Pakistan has seen water flows in the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab rivers declined by a staggering 17 million acre feet since the signing of the Indus Water Treaty in 1960 due to a number of hydropower projects constructed by India, growing urbanisation and deforestation in the catchment areas.
According to the data compiled by the Indian government, water flows in the western rivers decreased from 119 MAF to 102 MAF in 2011.
When the treaty was signed, 80 per cent share of the Indus River System was allocated to Pakistan and 20 per cent to India. This treaty also assigned the eastern rivers (Sutlej, Beas and Ravi) with a mean flow of 33 MAF to India, whereas the western rivers namely Indus, Jhelum and Chenab with an average flow of 119 MAF were designated for Pakistan.
While the total flows for Pakistan from these sources dropped with a marginal rate of 0.16 MAF per annum to 113 MAF from 1960 to 1997, they underwent a depletion of an average 1.3 MAF annually from 1998 to 2011 to 102 MAF. The most worrying concern is the dramatic reduction in flows in the Jhelum and Chenab rivers during the last 13 years or so, says a latest study conducted by Arshad H Abbasi, a water expert presently associated with the SDPI.
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