Published Date: Feb 28, 2013
Revisiting Indus Water Treaty can help Pak, India
the need for cooperation and cross border research on Indus River Basin, the
experts at a report launch have called India and Pakistan to revisit ‘Indus
Water Treaty’ to fulfill future water needs in both the countries.
capita water availability has decreased manifold and today’s changed scenarios,
demand policy makers to respond to overlapping socio-economic and environmental
threats so as to ensure water availability and quality for millions of people dependent
on Indus River Basin.
The report titled “Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-Border Water Research, Data
Sharing, and Policy Coordination” was organized by Sustainable Development
Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday.
Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, Senior Research Associate, SDPI started the proceedings
and said that report is produced by Indus Working Group which is the outcome of
Pakistan-India Track-II project for which SDPI has partnered with the Stimson
Center, Washington DC. He briefed that working group is comprised of 25 experts
that joined hand to build mutual understanding between Indian and Pakistani
decisions-makers on risks and opportunities arising out of Indus river basin.
Sharing the recommendation of the report, David Michel, Director Environmental
Security, Stimson Center, USA said that effective management of the basin’s
water resources — built on sound scientific data, guided by an integrated knowledge
base, and anchored by capacity building and confidence building measures — can
promote a sustainable future for both India and Pakistan in the Indus Basin.
He said, the report stresses on cross-border dissemination of hydrological
data; promotion of laser land leveling technology and drip irrigation systems;
establishing best practices for increased water storage; and identifying
alternative crops better suited for growth in the basin’s arid climate. It also
prioritize investment in regular maintenance of canal infrastructure to
minimize agricultural water losses.
Citing recommendation on energy and economic development, he focused on
initiating a professional exchange program for experts between both the
countries and educate people on how climate change and shifting precipitation
patterns are influencing water availability. It also recommends developing a
digitized online model of the Indus Basin and increase the knowledge base on
monsoon variability trends to improve outcomes for rainfall dependent
Member Board of Governors, SDPI was of the view that Indus Water Treaty that
survived three wars and governed the water issues for the last five decades
needs to be preserved and further refined to address the gaps, issues and
challenges confronting both the nations.
He said, existing treaty has no provisions on how to respond to variations in
water flow that climate change could engender. “Nor does the agreement contain
effectively binding provisions to address water quality or pollution.
Similarly, while the two countries share trans-boundary aquifers, there are no
provisions for managing groundwater supplies,” he went on to add. He concluded
by saying that the water scarcity is common challenge that pose existential threat
to India and Pakistan and its essential that both countries adopt a joint
approach to address the issue.
Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
lamented the inefficient use of water and said that efficiency of only 40
percent in agriculture water usage is a crime that cannot be tolerated. He
talked of comprehensive water distribution arrangements between the upper
riparian region and lower riparian regions not only between India and Pakistan
but also between the provinces. Dr. Iqrar said that Pakistan has one of the
world’s lowest ratio for water storage and suggested introducing rainwater
harvesting and watershed management in Indus river basin.