The Indus Waters Treaty
The partition of the Indian subcontinent created a conflict over the waters of the Indus basin. In 1951, David Lilienthal wrote an influential article in Colliers magazine suggesting that the World Bank use its good offices to bring India and Pakistan to an agreement over how to share and manage the river system. The President of the World Bank, Eugene R. Black, agreed to act as a conduit of agreement between the two states. Finally, in 1960, after several years of arduous negotiations did an agreement take form. Even today, the Indus Waters Treaty is the only agreement that has been faithfully implemented and upheld by both India and Pakistan. Following the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, several high profile commentators in India suggested that the treaty should be scrapped, though the Indian government made no intimations that it was considering such a move. [For further information…]
Abridged Text of Indus Waters Treaty
(Signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960)
The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan, being equally desirous of attaining the most complete and satisfactory utilisation of the waters of the Indus system of rivers and recognising the need, therefore, of fixing and delineating, in a spirit of goodwill and friendship, the rights and obligations of each in relation to the other concerning the use of these waters and of making provision for the settlement, in a cooperative spirit, of all such questions as may hereafter arise in regard to the interpretation or application of the provisions agreed upon herein, have resolved to conclude a Treaty in furtherance of these objectives, and for this purpose have named as their plenipotentiaries:
The Government of India: Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, and The Government of Pakistan: Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, H.P., H.J., President of Pakistan, who, having communicated to each other their respective Full Powers and having found them in good and due form, have agreed upon the following Articles and An
Provisions Regarding Eastern Rivers
All the waters of the Eastern Rivers shall be available for the unrestricted use of Inida, except as otherwise expressly provided in this Article.
Except for Domestic Use and Non-Consumptive Use, Pakistan shall be under an obligation to let flow, and shall not permit any interference with, the waters of the Sutlej Main and the Ravi Main in the reaches where these rivers flow in Pakistan and have not yet finally crossed into Pakistan. The points of final crossing are the following: (a) near the new Hasta Bund upstream of Suleimanke in the case of the Sutlej Main, and (b) about one and a half miles upstream of the syphon for the B-D Link in the case of the Ravi Main.
Except for Domestic Use, Non-Consumptive Use and Agricultural Use, Pakistan shall be under an obligation to let flow, and shall not permit any interference with, the waters (while flowing in Pakistan) of any Tributary which in its natural course joins the Sutlej Main or the Ravi Main before these rivers have finally crossed into Pakistan.
All the waters, while flowing in Pakistan, of any Tributary which, in its natural course, joins the Sutlej Main or the Ravi Main after these rivers have finally crossed into Pakistan shall be available for the unrestricted use of Pakistan: Provided however that this provision shall not be construed as giving Pakistan any claim or right to any releases by India in any such Tributary.
There shall be a Transition Period during which India shall (i) limit its withdrawals for Agricultural Use, (ii) limit abstractions for storages, and (iii) make deliveries to Pakistan from the Eastern Rivers.
The Transition Period shall begin on 1st April 1960 and it shall end on 31st March 1970, or, if extended under the provisions of Part 8 of Annexure H, on the date up to which it has been extended. In any event, whether the Transition Period shall end not later than 31st March 1973.
During the Transition Period, Pakistan shall receive for unrestricted use the waters of the Eastern Rivers which are to be released by India in accordance with the provisions of Annexure H. After the end of the Transition Period, Pakistan shall have no claim or right to releases by India of any of the waters of the Eastern Rivers. In case there are any releases, Pakistan shall enjoy the unrestricted use of the waters so released after they have finally crossed into Pakistan: Provided that in the event that Pakistan makes any use of these waters, Pakistan shall not acquire any right whatsover, by prescription or otherwise, to a continuance of such releases or such use.
Provision Regarding Western Rivers
Pakistan shall receive for unrestricted use all those waters of the Western Rivers which India is under obligation to let flow under the provisions of Paragraph (2).
India shall be under an obligation to let flow all the waters of the Western Rivers, and shall not permit any interference with these waters, except for the following uses, restricted in the case of each of the rivers, The Indus, The Jhelum and The Chenab, to the drainage basin thereof: (a) Domestic Use; (b) Non-Consumptive Use; (c) Agricultural Use, as set out in Annexure C; and (d) Generation of hydro-electric power, as set out in Annexure D.
Pakistan shall have the unrestricted use of all waters originating from sources other than the Eastern Rivers which are delivered by Pakistan into The Ravi or The Sutlej, and India shall not make use of these waters.
Except as provided in Annexures D and E, India shall not store any water of, or construct any storage works on, the Western Rivers.
Provisions Regarding Eastern Rivers and Western Rivers
Pakistan shall use its best endeavors to construct and bring into operation with due regard to expedition and economy, that part of a system of work which will accomplish the replacement, from the Western Rivers and other sources, of water supplies for irrigation canals in Pakistan which, on 15th August 1947, were dependent on water supplies from the Eastern Rivers.
Each Party agrees that any Non-Consumptive Use made by it shall be made as not to materially change, on account of such use, the flow in any channel to the prejudice of the uses on that channel by the other Party under the provisions of this Treaty.
Nothing in this Treaty shall be construed as having the effect of preventing either Party from undertaking schemes of drainage, river training, conservation of soil against erosion and dredging, or from removal of stones, gravel or sand from the beds of the Rivers: Provided that in executing any of the schemes mentioned above, each Party will avoid, as far as practicable, any material damage to the other Party.
Pakistan shall maintain in good order its portions of the drainages mentioned below with capacities not less than the capacities as on the Effective Date: (i) Hudiara Drain, (ii) Kasur Nala, (iii) Salimshah Drain, (iv) Fazilka Drain.
If Inida finds it necessary that any of the drainages mentioned in Paragraph (4) should be deepened or widened in Pakistan, Pakistan agrees to undertake to do so as a work of public interest, provided India agrees to pay the cost of the deepening or widening.
Each Party will use its best endeavors to maintain the natural channels of the Rivers, as on the Effective Date, in such condition as will avoid, as far as practicable, any obstruction to the flow in these channels likely to cause material damage to the other Party.
Neither Party will take any action which would have the effect of diverting the Ravi Main between Madhopur and Lahore, or the Sutlej Main between Harike and Suleimanke, from its natural channel between high banks.
The use of the natural channels of the Rivers for the discharge of flood or other excess waters shall be free and not subject to limitation by either Party, and neither Party shall have any claim against the other in respect of any damage caused by such use. Each Party agrees to communicate to the other Party, as far in advance as practicable, any information it may have in regard to such extraordinary discharges of water from reservoirs and flood flows as may affect the other Party.
Each Party declares its intention to operate its storage dams, barrages and irrigation canals in such manner, consistent with the normal operations of its hydraulic systems, as to avoid, as far as feasible, material damage to the other Party.
Each Party declares its intention to prevent, as far as practicable, undue pollution of the waters of the Rivers which might affect adversely uses similar in nature to those to which the waters were put on the Effective Date, and agrees to take all reasonable measures to ensure that, before any sewage or industrial waste is allowed to flow into the Rivers, it will be treated, where necessary, in such manner as not materially to affect those uses: Provided that the criterion of reasonableness shall be the customary practice in similar situations on the Rivers.
The Parties agree to adopt, as far as feasible, appropriate measures for recovery, and restoration to owners, of timber and other property floated or floating down the Rivers, subject to appropriate charges being paid by the owners.
Except as otherwise required by the express provisions of this Treaty, nothing in this Treaty shall be construed as affecting existing territorial rights over the waters of any of the Rivers or the beds or banks thereof, or as affecting existing property rights under municipal law over such waters or beds or banks.
In consideration of the fact that the purpose of part of the system of works referred to in Article IV (1) is the replacement, from the Western Rivers and other sources, of water supplies for irrigation canals in Pakistan which on 15th August 1947 were dependent on water supplies from the Eastern Rivers, India agrees to make a fixed contribution of Pounds Sterling 62,060,000 towards the costs of these works.
The sum of Pounds Sterling 62,060,000 shall be paid in ten equal installments on the 1st of November of each year.
Each of the instalments shall be paid to the Bank for the credit of the Indus Basin Development Fund to be established and administered by the Bank.
These financial provisions shall not be construed as conferring upon India any right to participate in the decisions as to the system of works which Pakistan constructs or as constituting an assumption of any responsibility by India or as an agreement by India in regard to such works.
Except for such payments as are specifically provided for in this Treaty, neither Party shall be entitled to claim any payment for observance of the provisions of this Treaty or to make any charge for water received from it by the other Party.
Exchange of Data
The following data with respect to the flow in, and utilisation of the waters of, the Rivers shall be exchanged regularly between the Parties: (a) Daily guage and discharge data relating to flow of the Rivers at all observation sites. (b) Daily extractions for or releases from reservoirs. (c) Daily withdrawals at the heads of all canals operated by government or by a government agency, including link canals. (d) Daily escapages from all canals, including link canals. (e) Daily deliveries from link canals.
The two Parties recognize that they have a common interest in the optimum development of the Rivers, and, to that end, they declare their intention to co-operate, by mutual agreement, to the fullest possible extent.
Permanent Indus Commission
India and Pakistan shall each create a permanent post of Commissioner for Indus Waters, and shall appoint to this post, as often as a vacancy occurs, a person who should ordinarily be a high-ranking engineer competent in the field of hydrology and water-use. Unless either Government should decide to take up any particular question directly with the other Government, each Commissioner will be the representative of his Government for all matters arising out of this Treaty, and will serve as the regular channel of communication on all matters relating to the implementation of the Treaty, and, in particular, with respect to (a) the furnishing or exchange of information or data provided for in the Treaty; and (b) the giving of any notice or response to any notice provided for in the Treaty.
The status of each Commissioner and his duties and responsibilities towards his Government will be determined by that Government.
The two Commissioners shall together form the Permanent Indus Commission.
The purpose and functions of the Commission shall be to establish and maintain co-operative arrangements for the implementation of this Treaty and to promote co-operation between the Parties in the development of the waters of the Rivers.
The Commission shall determine its own procedures.
Settlement of Differences and Disputes
Any question which arises between the Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Treaty or the existence of any fact which, if established, might constitute a breach of this Treaty shall first be examined by the Commission, which will endeavor to resolve the question by agreement.
If the Commission does not reach agreement on any of the questions mentioned in the Paragraph (1), then a difference will be deemed to have arisen, which shall be dealt with by a Neutral Expert. If the Neutral Expert has informed the Commission that, in his opinion, the difference should be treated as a dispute, then a dispute will be deemed to have arisen.
As soon as a dispute to be settled has arisen, the Commission shall, at the request of either Commissioner, report the fact to the two Governments, as early as practicable, stating in its report the points on which the Commisssion is in agreement and the issues in dispute, the views of each Commissioner on these issues and his reasons therefor.
Either Government may, following receipt of the report, or if it comes to the conclusion that this report is being unduly delayed in the Commission, invite the other Government to resolve the dispute by agreement.
A court of Arbitration shall be established to resolve the dispute.
If, at any time prior to 31st March 1965, Pakistan should represent to the Bank that, because of the outbreak of large-scale international hostilities arising out of causes beyond the control of Pakistan, it is unable to obtain from abroad the materials and equipment necessary for the completion, by 31st March 1973, of that part of the system of works referred to in Article IV (1) which related to the replacement referred to therein, (hereinafter referred to as the replacement element) and if, after consideration of this representation in consultation with India, the Bank is of the opinion that (a) these hostilities are on a scale of which the consequence is that Pakistan is unable to obtain in time such materials and equipment as must be procured from abroad for the completion, by 31st March 1973, of the replacement element, and (b) since the Effective Date, Pakistan has taken all reasonable steps to obtain the said materials and equipment and has carried forward the construction of the replacement element with due dilligence and all reasonable expedition, the Bank shall immediately notify each of the Parties accordingly. The Parties undertake that in being so notified, they will forthwith consult together and enlist the good offices of the Bank in their consultation, with a view to reaching mutual agreement as to whether or not, in light of all circumstances prevailing, any modifications of the provisions of this Treaty are appropriate and advisable and, if so, the nature and the extent of the modifications.
This Treaty consists of the Preamble, the Articles hereof and Annexures A to H hereto, and may be cited as “The Indus Waters Treaty 1960.”
This Treaty shall be ratified and the ratifications therof shall be exchanged in New Delhi. It shall enter into force upon the exchange of ratifications, and will then take effect retrospectively form the first of April 1960.
The provisions of this Treaty may from time to time be modified by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments.
The provisions of this Treaty, or the provisions of this Treaty as modified under the provisions of Paragraph (3), shall continue in force until terminated by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments.
In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty and have hereunto affixed their seals.
Done in triplicate in English at Karachi on this Nineteenth day of September 1960.
For the Government of India:
For the Government of Pakistan:
Mohammad Ayub Khan
Field Marshal, H.P., H.J.
For the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development:
- A. B. Iliff
The Indus Waters Treaty
Indus Waters Treaty
1.1 At the time of independence, the boundary line between the two newly created independent countries i.e. Pakistan and India was drawn right across the Indus Basin, leaving Pakistan as the lower riparian. Moreover, two important irrigation head works, one at Madhopur on Ravi River and the other at Ferozepur on Sutlej River, on which the irrigation canal supplies in Punjab (Pakistan) had been completely dependent, were left in the Indian territory. A dispute thus arose between two countries regarding the utilization of irrigation water from existing facilities. Negotiations held under the good offices of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), culminated in the signing of Indus Waters Treaty in 1960. The Treaty was signed at Karachi by Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, the then President of Pakistan, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Indian Prime Minister and Mr. W.A.B. Ill if of the World Bank on 19th September, 1960. The Treaty however is effective from 1st April, 1960.
The Indus System of Rivers comprises three Eastern Rivers (the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi) and three Western Rivers (the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab).
The average annual flow of the Rivers of Indus System is as under:
|Eastern Rivers||Western Rivers||Total|
|41 BCM ( 33 MAF)||166 BCM (135 MAF)||207 BCM (168 MAF)|
Under the Treaty, the waters of the Eastern Rivers stand allocated to India and those of Western Rivers largely to Pakistan.
1.2 The Treaty
The Treaty fixed and delimited the rights and obligations of India and Pakistan in relation to each other, concerning the use of the waters of the Indus System of Rivers.
The Treaty comprises of a Preamble and following 12 Articles and 8 Annexures:
|Article II||PROVISIONS REGARDING EASTERN RIVERS|
|Article III||PROVISIONS REGARDING WESTERN RIVERS|
|Article IV||PROVISIONS REGARDING EASTERN RIVERS AND WESTERN RIVERS|
|Article V||FINANCIAL PROVISIONS|
|Article VI||EXCHANGE OF DATA|
|Article VII||FUTURE CO-OPERATION|
|Article VIII||PERMANENT INDUS COMMISSION|
|Article IX||SETTLEMENT OF DIFFERENCES AND DISPUTES|
|Article X||EMERGENCY PROVISIONS|
|Article XI||GENERAL PROVISIONS|
|Article XII||FINAL PROVISIONS|
|Annexure A||EXCHANGE OF NOTES BETWEEN GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN|
|Annexure B||AGRICULTURAL USE BY PAKISTAN FROM CERTAIN TRIBUTARIES OF THE RAVI|
|Annexure C||AGRICULTURAL USE BY INDIA FROM THE WESTERN RIVERS|
|Annexure D||GENERATION OF HYDRO-ELECTRIC POWER BY INDIA ON THE WESTERN RIVERS|
|Annexure E||STORAGE OF WATERS BY INDIA ON THE WESTERN RIVERS|
|Annexure F||NEUTRAL EXPERT|
|Annexure G||COURT OF ARBITRATION|
|Annexure H||TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS|
Of the above, Article V relates to contributions to be made by India towards the cost of replacement works to be constructed by Pakistan for drawing water from the Western Rivers in lieu of water supplies for irrigation canals in Pakistan which on 15th August, 1947 were dependent on water supplies from the Eastern Rivers. Since India has already made its contribution amounting to Pounds Sterling 62,060,000 to the World Bank, this Article is no more valid. Similarly, Annexure H relating to Transitional Period during which Pakistan was supposed to complete its replacement works besides receiving the waters of the Eastern Rivers in accordance with the provisions of the Annexure H, is no more valid as Transition period was only upto 31st March, 1970 or if extended, upto 31st March, 1973 only.
1.3 Agriculture use permitted to India from Western Rivers
Over and above 6.42 lakh acres being irrigated by India from the Western Rivers on the effective date i.e. 1.4.1960 and the permissible withdrawals from the Ranbir and Pratap Canals, India is entitled to irrigate additional irrigated cropped area (ICA) as per details given below:-
|Name of the river||The Indus||The Jhelum||The Chenab||TOTAL|
|ICA in acres||70,000||4,00,000||2,31,000||7,01,000|
A restriction has however been put on India that until India can release water from the conservation storage as defined in Annexure E of the Treaty, the new areas developed by withdrawals from river flow shall not exceed the following:-
|Name of the river||The Indus||The Jhelum||The Chenab||TOTAL|
|ICA in acres||70,000||1,50,000||50,000||2,70,000|
1.4 Storage Permitted to India on Western Rivers
In accordance with the Indus Waters Treaty, the aggregate storage capacity of all single purpose and Multi-purpose reservoirs which may be constructed by India after Effective Date shall not exceed the following:-
General Storage Capacity (M.A.F.)
Power Storage Capacity (M.A.F.)
Flood Storage Capacity (M.A.F.)
|(b)||The Jhelum (excluding the Jhelum Main)||0.50||0.25||0.75|
|(c)||The Jhelum Main||Nil||Nil||As provided in Paragraph 9 of Annexure E to the Treaty|
|(d)||The Chenab (excluding the Chenab Main)||0.50||0.60||Nil|
|(e)||The Chenab Main||Nil||0.60||Nil|
- the storage specified in Column (3) above may be used for any purpose whatever, including the generation of electric energy;
- the storage specified in Column (4) above may also be put to Non-Consumptive Use (other than flood protection or flood control) or to Domestic Use;
- India shall have the option to increase the Power Storage Capacity specified against item (d) above by making a reduction by an equal amount in the Power Storage Capacity specified against items (b) or (e) above.
1.5 Permanent Indus Commission
Article VIII of the Indus Waters Treaty provides for constitution of Permanent Indus Commission. In accordance with the Treaty both India and Pakistan have each created a post of Commissioner for Indus Waters. The two Commissioners together constitute the Permanent Indus Commission whose purpose is to establish and maintain co-operative arrangements for the implementation of the Treaty, to promote co-operation between the Parties in the development of the waters of the Rivers and to settle promptly any question arising between the Parties. Unless either Government decides to take up any particular question directly with the other Government, each Commissioner will be representative of his Government for all matters arising out of the Treaty and will serve as a regular channel of communication in all matters relating to implementation of the Treaty.
The Commission is also required to undertake periodical inspection of the River for ascertaining the facts connected with the various developments and works on the Rivers. 99 visits have so far been undertaken, the last being in March, 2000.
The Commission has also to meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan and to submit to the Govt. of India and Govt. of Pakistan, before the first of June of every year, a report on its works for the year ended on the preceding 31st March, and may submit to the two Governments other reports at such times as may be considered necessary. So far, 86 meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission have been held. The last meeting was held in Pakistan during May/June, 2001.
1.6 Data being supplied to Pakistan
In fulfillment of the obligations of Indus Waters Treaty, India has supplied the requisite data of 27 Hydel Projects including Small Plants, Run-of-River Plants and a Storage Work to Pakistan. Every month, the data with respect to the flows in and utilization of the waters of the rivers of Indus Basin are being exchanged. Also every year before 30th November, India furnishes to Pakistan the data of Irrigated Cropped Area (ICA) from the Western Rivers.
As per the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, flood flows of rivers the Ravi, the Sutlej, the Beas, the Jammu Tawi, the Chenab and the Jhelum are being transmitted to Pakistan through telegram since 1962. Broadcasting of flood flows of rivers the Ravi, the Jammu Tawi and the Chenab are also being done since 1974. Subsequently on the request of Pakistan, an agreement has been signed between the Commissioners for Indus Waters of India and Pakistan in 1989 to communicate the flood flows of rivers the Ravi and the Sutlej to Pakistan on telephone during the period 1st July to 10th October every year. A control room is operated round the clock in the Indus Wing for the above purpose. No cost is being charged to Pakistan for communication of flood flow even though the Treaty provides for the same. This is purely a gesture of goodwill from our country towards Pakistan. The agreement is however reviewed every year. However, from the year 2001, Pakistan has been asked to reimburse the cost of transmission of flood data as per actual and the matter is still under correspondence.
On Eastern Rivers
With the completion of Bhakra Nangal and Beas Project and Indira Gandhi Canal Project (partially completed), India has been utilizing on an average about 37 BCM (30 MAF) of the waters of the Eastern Rivers allocated to it. The remaining waters will also be completely harnessed after commissioning of Thein Dam on river Ravi, remaining portion of Indira Gandhi Canal Project and Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal which are under construction. Also against 11,219 MW hydro electric potential at 60% load factor on the Eastern Rivers, projects having 3,945 MW installed capacity have already been completed and projects having 4,144 MW installed capacity are in different stages of construction.
On Western Rivers
Since India has not built any Conservation Storage on Western Rivers, India can develop irrigation by withdrawals from river flow only within the restricted area of 2,70,000 acres over and above the area as on effective date. India could irrigate an area of 8,05,745 acres against permissible of 9,12,477 acres during the year 1999-2000 as per details given below:
|Basin||I.C.A. as on the effective date (Acre)||Additional ICA permissible(Acre)||Net ICApermissible (Acre)||Total I.C.A. achieved in 1999-2000 (Acre)|
Also against expected 8,769 MW of power at 60% load factor from Western Rivers, projects having installed capacity of about 1,348 MW have already been completed and projects having installed capacity of about 1,300 MW are in different stages of construction.