South Asian countries, particularly India and Pakistan, have both faced challenges in water management and proper river basin management. The consequence of this has been a severe water crisis, which has a bearing on both ground and surface water. A cursory glance at the data on fresh water availability per person, per year reveals this vulnerability. South Asia’s renewable freshwater resources are about 1,200 cubic meters per capita. In comparison, a large number of countries have between 2,500 – 15,000 cubic meters per capita. The difficulties in managing surface water are especially complex in South Asia. River basins—the ultimate source of all water used in households, agriculture and industry (like hydropower companies), as well as the receptors of most wastewater 2—often transgress international borders. Since actions upstream can lead to disruption of the natural flow of rivers, water pollution, diversion of the waters with the occasional threat of even blocking the flow of water, water sharing can often lead to political tensions and acrimony, as has happened in the case of India and Pakistan. The lower riparian countries become especially vulnerable. Effective river basin management therefore necessitates that water users take into account the relationships, interaction and impact that their actions have on others, especially those downstream. The system of rivers in the Indus basin comprises 2,000 miles of the river Indus and its five tributaries from the East — Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, with an aggregate length of "Unfortunately, we are going towards conflict and not conflict resolution," says Majidulla, who heads a body called the Pakistan Trans-border Water Organization, formed in September to monitor what he calls "increased activity" on the Indian side of the border. The countries' antagonistic political relationship has certainly not helped to ease their differences over water. "Given the mutual hostility between the two countries, it is not surprising that there is a tendency in Pakistan to believe that the scarcity it is experiencing or fearing is partly attributable to upper riparian actions," Ramaswamy Iyer, India's former secretary for water resources, wrote in an op-ed in the Hindu newspaper. At times, the rhetoric has even reached a fevered pitch, such as when Hafiz Saeed, head of the Pakistani militant group Jamaat-u-Dawa and alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whipped up public sentiment against India's so-called "water terrorism" in 2010 by using slogans like "water flows or blood." Few believe India and Pakistan will actually go to war over the disputes, but one thing is for certain: water is making it harder for the long-time rivals to put their enmity behind them.
Indo-Pak water dispute:
The origin:The Indo-Pak dispute on the Indus basin has drawn immense attention in South Asia and across the world, largely due to the nature of the tense political relationship between the two countries. This attention has grown more intense in recent years, in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks on 26 November 2008, which had kindled fears of a nuclear war. Analysts began exploring, not only the sources of the tension between the two nuclear states but also areas which had the potential for increased cooperation and thereby reduce the possibility of a war at any point in the future. Water is one such area, especially the Indus basin. The system of rivers in the Indus basin comprises 2,000 miles of the river Indus and its five tributaries from the East — Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, with an aggregate length of
Indus Waters Treaty
The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic of Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank.The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan. The treaty was a...
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