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Senate panel briefed on Pakistan-India water talks

Senate panel briefed on Pakistan-India water talks

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was informed on Monday about an inflexible stance adopted by India in the latest round of secretary-level talks, violating the water treaty between the two counties.

A meeting of the committee, presided over by Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan, was given a briefing on the Pak-India talks held on Sept 14-15, 2017 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington.

The committee was informed by Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Beg and Mehar Ali Shah of the Ministry of Water Resources that the Pakistani side had objected to the storage capacity of water projects in India.

The meeting was informed about the design of Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants.

The committee was informed that the Pakistani side noted that the design of projects should be carried out considering the limitations set in the Indus Water Treaty, including un-gated spillways, so that the spillway provided no control over the water stored in the reservoir.

World Bank presents four options

The meeting was informed that the Indian delegation was told that if gated spillway was necessary then its design should be shared with Pakistan.

The other objection to the design was that the Indus Water Treaty allowed establishment of the spillway at the highest level, and the level of water to be stored in these reservoirs too was shared with the Senate committee.

“However, India’s design approach was in the reverse order in which the designs are made first and then those are justified to satisfy the Treaty’s constraints,” the Indus Water Commissioner told the committee.

The committee chairman said the government should ensure that the spillways were established at the highest level and noted that any non-serious attitude could lead to a serious water issue for Pakistan in future.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2017

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