Indus Water Treaty’s survival appears weak: UN report

The 40-year-old Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan has been an outstanding example of conflict resolution but scarcity of water in the basin states since the early 1990s has brought the agreement under strain and its "survival appears weak", says a UN report.

Indus Water Treaty’s survival appears weak: UN report

The 40-year-old Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan has been an outstanding example of conflict resolution but scarcity of water in the basin states since the early 1990s has brought the agreement under strain and its "survival appears weak", says a UN report.

"The treaty fails to address two issues: the division of shortages in dry years between India and Pakistan, when flows are almost half as compared to wet years, and the cumulative impact of storages on the flows of the River Chenab into Pakistan," said the UNDP report titled 'Development Advocate Pakistan'.


"For over 40 years, the Indus Water Treaty has proved to be an outstanding example of conflict resolution. An increase in water stress in the basin states since the early 90s has brought the Treaty under strain. In fact, its survival appears weak, although there is no exit clause," it said.

The report said that Pakistan has gone as far as calling the treaty an inefficient forum for resolving water issues, elevating the water issue to a "core issue" and including it in the composite dialogue. But India has refused to include the issue in the composite dialogue because it is not ready to discard the treaty.

The treaty permitted India to create storages on the western rivers of 1.25, 1.60 and 0.75 million acre feet (MAF) for general, power and flood storages, respectively, amounting to a total permissible storage of 3.6 MAF.


"A clear ambiguity in the treaty occurs in its permission to be interpreted differently, thereby creating conflicts between Pakistan and India. The treaty also fails to clearly address India's share of shortages in relation to storage dams on the western rivers, an issue of major concern," according to the report.