity generated by Salsal project will be provided to Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Rajhisthan, and Uttar Pradesh, and the union territory of Chandigarh.
Like always India told the world and Pakistan that this project is built adopting run-of- river method (without any reservoir) but below image taken from Google Maps clearly exposes a reservoir and blocked water flow of Chenab.
• Dul Hasti
Located in Kishtwar district Hydro-electric power project comprises a “diversion dam ” at ‘Dul’ across the river Chenab and a power house at ‘Hasti’. Test runs begun in 2007. The dam was initiated by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi way back in 1983. Thedam infrastructure was demolished once by Kashmiri freedom fighters in early 1990s and work on dam was abandoned afterwards. The construction started later on the project. Once again built in Kashmir, the dam benefits only parts of India including Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan and Chandigarh whereas Jammu and Kashmir will merely get 12% of royalty of the project.
Concrete gravity dam of 185 m length and 65 m height has an ungated spillway of 40 m and a gated spillway of 64 m with 4 radial gates. Again gated spillways are there just to stop flow of water to Pakistan.
IWT1960. Chenab is biggest victim of
Indian water aggression on which 8
dams are being built
This dam also tells the same story how committed India is to carry the plan to barren Pakistan completely by blocking flow of water of Pakistani rivers. Initial cost of the dam was estimated at Rs183 crore (in 1983) but due to delays the project cost climbed to Rs5228 Corer. This is 28 times increase in cost but still India completed this project and commissioned it on April 26, 2008. War is the only thing where any government can put so much resources and time on a single project.
• Tawi-Ravi Link
River Tawi is a major left bank tributary of Chenab. It also flows into Pakistan along with Chenab and finally joins latter. To steal river Tawi’s water India built a lift irrigation scheme on the left bank of Tawi River. Main elements of this scheme are an uplift pump near Bahu fort in Jammu city and a canal system which joins another canal, Ravi-Link canal, near Vijaypur. Ravi Link Canal is drawn out from right bank of river Ravi.
To send water into Tawi canal system, uplift water pumps lift water 31 meter higher from river level and put it into canal from where it is send to Ravi-Link Canal so that India can use this water in Ravi River which was given to India in IWT 1960.
• Future Plans of India on Chenab
Indian determination to make Pakistan barren in near future has pushed her nefarious designs up to next level. All the above mentioned dams were not adequate to fulfill Indian designs against Pakistan therefore more dams and reservoirs are planned on
river Chenab according to next five-year development plan of India. Below is the detail of these projects.
• Pakal Dul & other Chenab Basin Projects
Pakal Dul and two other projects aggregating to about 2100 MW in Chenab Basin are proposed to be implemented through a Joint Venture Company in pursuance to MoU signed on 10.10.2008.
According to Indian ministry of water Pakal Dul (Drangdhuran) Hydroelectric Project is envisioned as a reservoir based scheme proposed on river Marusudar, the main right bank tributary of river Chenab in Kishtwar Tehsil of Doda District in Jammu & Kashmir. This is again a violation of IWT. The Project envisages construction of a concrete face rockfill dam across river Marusudar at village Drangdhuran and an underground Powerhouse at a location 2 km upstream of Dul dam, near village Trimuli. At Full Reservoir Level (EL 1700 M), the gross storage of the reservoir is 125.4 MCM. The project will cost more than Rs5500 Corer.
After Baglihar, It will be interesting to see how an even higher dam affects the flow of Chenab and this is the first time Indians are going to build a dam with reservoir and they have announced this plan vocally. Capacity of the reservoir is another indication of
how big this will be after completion. Baglihar with its 32 MCM can reduce flow of 7000 cusecs to Pakistan it must be much easier to understand that what impact a reservoir with a capacity of 124.4 MCM will have on downstream flow of the river.
Environmentally, this project can prove to be an ecological disaster as most of its submerged area will consist of forests and agriculture lands. Submergence of forest land leads to loss of biodiversity and habitat destruction of wildlife on the other hand submergence of agriculture land as well as dwelling require rehabilitation of ousted people.
• The Bursar Hydroelectric Project
To complete the agenda of blocking water of Chenab India has stepped up its plansmainly encouraged by clumsy and delayed response and quietness of Pakistani government on other above mentioned dams.
India wants a reservoir based dam upstream to all other dams i.e. Pakal Dul, Dul Hasti, Rattle, Baglihar, Sawalkot and Salal Hydroelectric Projects, thereby enhancing the potential of all downstream schemes in winter season as Chenab flow reduces to a large extent in winter. India needs enough water which she can feed to its downstream dams then those dams will also store water and hence blocking entire water of Chenab in winter season when Pakistani farmer sow wheat. This purpose will be served by The Bursar Hydroelectric Project. It is declared Indian project and it is going to be a reservoir based dam.
According to Indian claims this will mitigate the shortage of water availability in the river during the winter months. But this dam just like Pakal Dul will be built on Marusudar River a major right bank tributary of Chenab. Pakal Dul dam itself will have a storage capacity of 125 MCM besides this Bursar another dam will be a 252m high rockfill dam these two dams will give India total control of this major tributary of Chenab.
Once again a project built on Pakistani river flowing in a disputed territory will serve Indian states Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Union territories of Chandigarh & Delhi.
Jehlum is second in list of Western Rivers which were given to Pakistani according to IWT in 1960. Indian plans to block water of Pakistani Rivers ajre not limited to Chenab. Jehlum is the next target of India. Indian schemes on this river are more impudent and will violate IWT much more meanly.
On Chenab Indian are busy building dams with excessive poundage capacities while on Jhelum plans are more inline with diversion of water from Jehlum and its tributaries so that flow of river can be reduced when it cross into Pakistan.
• Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project
This barrage is going to be built on river Jelhum near mouth of Wullar Lake near Sopore town in Kashmir. Wullar is largest fresh water lake in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan gave it the name according to design of project i.e. Wullar Barrage while India once
again to deceive everybody around calls it Tulbul Navigation Project.
Barrages are built mainly to divert water from rivers into canals for irrigation or link purposes. India has no such provision on Jehlum under IWT. This barrage was proposed in 1984 when tension between Pakistan and India was high. Mostly projects built on Western rivers were conceived in 1980s. India claims that this barrage will make Jehlum navigable in summer while Pakistan knows that India will use it as a geo-strategic weapon to manipulate flow of water specifically in winter.
This project is a clear violation of IWT as according to IWT India is not allowed to built any man- made structure on Western river which can interrupt flow of any of these rivers. This proposed barrage will eventually have a potential to destroy whole triple canal system which Pakistan built after IWT was signed. This system includes major canals which irrigate millions of acres in Punjab and consists of Upper Jhelum Canal, Upper Chenab Canal and the Lower Bari Doab Canal.
According to the original Indian plan, the barrage was expected to be of 439-feet long and 40-feet wide, and would have a maximum storage capacity of 0.30 million acres feet of water.
What India has done to Pakistan in case of Baglihar dam there is no reason to believe what India is telling the world about this project. World Bank once again favoured India on this project as well and could not force her to abandon the project when the matter was referred to it in 1986 eventually Pakistan was forced to knock the door of International Arbitral Court in 1987 when India was forced to stop further construction work.
Wullar Barrage is one of the agenda item in composite dialogue between Pakistan and India and after more than 10 rounds there is no progress as usual due to Indian persistence that this project is rightful under IWT.
Once again India named this project as such so that real intension can be concealed. Kishanganga project is going to be a dam on river Neelam, known as Kishanganga in Indian Held Kashmir. Geologically it is an extremely complex project as it will have a 27 km long tunnel to divert water of Neelam from its natural course which is a clear violation of IWT. This tunnel will be connected to Jehlum in South through North Kashmir mountain range.
The tunnel will initiate and take water from a 103 meter high reservoir on river Neelam. This reservoir is also part of the project and will submerge almost the entire Gurez valley along the AJK's Neelum valley but for India any ecological disaster is miner thing to take into consideration when it comes to blocking or diverting Pakistani water so these concerns were never taken up by higher echelons in New Delhi.
The plan is to change the course of river Neelam about 100 km from its natural course and link it to Jehlum at Wullar Lake near Bandipur through a channel and above mentioned tunnel.
Presently, the Neelam and Jhelum rivers join each other at Muzaffarabad at a point called Domail. Through the proposed Wullar barrage project, India claims to maintain constant yearly flow in Jhelum but in reality this 100- kilometre diversion of the Neelum River, Pakistan's Neelum Valley could dry up and become a desert.
The most important issue here is the diversion of the Neelum River waters to the Wuller Lake. According to some estimates, the diversion will also reduce the flow of water into Pakistan by a factor in between 25 percent to 33 percent. Further it will ruin Pakistan’s Neelum-Jhelum project as water of Neelam will be diverted by India already from its 14 natural course and power generation capacity of the project will reduce to an extent that sole purpose of the project would die. Blueprints and technical stipulations for this project were finalised in 1997 and WAPDA selected this project in 2001 for execution under its Vision 2025.
India is going to complete its project after a gap of 18 years and the cost have gone up by 68% than what it was estimated at the time of its inception.
India wants to gain control over Neelam and that’s why she has decided to initiate work on the project in 2008 and complete it by January 2016. Although the matter is disputed between two countries but Indian intentions are to exploit condition in IWT which allow control over Neelam’s water to whoever completes their project first. In 2008, Indian minister for water affairs, Jairam Ramesh, said,“This project is of strategic importance to India. We will shortly take the revised cost estimates of Rs3,700 crore ($928 million) for the project for the cabinet’s approval. We have to move heaven and earth to ensure the earliest commissioning of the project,” This statement must be an eye opener for anyone who still has any doubt about Indian plans about making Pakistan barren in near future.
This project would pose a serious threat to wildlife in and around Wullar Lake and also affect people who live on the banks of Neelam and utilise its water for daily usage. Even environmentalists in India have objected to the project.
Once again the beneficiary states include Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Union Territory of Chandigarh & Delhi for a project which is going to be executed in Jammu and Kashmir and was claimed to be a project for local population of Jammu and Kashmir.
• URI Power Project
Uri hydro power project is next dam on a Pakistani river where a dam is constructed. Uri is a town on the river Jhelum in the Baramula district, in Jammu and Kashmir . The town is very near to LoC. This project consists of a 52 m high and 152 meter long dam with 4 spillways.
Indian claims that purpose of the project was to generate cheap electricity from run of river project. In reality this project is already causing many problems to locals and to ecosystem as well.
According to Jan 2006 issue of ‘Dams, River and people’ it was expected to generate full output almost continuously for five months of the year (April-Aug) with production falling to lower levels in the winter.
Further it was stated that project has cost 98% more than initial estimates meaning doubling the cost of power generated and yet it performed 27% less than what was envisaged since its commissioning in 1996-97. NHPC, company which has built the dam admitted in 2004-05 that URI is a non-peaking station and the result is low performance and huge cost of the electricity produced by this project which is too high to buy for state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Uri project was executed without a proper plan for the people affected by the project and their compensation is due compensation issues remain unresolved over eight years after completion of the project.
Instead of learning some lesson from its mistakes made in Uri-I, India has announced to undertake Uri-II hydro power project which will be built downstream to Uri-I.
Accordingly to NHPC this Project is planned immediately downstream of Uri-I and will pick up its tail water to make use of the gross head of about 130m available in the course of the river between Uri-I tailrace outlet and a place located about 1.25 km downstream of the confluence of Goalta Nallah and Jhelum River, close to the Line of Control (LoC).
It is strange to go for such a project which is located at line of fire despite the failure of Uri-I which already has destroyed another old 1962 built Mohra HEP of 9 MWas URI diverts all the water from upstream of this project. Now this must be no surprise why
16 after so many failures in one single project India has given a go-ahead to its second extension at the same location.
From all above mentioned projects it has become clear that Indian intentions about Pakistani waters are very malicious. India is very carefully choosing spots on Western Rivers so that it can block flow of water despite small size of dams and reservoirs. These spots are located in areas where rivers flow very low in winter season. Even small and medium size dams on these spot on rivers and their tributaries will enable India to manipulate water flow if it is desired.
Indus is largest river in Pakistan and largest of all three Western rivers which were allocated to Pakistan under IWT in 1960. the river initiates from China and reaches Jammu and Kashmir region and flow there for a kilometer and then cross into Northern
areas of Pakistan and take its natural turn towards south in NWFP and continues for almost 1700 kilometer towards south passing through Punjab and Sindh before it finally falls into Arabian Sea.
Indus is fed from nine Himalayan glaciers and number of tributaries also initiated from Himalayan ranges. Although Indus and its tributaries belong to Pakistan as per IWT but India has started building dams ( work on minimum three is underway) on Indus main and its tributaries to interrupt flow of Indus before it cross into Pakistan.
According to media reports Indian Parliament has approved construction of 500 km long train track from Hamachel Pradesh to Ladakh which would be utilised for transportation of construction material for Kargil dam and three other reservoirs being built on the Indus River.
Below are the details of dams Indian are building on Indus
• Nimoo Bazgo
Nimoo Bazgo is 57 m (187 feet) high Concrete Gravity dam which is under construction on main Indus River. The main site is located 70 km from Leh and work is already underway.
Once again Indian claim that this is a run-on-river scheme but looking at average availability of water in the river in winter it is hard to believe that this is a hydro power project. India initiated this dam in November 2006 and completion is planned to be happen in October 2010.
The dam is being built on a location where seven sub watersheds join Indus and the dam is going to face a problem of muck due to geology of the site. The area is highly non forest so nothing will stop water from brining mud along with water which would have a possibility to stop water flow completely.
India seems to be in hurry to complete this project so a massive workforce is deployed on the site and almost 75 percent of the work has been completed.
India is spending Rs6.11 billion just to produce 45 MW electricity and that would only possible when power station works on full capacity which is not possible in winter when glaciers stop melting.
The more interesting thing to note here is Indian contractor (NHPC) never released any data on its website regarding capacity of the reservoir and type of spillways which is really disturbing as any gated spillways on Indus would enable India to block every drop of water flowing into Pakistan.
• The Dumkhar
Following the pattern of building multiple dams on western rivers in single area, which was adopted on Chenab, India is perusing its plan daringly for Indus river as well and there has been a urgency in this drive since last year or so. After Nimoo-Bagzo, India’s next dam would be some 48 km downstream i.e. Dumkhar hydro power porject. The project is located 128 Km from Leh near Dumkhar village.
The Dumkhar project envisages construction of a 42 m high concrete gravity dam across river Indus. This dam would also house two diversion tunnels although the project is a run on river but still diversion tunnels will affect the flow of water particularly in winter
Again no data is given about reservoir and discharge spillways (gated or ungated) is provided by Indian authorities.
• Chutak Hydroelectric Project
Just like tributaries of Chenab Indian belligerence is once again evident by Chutak dam which India is building on river Suru. River Suru is one of major Indus river tributary.
The barrage of the project is located near Sarzhe Village and the power house will be located on the right bank of river Suru near Chutak Village. The project is located near Kargil airfield of Inain Air Force.
• River training works like spurs and groynes
IWT prevents both countries from building any structure that can change natural flow of
water from its natural course. India has built river training works on Ravi River opposite to Narowal (Pakistan). Narowal has suffered a dreadful flood in 1992-93 in monsoon when India released excessive water into Ravi River.
River Training Works usually carried out to divert the flow of a river for some other construction work like bridge, dams, barrages etc.
• International Water warfare against Pakistan
After blocking its water in Kashmir by building multiple dams on Pakistani rivers now India has taken this water war beyond bilateral level. Currently due to changed geo political environment India has excellent relation with puppet Afghan government.
By harnessing these relations now India is pursuing an agenda of persuading Afghan government to build a big dam on Kabul River so that its flow into Indus River in Pakistan can be blocked.
Afghanistan at present utilises just a fraction of Kabul waters to irrigate about 12,000 acres of land. According to new proposed plans a dam will be constructed on the Kabul River and will set up Kama Hydroelectric Project to utilise 0.5 MAF water to irrigate
additional 14,000 acres.
Any dam on Kabul River will affect its flow into Indus especially in winter as Indus emits from glaciers which melt less in winter and some of these glaciers don’t melt in winter season at all.
Indian plans don’t end here. This is just beginning of a very troublesome water policy by India towards Pakistan. Below is list of Indian planned dams on Pakistani rivers all these dams along with completed projects will enable India to block Pakistani water for a considerably long period of the time.
• Planned dams / Barrages on Pakistani Rivers
According to Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd following projects would also built on Pakistani rivers.
Jhelum River Basin
• Lower Jhelum
• Upper Sindh-I
• Upper Sindh-II
• Bazgo Stakna (with J&KPDD)
Impact of Indian dams in Kashmir over Pakistan
• Apart from huge storage capacities of abovementioned dams time of their filling is also a high concern for Pakistan for example Baglihar Dam can block 7000 cusecs of water per day whenever India wishes to. Storage of water in Baglihar Dam reduced the flow of water in Chenab River during the sowing period of August to October 2008 and badly affected the agriculture sector of Pakistan. Pakistan lost 23000 cusecs of water; farmers could not irrigate their fields due to shortage of water and resultantly 3.5 million agriculture tracts got barren. The standing cotton, paddy crops of basmati rice of Kharif season in Punjab which were ripe got badly affected.
The sowing of next crop of wheat in September-October also got affected and so was the case with Rabi crop in January-February this year due to reduced flow of water.
The Baglihar Dam together with Dul Hasti and other dams can plainly diminish the flow of Chenab during the vital Rabi crop-sowing season (January and February).
• Both countries have allocated resources and have shown will to fight with time togain control over Neelam. For Pakistan it is a matter of survival, once control over Neelam lost life of Mangla dam would be at risk and the entire investment made on Neelam-Jehlum project will also be wasted.
• In worst case scenario, agriculture and electricity aside, Indian blockade of Pakistani water will tear apart Pakistani social fabric as there will be a severe reduction in productivity and millions of people will be deprived of food and water. Riots in large cities and towns may erupt and this would jolt the law and order situation in the country. Such incidents with less intensity have already taken place in Pakistan against constant load-shedding of electricity. Trains and infrastructure was set on fire in some cities, roads were blocked in other and thousands of employees lost their jobs.
The impact will be multifold in case of water scarcity. Millions of people in Punjab, NWFP and Sindh are directly or indirectly related to agriculture sector. These people will be worst sufferers and as a result of no agriculture productivity those who are not related to agriculture would also get affected as there would be no food item like wheat, sugar, rice, cotton etc. in market. As a result of mass hunger, provinces can also turn into hostile neighbours to which eventually would weaken Pakistani state. The country would descend into battles, riots and quarrels over food and water like many African countries.
• India in the past have released excessive water into rivers crossing into Pakistan and as a result severe floods in NWFP, Punjab and some parts of Sindh as well played havoc. The 1992 flood is one such example when India released excessive water into Ravi River which badly affected lands of Punjab and Norowal district in particular.
Other than flood there are multiple concerns over Indian plans vis-à-vis Pakistani interests like
• In May 2009, Chairman Indus Water Council Pakistan and Coordinator World Water Assembly Zahoorul wrote that ‘Indian water terrorism’ posed more serious threat to Pakistan than Taliban. He said the pace with which India was diverting Pakistani rivers, the day is not far off when the country would face situation like Somalia, Ethiopia and Chad.
• Indian water aggression will destroy local industry and agriculture. Trailer of this horror movie has already been played during Rabi season last year when India started to fill Baglihar dam despite knowing it was sowing season in Pakistan. With even larger dams India will be able to stop Pakistani water for entire season which will destroy linked canal system of Pakistan.
• Chutak is under construction on River Suru. In case any of these dams collapse or large quantity of water is deliberately released, it will not only endanger our proposed Bhasha dam but also submerge Skardu city and airport. KKH between Besham and Jaglot would wash away.
• Uri Power Project is located very near to LoC and the world knows that LoC is a constant flashpoint where exchange of artillery fire always remains probable. Any such fire exchange put this project at risk as well but still Indians are pushing it hence it is evident that India wants Pakistan to take a provoking step in this sector and India can use this opportunity to attack Azad Jummu Kashmir.
Dams Despite problems…Why?
Most notable aspect of Indian water aggression is that India has a poor record of dam safety. Many projects after or during execution have ran into serious technical hazards;
• Two persons died and a dozen were injured when a tunnel of the prestigious Dul Hasti hydro project collapsed on January 29th 2007. The incident took place a the day before the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) was scheduled to carry out trial run. This happened due to use of substandard material.
The hydel project on river Chenab near Kishtwar (Doda) had been in controvers ever since the French consortium Domez Sogia Boresea stopped work midway after the abduction of one of its engineer in 1992. Four years later, NHPC engaged Jai Parkash Industries to execute the civil works and at that time, the project was estimated to be commissioned by October 2003 at a cost of Rs4,000 crore. Now, the project cost has increased to Rs5,000 crore, with NHPC authorities expecting to complete it by March.
Consequences! Wars on water
Situation in Pakistan
India is executing a massive plan of hydro power plants in Kashmir using Pakistani waters. Electricity produced from these rivers will be provided to all neighboring states of Jammu and Kashmir whereas situation in Pakistan is really dispiriting when one looks at hydro production in Pakistan.
Pakistan could not build any big reservoir after Mangla and Tarbela dams. No new barrage was constructed either to increase the area under cultivation. Population increase over the years has made the situation worrisome for planners to allocate adequate per capita energy and food resources.
Currently, Pakistan has 40,000 MW hydro Power potential on river Indus alone while combined estimate of whole Indus basin river system surpasses the figure of 70,000 MW. But unfortunately only 5000 MW is being produced at the moment which is merely 12.5% of total potential. Pakistan is going to face severe shortage of power as from 2010 onwards demand is going to hit 25,000 MW whereas the capacity will go down further with rusting and problems in older thermal plants.
Existing total installed capacity in Pakistan is 17,726 MW including total Hydel 5010 MW ( Ranges from 1990 MW to 5120 MW due to seasonal variations) , total Thermal 12,254 MW and Nuclear Power 462 MW. The Thermal Portion also includes 5813 MW from the private sector.
• Water security must be an integral part of Pakistan’s defense policy. To make sure that Pakistani rivers (Indus, Chenab, Jehlum, Nelam) keep flowing normally Pakistan must utilise every possible mean from legal to military.
• Pakistan must declare its response in case India tries to divert or block Pakistani water in Kashmir. Parliament and military brass must form a uniform and cohesive policy to counter this existential threat.
• An aggressive and principled position must be taken at global level on water issue with India. It must be aired at every international forum that consequences of Indian water belligerence towards Pakistan would be worst and would put lives of 1.5 billion people of the region at risk.
• Power generation by hydro power plants must be encouraged at all levels and government must set a clear target of building specific number of dams to fulfill the needs of energy and irrigation and also to reduce oil export bill which currently is being used in thermal power plants.
• Parliament must define a maximum threshold time period, based on estimates of population growth and increase in local demand, after it must become necessary for ruling government to initiate at least one large reservoir in the country.
• To overcome the loss of water for the last three decades Pakistan needs more than one big dam and Kalabagh dam is one such project which can fulfill the needs of the country. Political parties must constitute a team and must review objections of Sindh and NWFP provinces on this project and must come up with a workable solution instead of criminally putting the most important project in cold storage as the current government in Islamabad has done.
• After Baglihar experience, Pakistan must have no doubt about Indian intentions about Pakistani rivers flowing from Kashmir. Pakistan needs real time imagery satellite to monitor its rivers in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and Indian activities on these rivers. So more funds for scientific research and development are recommended here. For interim bases friendly countries like China can be approached to get satellite imagery of Western Rivers. There are reports that India has stolen water from Indus via a tunnel. These kinds of activities can only be monitored in real time using satellite technology.
• Bigger hydel power projects must be completed at priority like Munda power project, Kohala Power project etc.
• An aggressive policy is needed to be adopted on funding problems for Diamir- Basha dam as it is the only big reservoir on Indus which can ensure water security of the country. Government must also approach friendly countries like China, UAE for the project if World Bank and Asian Development bank fail to provide finances for the project.
• Pakistani government must take local people around the project sites into confidence as India has already launched massive propaganda mission against proposed dam in Gilgat and Baltistan. Below is one example;
…“First, the people and political parties of the NA such as Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Gilgit-Baltistan Alliance (GBNA), Jammu Kashmir All Parties National Alliance (APNA) accuse Islamabad of ignoring them before announcing the construction of the dam. This ignorance has taken the shape of mass demonstrations and protest movements.”….
Complete article can be read at
• Reports suggest that Rs537 billions external assistance is expected for Indian planned projects on Jehlum and Indus Rivers. This is a clear case of international hypocrisy as World Bank denounced any aid for Pakistani dam on Indus in Northern Areas (Diamir-Basha, Bonji etc) on a pretext of location of these dams being in a disputed area. The fact is that all Indian dams in Jammu and Kashmir are also in disputed area since the entire region is disputed as per UNO between Pakistan and India. How come India can get massive foreign assistance for hydro projects in Kashmir if Pakistan can’t get similar assistance for similar projects in its own Northern Area? Pakistan foreign office must take up this matter with international donors. An awareness campaign must be launched in local and international media to highlight this duality by international donors.
• Kashmir is sensitive for both India and Pakistan and without any local support India will try to avoid war in this sector but will use every possibility to damage Pakistani agriculture sector by blocking waters and would try to maintain her peaceful posture in international community by propaganda. To counter this Pakistan must rush to approach International Court of Justice for its share of water which India did block in 2008 through Baglihar dam and which is very probable in near future as well. A strong case in International courts would put international construction companies and donors not to provide assistance in any water project on Western Rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.
• Pakistan must ask India to provide complete record of its activities on Western rivers. This is important because under IWT either party must notify the other of plans to construct any engineering work which could affect the other party and to provide data about such works.
• If India delivers information about its future plans on Pakistani rivers in Kashmir, the matter could be taken up in parliament by political forces. While a group of experts in WAPDA and Water and Power ministry must come up with a report about potential side effects of any such project being executed on Pakistani rivers so that solid objections can be raised on proposed Indian projects on Western Rivers.
• All the figures and facts described in reports were gathered from following sources;
• Ministry of Power, Govt. of India
• Ministry of water, Govt. of India
• National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), Govt. of India
• Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd, India
• Water and Power Development Authority, (WAPDA) Govt. of Pakistan
• World Bank
source:Welcome to BrassTacks
Pakistan, A Water-Scarce Country
An arid country, Pakistan depends heavily on annual glacier melts and monsoon rains. Water from these sources flows down the rivers and out to the sea. En route, there are seepages into the ground, where water-bearing rocks or aquifers absorb and store this water. Most parts of the country receive scant rainfall and have little or no access to surface water. Pakistan Water Partnership (PWP) states that in Pakistan the total available surface water is about 153 million acre feet (MAF) and the total ground water reserves are approximately 24 MAF, of which a substantial part has been mined without allowing for natural recharge. Currently estimated at 160 million, the population of Pakistan is set to double in 2.5 decades. This means that the per capita availability of water will decrease. There is likely to be a net decrease, rather than an increase in the country’s water resources, due to a number of factors including population growth, climate change, and exploitation of water.
By international standards, Pakistan was already a water-scarce country in 1992 at 1700m3 available per capita, according to UNFPA/Ministry of Population Welfare. By 2003, Pakistan’s per capita availability of water declined to the extent that it was categorized as a water-stress country by the World Bank, surpassing Ethiopia and on par with African countries such as Libya and Algeria. Pakistan is now a water-scarce country at 1200 m3 per capita per year.
According to water specialist Simi Kamal, based on current projections, water availability (per capita) will be 855m3 by the year 2020. We have already used up everything that exists in our water cycle and we do not have additional sources of water to mobilize. When we say we are putting up another dam or reservoir, it doesn’t necessarily mean there will be additional water coming in; we are just re-appropriating what’s already in the system.
Our water resource base continues to be degraded because of pollution, atrophy, veruse of surface water and over-exploitation of groundwater. Large tracts of land have been rendered uncultivable due to water logging and salinity, direct results of mismanaged irrigation. Unsafe drinking water is responsible for numerous diseases including dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, malaria and gastroenteritis. UNICEF estimates that 200,000 children in Pakistan die annually due to diarrhoeal diseases alone.
The Indus delta has been reduced to one partially active creek and there is no water flowing downstream of the Kotri Barrage for almost the entire year. Our mangrove forests, previously some of the largest in the world, have been reduced from 0.6 million acres to 0.25 million acres, said Simi Kamal and Jairath at the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation in Dhaka. The mix of sweet and sea water maintains a very critical balance in the coastlines. If that balance is destroyed, then the entire water system is affected and will, over time, be felt right up to the watersheds. Pakistan is dependent on a single river system and we cannot afford to take any more chances with the water/sediment/salt balance of the Indus Basin.
The Irrigation System of Pakistan
Pakistan has the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. However, owing to the poor state of infrastructure, about two-thirds is lost due to poor transmission and seepage. This means that about 68 MAF is potentially usable water if the canal system is adequately repaired and maintained. Of the total sweet water availability of approximately 144 MAF, 97 percent is already used in agriculture. We have a situation where instead of improving farming methods to conserve water and increase productivity, agricultural landowners demand more water, only to maintain some of the lowest productivity rates in the world per unit of water and per unit of land.
All debates on water conservation, however, are cuffed by the constant refrain on dams and water sharing among provinces. Safeguards are needed.
The seeds of conflict on water in Pakistan, therefore, are sowed by nothing more than hydrology and this needs to be recognized. We cannot solve a very complex geographical, hydrological, economic and environmental problem through politicking. The discussion on water distribution, therefore, should be in relation to uses and users, not among political or administrative units. This means, a discussion in terms of head, middle and tail farmlands in irrigated areas; and in terms of water for survival, subsistence and pastoral livelihoods in non-irrigated areas. Rainfed and arid areas should also be a part of the debate on water equity and water use. In addition, uses of water other than agriculture – for domestic use, for industry, for urban areas, and for the environment – should all be incorporated for a robust water policy for Pakistan.
There is a need to recognize that just because certain water-related practices have gone on for centuries does not mean that they are allowed to continue in the face of a world in turmoil. We need to change the way we think about water, the way we use water and the way we dispose off wastewater.
A Collective Approach is Needed Individuals and corporate citizens must engage with decision-makers across the board regarding rational and responsible use of water. Industries, agricultural industries and corporations must move to pollution control, micro-irrigation, recycling and reuse of water on bigger scales. Once these can be demonstrated, only then can the gigantic problems of wastage through the irrigation system and through leakages in municipal water supply be taken up.
Our first hurdle is the unfortunate habit of laying everything at the door of “the government”. But what is this government? At the level of the home, you and I are the government; and at the level of a company or private enterprise, the heads are the government. The political process itself should hence be the will of the citizens. In the end, it is the amalgamation of policies, regulations, guidelines and actions that will help us solve water problems, which are likely to get more complicated due to climate change and environmental instability.
source:Pakistan’s Water Problems: Do We Care Enough to Act? | Triple Bottom Line Magazine
List of Dams in Pakistan:
Dhok Tallian Lake Dam
Ghazi Barotha Dam
Kurram Tangi Dam
Rawal lake Dam
List of Barrages in Pakistan:
Gomal Zam Dam
Kurram Tangi Dam
Proposed Dams(also disputed ones especially kala bagh and skardu)
Nai Gaj Dam