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India uses 95% of water share provided under Indus Water Treaty; aims to utilise full by building 3 projects

The image shows a dolphin in the Indus river. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 23, 2019, 01.19 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India is using 95 per cent of waters from three eastern rivers - Ravi, Sutlej and Beas - under the Indus Water Treaty. India on Thursday announced that it will be diverting waters of the three rivers to stop its flow to Pakistan

New Delhi now wants to make sure it utilizes the entire water share of the rivers and is working on three projects to achieve the same - Shahpurkandi project, Ujh multipurpose project and second Ravi Beas link.

33 million acre-feet (MAF) of the three rivers are allocated to India for exclusive use. India has the full right to waters from the three eastern rivers under the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960 between former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and former Pak President Ayub Khan. 

Currently, about 2 MAF of water flows unutilized to Pakistan from river Ravi. 

Shahpurkandi project

The Shahpurkandi project will help utilize water from Ranjit Sagar Dam on river Ravi and will help irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. It will also help generate 206 MW of power.

It was to be completed by September 2016 but due to a disagreement between Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab government, the project was suspended. On September 8, both the states came to an agreement and the project's construction was resumed.

Ujh multipurpose project

The project is on river Ujh which is a tributary of Ravi river and will create storage of 781 million cubic meters and is expected to irrigate 31,380 ha of Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The project was approved in July 2017 at the total cost of Rs 5850 crore.

Second Ravi Beas link below Ujh

The project involves constructing a barrage on Ravi river for diverting water through a tunnel link to Beas basin. This will help India tap excess water flowing to Pakistan from Ravi even after constructing the Ranjit Sagar dam.

India has been able to use 95% of the waters from the three rivers with the help of four dams and three projects. While 4 dams - Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Ranjit Sagar dam on Ravi - help India store water, projects such as Beas-Sutlej link, Madhopur-Beas link and Indira Gandhi Nahar project help New Delhi utilise 95% of the water share.

After the Uri attack, Prime minister Narendra Modi had chaired a high-level meeting in which it was decided that New Delhi will be using its full right on the three eastern rivers. PM had said in the meeting, "blood and water cannot flow together". 

Pakistan, under the Indus Water Treaty, has the right to three western rivers - Indus, Jhelum and Chenab - whose water average around 135 million acre-feet (MAF). India can use the water from the western rivers for domestic use, non-consumptive use, agricultural use and for the generation of hydroelectric power with certain conditions as provided in the Treaty.