Monday, March 26, 2012

Another water battle looming

Athar Parvaiz in Chinadialogue's The Third Pole: The never-ending war over water resources between India and Pakistan has taken a new twist. Pakistan has registered its resentment against the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for a decision to grant carbon credits to India for a controversial 45-megawatt power project on the Indus River.

This is the latest in a series of disputes between the two countries over hydro-projects on the Indus. Pakistan has already objected to construction work at several other sites – including the Baglihar dam, the Wullar Barrage and the Kishanganga project – under the provisions of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, which provides a mechanism for the two south Asian neighbours to settle trans-boundary water disputes.

With India securing international carbon credits for the Nimoo-Bazgo project in Ladakh, in the country’s north-west, Pakistan again sees its interests under threat. It accuses India of going ahead with the construction of the power project without the mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance from Pakistan, and claims the project will dramatically decrease downstream river flow into Pakistan.

India has managed to get approval for carbon credits amounting to US$482,000 (3 million yuan) from the UNFCCC, over a period of seven years, for the Nimoo-Bazgo and Chutak hydropower projects. Both schemes are in Ladakh province, in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. While Pakistan said it had no problem with the construction of the Chutak power project, it raised strong objections to the Nimoo-Bazgo scheme....

An Indus River valley in Ladakh, shot by author unknown, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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