India violating Indus Water Treaty: Pakistan to face severe water shortage
By Razi Syed
KARACHI: Pakistan is heading towards severe water shortage as Indian government has decided to build seven dams on rivers running into Pakistan for held Kashmir.
Pakistan has absolute rights on these rivers, as their flow is towards Pakistan and under the Indus Water Treaty India is violating the accord, said a senior member of Sindh Agriculture Forum (SAF) on Saturday.
SAF member said Pakistan should raised voice on international forum in order to stop Indian government to build water reservoirs on the rivers run into Pakistan.
He said Pakistan remained undecided to appoint patriotic and real water management experts to take up its case before International Court of Arbitration (COA) against India over construction of hydropower project in violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. The country is heading towards the worst water shortage in the next couple of years due to insufficient water management practices and storage capacity, he said.
Pakistan has right to oppose these dam projects besides opposing Kishanganga project because its diversion will reduce more than 20 percent of the power generation capacity of the 975 megawatts (MW) Neelum-Jhelum power project on the same river downstream Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir.
In recent past due to the poor handling of case with India as well as in COA, Pakistan could not gain points in favour of its case, only because of a team of jurists, not sincere from the start.
The Indus Water Treaty has now become ineffective as India was continuously violating all clauses of the treaty and Pakistan was not challenging them at any international forum by tacit approbation. Under the treaty, three western rivers, Chenab, Jehlum and Indus are allocated to Pakistan and India is not allowed to build storages on them.
A report by the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre described Pakistanís water shortage as deeply troubling.
It said Neelum-Jhelum power project case in COA, Pakistan would face a loss of energy of more than Rs 6 billion every year.
The Indus Water Treaty with India remained just on papers. India had diverted Pakistani water and constructed more dams, which would further worsen the water situation in Pakistan.
The underground water level went down from about 70-100 feet to up to 1,000 feet and has been termed as a worsening situation. International Water Expert Engr Bashir Malik, who has served United Nations and World Bank as chief technical adviser said the cheapest and environment-friendly solution to water and energy crisis in Pakistan was the Kalabagh Dam, which could only be built by a patriotic and brave leader having the courage to break all the barriers in the best national interest.
Malik said Save Water Save Pakistan Forum would initiate a campaign to highlight water and energy crisis and their solution at national level for which they would have dialogues with the national leadership besides conducting seminars and conferences with the help of technical and legal experts.
The availability of water for irrigation purposes would face worst situation during April to June 2012 as Indus River System Authority (IRSA) announced around 21 percent water shortage in Punjab and Sindh during said period. It means farmers will get lesser availability of water for irrigation purposes in Kharif season.
He said IRSA and Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) concentrated more on releasing water for hydro-power generation instead of releasing sufficient water in canals for irrigation purposes.