Basin Water Treaty 1960
At the time of partition of India and
Pakistan, there arose a dispute on the use of water resources since all
rivers flowing in to Pakistan originated from India. The accord signed in
1960 at Karachi, Pakistan gave water of Indus, Jhelum and Chenab to
Pakistan, whereas Ravi and Beas (Sutlej in Pakistan) were to be used by
India. The treaty was signed by Pakistani president Ayub Khan and Indian
prime minister Nehru. Consequent to this agreed upon distribution,
decision was taken to build to big water storages on the Indus (Tarbela
Dam) and Jhelum (Mangla Dam) rivers. Thereafter, many small dams have also
been added. In 90s, Ghazi Barotha project came up without
constructing a water reservoir for generating electricity.
Highways and Motorways
Pakistan inherited a poor infrastructure of road network throughout the
country. With the passage of time, the road network has been considerable
been improved. The construction of first mega project in this sector was
the Super Highway connecting Karachi and Hyderabad in the province of Sind.
Much later, the marvel of road construction saw coming up of the Karakoram
Highway (KKH) connecting Pakistan to China over some of the rugged
mountains of the world along the gushing and roaring river Indus. Then
came the era of Motorways in the 90s with the construction of M-2,
connecting Lahore and Islamabad. This chain is now been extended to many
other destinations and is still expanding. The recent addition is the
Coastal Highway, connecting Karachi to the newly developed port of Gwadar
along the Makran coast skirting the Arabian Sea.
Since 1947, Pakistan has had only one sea port at Karachi, which has been
under tremendous pressure to bear the burden of all export and import
related activities. Karachi. Although Pakistan has a long stretch of
coastline along the Arabian Sea from the Sir Creek in the east to Gwader
in the west, no worthwhile effort had been put to increase the outlets to
the sea. Port Bin Qasim, some 35 kilometres west of Karachi was the second
outlet added mainly to import raw material for the only Steel Mills of the
country. Later Pakistan Navy constructed and developed a new base for
itself at Ormara. Now work is underway to develop a deep sea port at
Gwader, just at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which would go a long way
in reducing shipping costs for all imports, specially crude oil from the
Gulf states as well as providing a short cut to warm waters to CARs,
Afghanistan and China in the north.
Future Requirement of Water and
Construction of Big Dams
Presently, out of a total of 77 million acres of
cultivable land in Pakistan, only only 44 million acres is under
cultivation due to sacristy of water, which is to the magnitude of 9 MAF.
Due to silting of Mangla and Tarbela Dams, water capacity is reducing @
3.6 MAF and if this trend continues, there will be a shortfall of 25 MAF
of water by 2020. Although the present government has undertaken a
gigantic task of brick lining the small water courses from canals to
farms, this would be able to save only 5 MAF of water, leaving a net
shortfall of 15-20 MAF of water. Unless, 3-5 major dams are built by 2016,
Pakistan will have left with no water to irrigate its lands. Therefore the
cabinet has recently decided to build five major dams on the Indus and
other rivers to save excess water running down the Indus into Arabian Sea.
The proposed dams on the
Indus include Skardu, Bhasha, Akhori and Kalabagh dams. Out of these
Kalabagh Dam has been much controversial, specially by the NWFP and Sind
provinces. Therefore , for the time being the government has decided
to go ahead with the construction of Bhasha and Munda Dams, both located
in the NWFP.
Comparison - Skardu, Bhasha,
Akhori and Kalabagh Dams
All mega dams planned on River Indus are
equally important - however, Skardu Dam being far up in the north may
prove to be expensive since the transmission losses from extended power
lines will be more besides submerging of Skardu city.
will have a live storage capacity of 7.30 MAF and installed power
generation capacity of 4500 megawatts. It will store only 50 MAF glacial
water from the northern mountains. Estimated cost $ 6.5 billion.
Dam is planned to be constructed below Akhori (Talagang) with a
live storage capacity of 6.1 MAF and installed capacity of maximum 3,600
megawatts at an estimated cost of 6.1 billion $. Unlike Bhasha, it will
also have 90 MAF water inlet from Soan, Kabul, Chitral and Haro rivers and
thus will be able to store the monsoon water from these additional rivers.
Dam near Talagang will be able to store 6 MAF while water
available will be 14 MAF with an installed capacity of 600 megawatts
Dam is presently under study and hence most of the data is only
approximate. The water available will be 27 MAF.
Dam is a prelude to the construction of Kalabagh Dam, basically
designed to save Nowshera from flooding and to alleviate any misgivings
the people of NWFP may have on the construction of Kalabagh Dam, which
must be built to store all downstream rain/monsoon water which gets wasted
away due to non availability of any water storage reservoir downstream
Since the Indus Basin Treaty, India has been violating it in one way or
the other. The Baglihar Dam being the latest incursion on the water being
made available to Pakistan from the Chenab river. As per the Treaty, India
is not allowed to build storage or diversion of the river water. However,
under the garb of only installing hdro-electricity generation capability,
India has planned construction in such a way that the site can store the
river water and can thus be controlled to her advantage. Presently, the
World Bank is monitoring the issue and no decision has yet been taken.