Pakistani Drying Rivers, Wake up before its too late

Pakistani Drying Rivers, Wake up before its too late

By Rai Azlan
This post is part of a series on the water issue between India and Pakistan, news and updates over the issue will be posted here its the first part of the series which is based on one of the biggest and important problem Pakistan is facing now a days and our so called Political Leaders and mainstream media figures are not ready to talk about.

Wake up before its too late:

After so many days when actually I am feeling my self free to read something or write on some topic some thing serious has got my attention. While looking for some information I came across these words:

In united nation’s report, it is warned that environmental increase in temperature will cause the melting of glaciers. That will raise the issue of people migration and shortage of water. In report the most victim countries are Pakistan, India and Bangladesh where glaciers are melting rapidly and these countries are facing the increase in problem of water shortage day by day.

The water issue between India and Pakistan is one of the topic which catches my interest any time I hear about it specially after 2007, for last 3 years almost we are facing an energy crices and some other critical issues like the shortage of wheat and sometime shortage of sugar also appear in the scene time and again, and how can I forget the recent development of our government the cricess of CNG.

When I was in school I used to study that Pakistan is an agricultural country but this view of mine was shaterred back in 2005 when I myself experienced the shortage of sugar. An after the wheat crices and another sugar crices I am not ready to accept that this county is an agricultural country. The shortage of food and water has attacked Pakistan on the same time and core reason behind this is the Water theft performed by India time and again. The controversial Baglihar Dam, this project has almost dried the chenab river, control of which was given to Pakistan according to the Indus water treaty signed by both countries in 1960.

Baghlihar is not the only project which is constructed on Chenab river,
The main dams of Jammu and Kashmir state are the Salal Project and Baglihar Dam. The Salal Project mainly deals with the power generation function in Jammu and Kashmir and the Power Station has a capacity of around 690MW of electricity and annually it generates around 3101 million units. The Power Project has been constructed on the Chenab River in the Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. The dam is supervised by the NHPC (National Hydroelectric Power Corporation).



The Bagilhar Dam or the Bagilhar Power Project on the other hand has also been constructed on the Chenab River but in the southern Doda district of the state. The construction of the project had begun in the year 1999 and the first phase of its construction was completed in 2000 after its construction plan was commissioned in 1992. Around 1 billion US dollars was the estimated cost for the power project. This power project has a capacity of around 450 MW.
Now come to the current situation of river Chenab, i am almost no body to talk on this or give a slid verdict of my own therefore here are the words of those who might have better knowledge of the situation than me.
According to Dawn;
Blocking the flow of chenab river has resulted in damaging a great amount of area.
Water flows in Chenab declined by 40 per cent to about 6,000 cusecs on Wednesday from a 10-year average of about 10,000 cusecs, mainly because of construction by India of over a dozen hydropower projects upstream, reduction in rainfall and diversion of river waters.

Pakistan’s Permanent Indus Waters Commissioner Syed Jamaat Ali Shah told Dawn that Chenab river flows on the Pakistani side were recorded at 6,213 cusecs on Wednesday. The last ten-year average flows stood at about 10,000-11,000 cusecs. He said that the flows this year were better only than about 5,000 cusecs recorded in the 2002-03 dry year. He said Pakistan had asked India to proportionately reduce their water use on its side when river water declined abnormally. He said that unusually lower rainfall this year mainly because of El Nino effect had significantly contributed to reduced water flows, apart from reportedly unauthorised water uses and construction of hydropower projects on the Indian side. He said the prevailing weather system indicated another dry year. Mr Shah said Pakistan had also asked India to provide details of its agricultural acreage, crops and other projects to enable it to make plans in advance.

He said India was irrigating about 800,000 acres in Chenab area against 1,345,000 acres permissible under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

Arshad H. Abbasi, a visiting fellow at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said that an exponential decline in flows had been observed at Head-Marala in Pakistan because of a reduction in monsoon rainfall in the watershed of Chenab, unauthorised direct water withdrawal by farmers in Jammu with the support of Indian authorities who had especially subsidised electricity for direct pumping in Jammu and Himachal Pradesh and diversion of Ravi-Tavi link canal.

He said that India used to irrigate 642,000 acres from western rivers by Ranbir and Pratap canals when the treaty became effective, but it had built five more canals over the past 10 years to increase the irrigated area. These include Kashmir canal system, high canal system in Jammu, Ravi-Tavi link irrigation system, Igo-phey canal in Leh and Kurbathang canal in Kargil.

Mr Abbasi said that water flows at Head-Marala had declined by almost 50 per cent in 2008-09 when compared with the historic data available since 1922.

He said that India was developing more than a dozen hydropower projects and dams over Chenab to generate 8,696MW of electricity.

The projects, he added, had tremendously decreased the river flow, but the Ministry of Water and Power contested only Baglihar dam and lost the case before the international arbitrator on technical grounds.

Mr Abbasi regretted that Baglihar was a large dam according to International Commission of Large Dam definitions, but its design was not examined on seismic point of view. After the construction, he added, Indian geological experts had pointed out that the dam was built on Murree-Jhelum faulty lines and could cause a catastrophe for downstream areas, including Pakistan, in case of a tremor.

He said a detailed investigation was needed to determine why the authorities concerned in Pakistan had so far failed to protest the construction by India of Dulhasti, Dugar, Gondhala, Reoli/Dugli, Sach-Khas, Tandi, Teling Tinget, Sawalkot, Seli, Raoli and Kirthal hydropower projects.

Mr Abbasi said India was justifying the decline in river flows on the wrong premise of climate change, although India itself was responsible for causing the melting of Himalayan glaciers through unnecessary military presence and massive deforestation in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh regions and adding to the effects of the climate change.

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