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Top #5 Water Scarcity Issues in Pakistan Essays

Top #5 Water Scarcity Issues in Pakistan Essays

Top #5 Water Scarcity Issues in Pakistan Essays
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Essay#1: Pakistan – from a “Water-Stressed” to a “Water-Scarce” Country | Complete Essay with Outline

By: Syed Muhammad Abubakar

  • Introduction
    • Background of the Topic
  • Is a Single Dam Enough to combater Water Crises?
  • Pakistan at Water Stress Line
  • Main Sources that feed the Indus River System
    • The Situation of Ground Water
  • The Guidelines of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) – 1960
  • Main Issues of Water Scarcity
    • The Exponential Rise in Population
    • Water Losses
    • Inefficient Water Management Practices
    • Raising of Crops like Rice and Sugarcane
    • Unscientific Irrigation Methods
  • First-ever National Water Policy
  • Raising of Rice and Sugarcane – Bane or Boon?
    • The Pakistan Economic Survey, 2017-2018 Reports
    • Increase in production of Rice and Sugarcane (The High Water Need Crops)
    • More such Crops; More water Consumption
  • Policy Vs Reality (Suggestions to Curb the Scarcity)
    • Agriculture consumes 95% of Water
    • One Million Tube Wells
    • Wastage of Water
    • The scarcity of Clean and Safe Drinking Water
    • NWP Guidelines
      • The Promotion of Greater Urban Water Management
      • Revision of Urban Water Tariffs.
      • Enhancing Recovery
      • Reducing System Losses
    • Agriculture Sector needs More Focus
    • A need for Provincial Water Policies
    • Strengthening WAPDA
    • The need for Resources – CPEC, etc
    • The Need to Link Water Policies with Pakistan Vision 2025 and SDGs
    • Inefficient Consumption and Negligible Recycling
    • First Come First Serve Policy
    • The need for Establishment of National Level Water Institutions
    • The Development of Sectoral and Implementation Plans
  • Conclusion

The year 2025 has been marked as the year when Pakistan — if it doesn’t mend its ways soon — will turn from a “water-stressed” country to a “water-scarce” country. Warnings about water running out have been issued separately by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR). And as the alarm bells began to ring, the chief justice of Pakistan launched a campaign to build the Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dam. In his inaugural speech, Prime Minister Imran Khan, too, has announced his backing for the plan.

Whether a single dam is a panacea to all of Pakistan’s water woes is, of course, questionable. Consider the facts: per capita surface water availability of 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 turned into around 1,000 cubic meters in 2016. This is likely to further drop to about 860 cubic meters by 2025. The PCRWR describe that Pakistan reached the “water stress line” in 1990 and crossed the “water scarcity line” in 2005.

The Indus river system receives an annual influx of about 134.8 million acre-feet (MAF) of water. The mean annual rainfall ranges from less than 100 millimeters to over 750 millimeters. Surface water comprises glacial melt up to 41 percent, snowmelt up to 22 percent and rainfall 27 percent.

In terms of groundwater, Pakistan is currently extracting 50 MAF from underground aquifers — this has already crossed the sustainable limit of safe yield.

The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) enabled Pakistan to enhance water availability at canal headworks to about 104 MAF through the construction of dams. However, this has decreased due to increased siltation.

Pakistan’s water woes can largely be bifurcated into issues of quality and quantity. The water coming into our systems over the past decades hasn’t changed much. But demand has soared due to an exponential rise in population. Existing reservoirs’ storage capacity cannot sustain this population boom while its capacity has also been reduced over the years.

Meanwhile, the water reaching the end user has also decreased due to further losses along the way. Our water management practices are highly inefficient — one illustration is how freshwater is used for irrigation purposes. The kind of crops we grow — rice and sugarcane, for example — and the way we irrigate them isn’t sustainable, either.

Because many people’s livelihoods are tied to growing more rice and more sugarcane, these crops will remain popular. Without any education or awareness about how not to waste water or how to utilize efficient irrigation methods, the wastage will continue.

While doomsday is just seven years away, it took over 70 years for Pakistan to draw up its first-ever National Water Policy (NWP), approved in April this year. The policy is still riddled with some significant gaps but at least, it lays out a few principles that ought to be adhered to. But in some ways, it is merely a compilation of suggestions.

The Pakistan Economic Survey, 2017-2018 (prepared by the Ministry of Finance) details the state of the economy over the past year. It announces that the agriculture sector recorded a “remarkable” growth of 3.81 percent (as opposed to its targeted growth of 3.5 percent). The high water-need crops of rice (8.65 percent growth) and sugarcane (7.45 percent) both surpassed their respective production targets for 2017-18.

Prosperity brought by high water-need crops has meant that more farmers have preferred planting more rice and sugarcane.

The Pakistan Economic Survey, 2017-2018 notes that while the rice was sown over 2,724 thousand hectares last year, it rose to 2,899 thousand hectares this year. “[H]igher domestic prices and availability of inputs on subsidized rates, good advisory along with an increase in export,” according to the survey, contributed to more land being used to grow rice. This 6.4 percent increase ultimately yielded a production high of 7,442 thousand tonnes. Last year, 6,849 thousand tonnes of rice were produced in Pakistan.

The survey also shows that sugarcane was cultivated on an area of 1,313 thousand hectares, an increase on last year’s area of 1,218 thousand hectares. “[G]ood economic return encouraged the growers to bring more area under cultivation and [so did] comparatively timely payments from sugar mills last year,” explains the survey. This 7.8 percent rise in acreage translated into a 7.4 percent hike in production: from 75.482 million tonnes to 81.102 million tonnes.

There is a flip side, however. More water is utilized in growing these water-intensive crops. For instance, sugarcane requires 1,500-2,500mm of rainfall (or water from other sources) to complete the growth cycle. In other words, to produce a kilo of sugarcane, between 1,500 and 3,000 liters of water are utilized. Similarly, at 0.45 kilograms per cubic meter, Pakistan’s rice water productivity is 55 percent lower than the average water productivity of one kilogram per cubic meter for rice in Asian countries.

Because many people’s livelihoods are tied to growing more rice and more sugarcane, these crops will remain popular. Without any education or awareness about how not to waste water or how to utilize efficient irrigation methods, the wastage will continue.

It follows, therefore, that a country tethering on the edge of water scarcity ought to de-incentivize the growing of water-intensive crops. In practice, this means convincing the farmers that they will not be hit by a financial loss were they to switch to other crops.

The NWP acknowledges that irrigated agriculture is the backbone of the economy and consumes around 95 percent of the water resources.

Furthermore, around one million tube wells in the country pump about 55 MAF of underground water for irrigation, which is 20 percent more than what’s available from canals — signaling how highly water-intensive the agriculture sector is. This is all unsustainable.

On the other hand, while there is great water wastage in the rural sector, providing potable water to the cities has become a challenge. One of the more achievable targets set by the NWP is the access to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for all.

Towards that end, the policy has also urged the promotion of greater urban water management and revision of urban water tariffs. It also encourages enhancing recovery and reducing system losses, treatment of industrial effluents and provision of the sustainable supply of water for everyone.

But it is still the agricultural sector whose water utilization needs to be under the microscope. Till now, the policy seems divorced from the financial compulsions of those whose livelihoods are associated with the agricultural sector.

Dr. Pervaiz Amir, director of the Pakistan Water Partnership (PWP) believes that policies are designed and implemented for the people and the civil society should have been engaged in debates and discussions towards this end.

“Balochistan has already prepared its water policy whereas Punjab and Sindh are working on theirs,” explains Dr. Amir. “It is very important that the provincial policies are congruent and must not be in conflict with the national water policy of Pakistan.”

For him, the federal water ministry is weak and there is an urgent need to strengthen the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

“Instead of reviving old horses, a better option is to establish a new institution which has a diverse set of experts, not just engineers,” he adds.

The PWP chief points out that the policy fails to explain the most important question of where the resources will come from. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one option; the Chinese are already operating a plant to provide potable water to their engineers working in water-scarce Gwadar. But will such measures have broader utility?

“Through CPEC, investments are going to increase,” continues Dr. Amir, “and the question about how CPEC is going to integrate with water demands immediate attention. We should know the supply and demand side.”

Tahir Rasheed, CEO of the South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC), also laments the absence of stakeholder consultations in all provinces, including Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. He sees the need for the water policy to be linked with national, regional and international commitments such as Pakistan’s Vision 2025 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Integrated watershed management should be promoted,” says Rasheed, “including ecological conservation practices in uphill watersheds, by exploring the possibility of joint watershed management of trans-boundary catchment areas with neighboring. The policy is also silent on reactivating centuries-old traditional wisdom of water management and use of tools such as Rodh Koi system, Sailaba, Karez systems, etc. It should also address the trans-boundary water pollution aspect, on which even the Indus Waters Treaty is silent.”

Dr. Tariq Banuri, the founding executive director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), a senior climate expert and currently heading the Higher Education Commission (HEC) as its chairman, agrees that Pakistan is wasting its water resources due to inefficient consumption patterns and negligible recycling.

When asked if the water policy will help address the indiscriminate wastage of this precious resource, he said: “Our systems are inefficient. The National Water Policy does spell a range of issues with respect to water but it doesn’t have details that can help to operationalize it. Its strategic and operational steps are not devised as yet. The environmental aspect of water in sustaining the environment has not been recognized in the policy either.”

Banuri explains that population growth has played a major role in decreasing the available amount of water per person and clearly shows that the lower riparian will not be able to receive their due share.

“The existing water system is actually on the first-come-first-serve basis and this is not useful,” he says. “The water policy does recognize it but its details have not been worked out as yet.”

Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO of the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD)-Pakistan and a senior water expert, termed water a provincial matter and urged the need for a national-level framework that acts as a guiding tool for provinces.

“The water policy is an enabling document,” comments Sheikh, “which will lead to the establishment of national level water institutions, and unless the institutions are endowed and empowered, we won’t be able to achieve desirable results.”

Ali urged the federal government to earnestly address the reservations of the provinces concerning the water policy and also informed that the policy framework will make an overdue start.

“The policy will require sectoral plans and unless they are developed for key departments, things won’t go very far. First of all, there should be an overall implementation plan and then sectoral implementation plans should be developed for agriculture, climate, energy and other sectors,” sums up Ali.

While experts have termed the policy a step in the right direction, they have also recommended some measures that will make it further inclusive and bridge possible gaps. Now that the policy has been approved, the government must work aggressively to implement it in letter and in spirit if it is serious to address the water crisis that the entire nation is grappling with.

About Author: Syed Muhammad Abubakar is an environmental journalist who works on climate change, water, deforestation, food security and sustainable development. He tweets @SyedMAbubakar

The article was originally published here.

Essay#2: Mega Dams and Donations. Can Mega Dams be built be donations?

By: Khurram Husain


  1. Introduction – Water Crises in Pakistan
  2. Disagree with the Subject (Proceed with Thesis Statement)
  3. Reasons for Negation
    • Mega Reservoirs need an enormous amount of money
    • Mathematically the collection will take 199 years (Rs. 20m/day)
    • The target for next year will be collected in 3.2 years
    • Double the Numbers – still 1.5 years
    • Infrastructure finance cannot be crowd-sourced
    • A common doner lacks awareness
    • Who will be the authority to transact these funds?
    • What are the rules of business?
    • Who will supervise the proper utilization of funds?
  4. Such JOKES of serious matters were done in past
    • Pervez Musharraf’s President’s Relief Fund after the earthquake of 2005
    • Nawaz Sharif’s ‘qarz utaro, mulk sanwaro’ scheme
    • Similar scheme by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  5. Conclusion
    • Public finances cannot be run in this way, especially infrastructure finance.

One can appreciate the chief justice of Pakistan’s sensitivity to the growing water crisis in Pakistan, but with all due respect, this is not how infrastructure finance is done. You do not crowd-source a mega dam. The fact that this even needs to be said is embarrassing, to say the least.

Just consider a few questions that arise when trying to use voluntary donations to fund the Diamer-Bhasha dam, whose cost has been given as Rs1.450 trillion. This figure is taken from a briefing given by water and power officials at a hearing of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development, and Reform. The cost of reservoir construction was given as Rs650 billion, and the rest for power turbines and associated infrastructure, and land acquisition and resettlement.

Now let’s do some math on this. As of writing, the total amount deposited in this account was Rs32 million. Since the account is shown as being open since July 6, let’s assume only three of those days were functioning; that comes to almost Rs10m per day. Next let’s assume this will pick up the pace since tacit pressure has come to apply on banks to raise funds from their employees (in a meeting held on Tuesday). Exactly how ‘voluntary’ the contributions will be is a separate conversation. For the moment, if we assume that on average, the account sees an inflow of Rs20m per day (which is highly optimistic), then it will take 72,500 days to reach the target or 199 years.

Also Read: Climate change and Pakistan in 2018 | Complete Essay (1200 Words)

Wait a minute, some people will say. All the money does not need to be available up front in order to begin work! Fair enough. Consider another angle. For next year, the amount allocated for construction of the dam part of the project alone is Rs23.68bn as per the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) document on the Planning Commission’s website.

Now do the math. At Rs20m per day, it will take 1,184 days to reach the target of Rs23.68bn, or 3.2 years. Meaning even next year’s PSDP allocation (for the dam part alone) will not be possible to meet the amount.

You can change the assumptions. Let’s say the contributions come in larger than what I have assumed (which, mind you, is generous). Let’s say it’s double the size. That cuts down the period by half, meaning it will take more than a year and a half to reach next year’s target alone.

Let’s say instead that the contributions are not meant to pay for the entire dam, but only to supplement government allocations for the project. Even then, a year’s intake of Rs7.3bn (assuming a Rs20m per day average contribution for the year) will not even be enough to pay for a portion of the resettlement cost of the project.

Public finance is not a joke, the state cannot be run like a charity, and infrastructure finance cannot be crowd-sourced like this. Mind you, the calculations here assume an average contribution rate of Rs20m per day, every day, for years and years on end. How long will the momentum behind this endeavor sustain itself? Weeks? Months?

Before people are asked to contribute their hard-earned money for any cause, they are entitled to ask a few basic questions. What will this money be used for? Who will have the authority to transact these funds? What rules will govern its distribution? How much of an impact will my contribution have?

See Also: Pakistan in The Grey List – The Way Out | Complete Essay (1500 Words)

Perhaps these questions ought to be answered first. For example, will the money from the account be disbursed directly to the point where the costs are coming from, or will it simply be handed to Wapda, the water and power division, or the finance ministry? If it is the former, then let’s take one example. If a technical consultant needs to be retained to advise on what type of cement to use given the extremely large annual temperature variation in the region, and the attendant expansion and contraction that the dam structure will undergo in a typical year making the choice of concrete quite crucial, who will decide which consultant is most suitable for the job? What criteria will be used to make the selection?

There are thousands of such decisions that have to be made in mega projects of this sort. What are the rules of business according to which these funds will be distributed? If the plan is to simply hand them over to Wapda, who will supervise the funds to ensure their proper utilization? How much expertise and experience does that person have in the execution of giant, highly technical projects of this sort?

This is not the first time that a joke has been made out of a very serious matter. After the earthquake of 2005, Pervez Musharraf launched a similar fund called the President’s Relief Fund. Once launched, similar tacit pressure tactics were used to get people to pay up, and one by one various companies lined up saying ‘we are pleased to contribute’, and the amounts were a million here, two million there, until interest dried up and everyone moved on.

Likewise, Nawaz Sharif launched a ‘qarz utaromulk sanwaro’ scheme in his second term, in the late 1990s, in an effort to get donations to help pay off Pakistan’s external debt. That too ended in an embarrassing whimper.

A similar scheme by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in his last year. The television ads asked everyone to contribute one rupee a day, which the ad promised would be used for development purposes. The visual used to illustrate ‘development’ was a cement elevator. And that was also that.

Fact is, modern-day public finances cannot be run in this way, least of all when it comes to infrastructure finance. It’s time to grow up and face the facts: until we fix our water-pricing regime, there is no way out of this crisis.

Essay#3: Water Crises in Pakistan | Complete Essay

The almost drought-like situation in many parts of the country at the start of the Kharif sowing season is cause for serious alarm.
There is a tendency to treat such conditions with an air of resignation as if we are totally helpless before the vagaries of nature; in fact, some people, in view of the scarce water available for our agrarian needs, start talking, reflexively, about building the Kalabagh dam.
Given that we are likely to face similar situations in the future, with weather patterns becoming more erratic, it is vital to move beyond these simple positions. Pakistan’s food security, as well as its industrial base, is largely built on the irrigation system bequeathed to us by the Americans, working through the World Bank in the wake of the Indus Waters Treaty.

This country is, at its roots, a hydraulic society, and water, especially for irrigation, is its most important natural endowment, upon which is based our entire social structure.

When looking at water issues faced by the country, quantity is only one dimension of the challenge. The real area of concern, for which urgent solutions are required, is utilization.
According to the Indus River System Authority, the body tasked with managing the allocation of the country’s irrigation water, somewhere between 9 MAF to 10 MAF of water is usually released during the Kharif crop sowing season. This year, the amount that has been released is 5.8 MAF, a near-disastrous shortfall due to diminished inflows in the dams. But the real story is that of this amount, nearly 1 MAF has been lost, ie it was released but never reached the command heads further downstream.
Some losses are normal, due to seepage and evaporation, but Irsa says the figure is unusually high this year. This loss is south of Taunsa Barrage.
Reports of widespread black marketing of water, which is pumped out illegally using pumps and then poured into tankers which are sold to farmers at a steep price, are widespread across Sindh.
Tail-end farmers on the Nara canal, which feeds large parts of Mirpurkhas Division, for example, claim they have counted more than 800 pumps operating upstream while their watercourses are parched.
Can this sort of theft be possible without the connivance of the provincial irrigation department?

 On top of this, there is the matter of poor water practices on farms, where large landowners still use antiquated flood-irrigation techniques, resulting in much wastage, instead of investing in modern irrigation technologies to conserve and make judicious use of a scarce resource.

Until these problems — theft and waste —are adequately addressed, it would be futile to talk of Pakistan’s water crisis in terms of quantity alone.
Drought is indeed a natural phenomenon that humans can do little to reverse. But how we adapt to it is in our control.

Essay#4: Drought a Ticking Time Bomb

By Saad Gul

Coupled with the general effects of global warming, Pakistan is facing a certain water emergency. It lacks a water management policy and deficiently handles its available hydel resources.

Water is vital for agriculture, human life, industry, and energy generation. Globally, agriculture accounts for over 70 percent of freshwater consumption. Industries make the second largest claim on the world’s water bodies, accounting for nearly 25 percent of global water use. Water used by households, schools, and businesses account for less than a tenth of global water use today.

Most countries and private companies around the world are planning way ahead to tackle this mammoth problem that the planet is facing, head on. Scientists have been long trying to identify the root causes of the lack of fresh water. Some suggested developing methods to use salt water for irrigation, while others toyed with the idea that they could take stem cells from cows to create muscle tissue, just like nature does, to derive meat. Resultantly, the abundance of agriculture will lead to an abundance of fresh water because wastage would be minimized.

Compare this with what is happening here; the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) reported in 1990 that Pakistan touched the “water stress line”. This red flag should have been the ultimate wake-up call but…!

Then, only a few days ago, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) warned that Tarbela and Mangla dams are likely to reach the dead level within the next 24-48 hours. This is worrying because national food security is on the line.

As much as 40 percent of Pakistan’s energy comes from water. Over 90 percent of freshwater supply is used towards agriculture. An estimated $21 billion worth of water (roughly 35 million acre-feet) is dumped into the sea, annually, since water conservation systems are absent. The stance on a comprehensive National Water Policy is still unclear. How do we prevent the country from running dry by 2025?

Compare this “land of five rivers and glaciers” with Israel, which is nearly 60% desert, yet a water superpower. It not only feeds its own population with fruits and vegetables but exports billions of dollars worth of produce annually. Despite the fact that they get little annual rainfall, have only one freshwater lake and no major rivers. How do they do it?

Over the years, Israel has implemented a centralized water planning market-pricing system, which works like a pay-as-you-use model. Furthermore, it appointed regulators and educated its citizens to conserve water.

Why can’t we take lessons in just one of these areas and start implementing it to our current inefficient water management models? Water reuse is an industrial process that enables the additional use of previously-used water before it returns to the rivers or the sea after it has undergone a wastewater recovery and treatment process that ensures the legally required quality. The ultimate goal of this process is to ‘reclaim water’ that can be directly offered to other users or exchanged for better quality water.

Much depends on public policies, but also on individual choices, as well as on the technological options available. The alarm has been sounding since 1990 and the drought time bomb is ticking. Will planners and people at large rise out of slumber to save this country?

Originally Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2018.

Essay#5: 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 initializing 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

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 IWT 1960 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.

  • Chenab
    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 raised following concerns regarding design of the dam:
  • 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 expertRaymond 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 free board 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. The dam 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 un-gated 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.

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 Projectis 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 rock-fill 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 plans mainly 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
    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 favored 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.
  • KishanGanga
    Once again India named this project as such so that real intention 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- kilometer 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 finalized 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 theLine 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
    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 KPK 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.

Other Issues
• 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 utilities 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 utilize 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
    • Ganderbal
    • Upper Sindh-II
    • Pahalgam
    • Karnah

Chenab Basin
• Chenani-I
• Chennai-II
• Chenani-III
• Bhaderwah
• Baglihar-II

Indus Basin
• Iqbal
• Hunder
• Sumoor
• Igo-Mercellong
• Haftal
• Marpachoo
• Bazgo Stakna (with J&KPDD)

Impact of Indian dams in Kashmir over Pakistan

  • Apart from huge storage capacities of above-mentioned 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 to gain 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 neighbors to which eventually would weaken Pakistani state. The country would descend into battles, riots and quarrels over food and water like many African countries.

See Also: Essay on Pakistan Agriculture Economy and Policy 

  • India in the past have released excessive water into rivers crossing into Pakistan and as a result severe floods in KPK, 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 waterSituation 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 on wards 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.

Policy Recommendations

  • 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.

End Notes:
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

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Naeem Javid

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Deputy Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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