Water Sharing Conflicts and Management in the Indus River Basin

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Dr Shamshad Akhtar
Muhammad Rafique Dhanani


Sharing water resources within country and amongst transborder countries often create conflict because of increasing demand of fresh water for their domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors due to growing population and increasing economic activities. As a result, every country is interested to build more water storages like dams and barrages to safeguard their water requirements in the lean periods or to protect their areas during flood period. Therefore, a transboundary conflict amongst riparian countries on water sharing is obvious facts which are resolved either through bilateral dialogue or by involving international arbitrators. Similarly, a conflict of water sharing within a country has also been serious issue particularly during drought and lean period resulting political conflicts and obstacles in construction of dams and reservoirs. Pakistan is country of 207 million populations, the sixth of the most populated country of the world has been facing transboundary water sharing conflict with India while within a country inter provinces mistrust over water distribution has created reservation over the construction of new water storages. Pakistan has two agreements which provide legal framework for water distribution and management. Indus Water Treaty is an international agreement signed in 1960 between India and Pakistan and other is national agreement amongst the provinces called Indus water accord signed in 1991 by province. Despite several reservations and hostile territorial conflicts between India and Pakistan the Indus water treaty has been successfully functioning in managing water distribution of Indus River and its eastern tributaries originate from Indian occupied Kashmir. Similarly, Indus water accord 1991 provides a mechanism to resolve water sharing conflicts amongst provinces.

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