Indus Waters Treaty is worth preserving

Source: Business Standard

Relevance: Differences over water-sharing under Indus Water Treaty (IWT)

Synopsis: Indian experts need to clarify exactly to what extent India is not yet using its fair share of waters from the three Eastern rivers namely, the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej, and discuss it with Pakistani counterparts.


On July 5, the Indian Jal Shakti Minister was reported to have stated India is working on exercising its rights to stop excess water flowing to Pakistan, under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) of 1960, to irrigate its own lands.

Indian government sources have made similar observations in the past, and Pakistan has often said that India has not acted fairly in sharing waters according to this Treaty.

Water sharing as per IWT

Water sharing arrangement as per Indus Water treaty is as follows:

  • To be used by India: Waters of the Eastern rivers, the Sutlej, Ravi, and Beas.
  • To be used by Pak: Waters of the Western rivers, the Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum.

Thus, To sort out differences over water sharing for irrigation, the following suggestions can be implemented.


Experts in India and Pakistan should assess how much of the waters in the East and West rivers are snow or rain-fed within their respective territories. Such estimates would add to the accuracy of each side’s dependence on the other in sharing the waters of these rivers.

Way forward

IWT has stood the test of time. Given the flawless record of this treaty and being a responsible upper riparian state, India needs to be extremely careful. It should clarify exactly to what extent it is not yet using its fair share of waters from the three Eastern rivers namely, the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. If it is indeed the case, then Indian experts should discuss how they have arrived at this conclusion with their Pakistani counterparts.

Further, the Indian side should also make public its estimates of unutilized hydropower.


Both India and Pakistani sides should iron out their differences over water sharing and use the East and West rivers to their fullest potential.

Terms to know:

Print Friendly and PDF