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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Feb 28, 2013

Time to revise Indus Water Treaty says experts

India
and Pakistan need to revisit the Indus Water Treaty to address water needs,
stated experts at a report launch on Wednesday.

The
report “Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-border Water Research, Data Sharing, and
Policy Coordination” stresses cross-border dissemination of hydrological data,
investment on regular maintenance of canal infrastructure, drip irrigation
systems and identifying alternative crops better suited for growth in the
basin’s arid climate..

Shafqat
Kakakhel, former ambassador, said the 1960 Indus Water Treaty has no response
mechanism for variations in water flow due to climate change. But that is just
one of the treaty’s shortcomings. “The agreement does not 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 added

Water
scarcity is a common challenge and a joint approach should be adopted to
address it, Kakakhel stated.David Michael, director of environmental security
at the Stimson Centre, shared the report’s recommendations. Effective
management of the basin’s water resources, based on scientific data and
confidence-building measures, can promote a sustainable future for India and
Pakistan

The
report also recommends developing a digitised online model of the Indus Basin
and increasing knowledge on monsoon variability trends. Experts at the report
launch called for rainwater harvesting and water storage to deal with reduced
availability.

The
report was produced by the Indus Working Group, an outcome of a Pakistan-India
Track II project. Sustainable Development Policy Institute had partnered with
the Stimson Center for the project.