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Water conflicts and Hydroelectricity in South Asia

Water Conflicts and Hydroelectricity in South AsiaThe Indus Water Treaty. A Review article

by Nasrullah Khan Kalair

Transboundary river water distribution agreements tethering   neighboring countries are overstretched, at least between Pakistan and India.   Tens of hydropower dam on western Indus Basin Rivers are transforming into a   real threat to lower riparian. Industrial expansions, population growth,   global warming, oil and gas depletion scenarios further worsen the water   situation when the water flow declines 8-9 times bellow the minimum agreed   limit. Underground water pumping in excess of natural recharge rates has   reached to stage of continued free fall in Indus Basin. Energy crisis,   economic meltdown, global warming and climate change scenarios require   fine-tuned transboundary laws to share the international rivers. This work   points out dire need of new global water laws to sort out real transboundary   river conflicts transforming into water wars. Business as usual approach may   transform water skirmishes into full fledged armed conflicts. Water is life   which virtually drives all the rest of geopolitical realities.

1. Water and Power Nexus
Hydroelectricity is the prevalent most economic source of white energy. There   is little chance of inventing a genius innovatory energy source in anytime   soon that will engage nations to water conflicts to produce electric power.   Hydroelectricity is derived from gravitational force (potential energy) of   the flowing or falling waters. A hydropower house may take the form of a   run-of-river (flowing) or dam (falling). Hydroelectric power plants use water   turbines instead of water wheel. Word “turbine” is derived from Latin worlds   whirling or vortex. Water turbine has swirling component for force to pass on   kinetic energy to spinning rotor. It allows small size of turbine than   equivalent power water wheel used in ancient times. French engineer, Bernard Forest   de Belidor, conceived the idea of water in 1770s. Different types of turbines   such as Francis (1849), Pelton (1879) and Kaplan (1913) are considered   suitable for10-350, 50-1300 and 2-40m heads whereas waterwheels are used for   0.2-4m falls. Typical capacities of pico, micro, small, medium and large dams   are <5 kW, 5 to 100 kW, 100 to 10 MW, 10 to 10,000 MW and >10 GW. There   only three large dams worldwide namely Three Gorges Dam (22.5 GW), Itaipu Dam   (14 GW) and Guri Dam (10.2 GW). Global small scale hydropower capacity is 85   GW out of which 65 GW in China, 3.5 GW in Japan, 3 GW in USA and 2 GW in   India. Norway, Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, and Sweden produce 98.25, 85.56,   67.17, 61.12 and 44.34% of their national power demands by hydro power   plants. Hydropower is considered the cleanest white energy.

World’s first DC   hydropower house, Cragside in Northumberland, was operated in England (UK) in   1878. Thomas Edison invented first long life incandescent lamp in 1879 before   which carbon filament based short lived lamps were available. First US   Niagara hydropower station started delivering DC electricity in 1881. Nichlas   Tesla invented the first three phase AC generator in 1988 that was used in   Niagara Fall hydro station in 1885. Most of European countries got hydropower   stations from 1880 to 1890 simultaneously. British brought this technology to   India in early 1900s. Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was   established in Pakistan in1859. British government had already developed   large barrages and canals systems for irrigation. WAPDA engineers constructed   1000 MW Mangla dam in 1867, 3500 MW Tarbella dam in 1976 and 2000   run-of-river Chashma power house in 2004. World’s largest hydropower   producers are China, Canada, USA, Brazil, Russia, India, Norway and Japan   which have total installed capacities of 196.79, 88.974, 79.511, 69.08,   45.00, 33.60, 27.528 and 27.229GW. Famous Chinese three gorges dam since 1994   produces 22,500 MW electricity and proposed Congo Grand Inga dam will produce   39,000 MW by 2014. A 50,000 MW dam is under proposal on Red Sea in Africa.   Chinese install hydropower capacity is more than the total combine hydropower   capacities of USA, Canada and Japan. Chinese hydropower generation capacity   is about six times more than Indian and 33 times more than Pakistani   hydropower generation. Indian hydropower generation capacity is about 5-6   times more than Pakistan’s, yet it is building dozens of dams on rivers which   were given to Pakistan under Indus Water Treaty in 1960. India had 300 dams in   1947 which have increased to 4000 by 2000. About 70% of new dams were built   during 1971 and 1989.

2. Transboundary Rivers Conflicts

In view of widespread water scarcity, due to climate change, it is time to   fine tune the clauses of international rivers sharing laws. United Nations   adopted existing European and American agreements in light of Helsinki rules   in 1997 as an international water law which has failed to protect downstream   riparian rights when upstream riparian started building multiple dams on   Indus, Jhelum and Chenab without permission. Adam’s ale is a panacea for   human integration but due to geopolitical differences the water is emerging   as an instrument of war (Franklin, 2002). Over 245 river basins are shared by   two or more countries. Growing freshwater demands intensify water disputes in   riparian states. Major water disputes include Pakistan vs. India, Israel vs.   Jordon and Palestinians, Turkey vs. Syria and Iraq, Egypt vs. Sudan and   Ethiopia (Asho, 2001). World Bank Vice president, Ismail   Serageldin, said in 1995 the next century wars would be fought over water and   not on oil (World Bank, 1998). If there has not been any exclusive war on   waters in past that does not mean it can not be in future (Star, 1991).   European countries share 4 river basins under 175 treaties, 4-5 African   countries share 12 river basins under 34 treaties, 4-5 Asian countries share   5 river basins under 31 treaties. There are 48 joint river commissions in   Europe, 23 in the Americas, 10 in Africa and 9 in Asia. European and American   states had disagreements over water quality in Rhine and Colorado rivers but   African, Middle East and Asian countries have water quantity disputes on   Zambezi, Mekong, Nile, Euphrates, Tigris, Indus and Ganges. We love or hate   each other we have to share the water, air and sun. Oil and water do not mix   but can entangle to develop water, watts and war trinity. Some social   scientists are covertly producing amphoteric solutions of oil and water in   blood geopolitically.

Upper riparian (India)   has started diverting and holding off shared rivers waters under its   innovatory dam policies which is starving lower riparian Pakistan (Ben and   Sing, 2000). May be run-of-river type hydropower stations even low head dam   construction could not matter if upper riparian stops diverting shared waters   through underground tunnels can canals. India has embarked on diverting   western rivers waters through across connecting canals from Jehlum to Chenab   through 80km long tunnel, Chenab to Ravi through Marhu tunnel, interconnection   of Beas to Sutlej and Sutlej to Ganges through proposed express link canal   which is absolute violation of Indus Water Teaty. IPCC experts believe the   global warming has caused the August 2010 flash flood in Pakistan which   affected 20-25 million people (IPCC, 2010). Climate change experts guess   under rapidly rising global warming the water distribution conflicts may lead   to armed conflicts among nations in future (Clionadh, 2007). Transboundary   river conflicts include water shortages as well as geopolitical reasons   (Nils, 2006). Water conflict between Pakistan and India is building up due to   fast melting of glaciers. Middle Eastern countries take water availability as   a strategic weapon (Alees, 1994). Palestinians per capita water consumption is   60 liters per day in West Bank whereas Israelis use 330 liters per day (5   times more) (Stephen, 2008). Fair water distribution is one of the key issues   in Israel-Palestinian agreement today (David and Julie, 2010). Arab-Israel   conflict is getting aggravated by water conflicts (Mustafa, 1994). Israel is   also trying to secure access to Nile, Euphrates and Ceyhan in Turkey. Global   research observers blame Israel for stealing Arab waters (Sawsan, 2010).   People have been occupying waters since antiquity but the water flows today   and they have gone the same is going to happen with present and future   generations.

Historic wrecks are   often the source of conflict as well as consensus (Paul and Craig, 2000).   Transboundary water conflicts can not be solved using game theory geopolitics   bearing undercurrents (Kaveh, 2010) rather fair rules yet to be developed by   United Nations in the name of International Rivers Water Sharing Laws. Shared   river waters conflicts are both inter and intra state types (Hans et al, 2000)   that require global laws to safeguard lower riparian (Paul et al, 2006).   Without UN backed water laws the long held agreements may break and old   confrontations can resurface (Eran, 2000). Water distribution experts have   already proposed several models (Irene et al, 1986; Marc et al, 1987;   Giordano et al, 2007, Joseph et al, 2004) that facilitate UN to formulate   transboundary water sharing and conflict resolution laws. Mass migrations and   water conflicts intensification has been noted in Tanzania since last one   decade (Milline, 2005) and Pakistan during August 2010 floods. The developed   countries sustain dilemmas in developing countries that lead to talent   migration causing serious blows to economies of developing countries (Schon   and Ian, 2009).

Water situation is   getting worse in USA and China but extremely critical in Brazil, India and   Pakistan where underground water table is falling at rate of 3-5cm per year.   India is building several dozens dams and diversion canals on shared rivers,   Indian hydro tactics have caused droughts and flash floods horrors in   Pakistan. India is constructing 24-25 dams on river Chenab that feeds to   central Punjab housing 90-100 million people. India relates it to her growing   power needs but Pakistan takes it aqua bomb capable of causing droughts and   flash floods. Recent flash flood due to monsoons rains and timed injection of   Indian dam waters has inflicted 25000 lives, 1-2 billion crops and 5-7   billion property losses. United Nations have no global law on transboundary   water distribution. Due to natural scarcity of freshwaters concerned experts   have long been warning of water wars (Swain, 2001; Richard and Robert, 1996;   Grayling, 2008; Michael and Glen, 2008, Kay, 2009). European and Americans   water agreements under Helsinki Rules and the International Law Commission   Convention on Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses   have been universalized for global water treaties which have no consensus   across the board. Despite 2 dams on Beas, 4 on Sutlej, 6 on Ravi, 7 on Indus,   8 on Jhelum and 24 on Chenab India assumes full right on all six rivers   falling down to Pakistan and blames colonial period water laws creating   schism that locks the water sector into a developmental catharsis (Radha,   2002).

In response to a   satellite research on ground water depletion in Punjab (Matthew and Isabella   et al, 2009) reporting underground water table declining rate of 3-5cm/yr, an   Indian water expert tried to justify multiple dams policy on western   Pakistani rivers as a sensible measure to mitigate their water depletion   crisis (Saumitra, 2009). Pakistan, being downstream riparian, supports   Radha’s demand for international legislature on transboundary water sharing   laws to avoid water conflicts but does not support Saumitra’s innovatory   policy to steal others waters to solve own problems. Pakistan proposes United   Nations to frame laws governing distribution of international river waters   including construction of dams in high hazards seismic areas. In view of   multiple river basins shared by two or more countries it has become   imperative to formulate global river water distribution laws acceptable to   upper and lower riparian, déjà vu, water fracas and frays might escalate to   dismal water wars in forthcoming decades. Several water experts have pointed   out Indian ingenuity based maneuvers to hoodwink lower riparian (Swain,   2001).

3. Breach of Indus Water Treaty

]India and Pakistan used to share River Indus and its five contributories   Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej under British rules. Pakistani areas   had no dam to store water, therefore 80% water of six rivers used to fall   into Arabian Sea. When water conflicts started intensifying after division in   1948, World Bank’s President Augene Black, arbitrated between Pakistan and   India to reach Indus Water Treaty in 1960. Under this agreement three eastern   rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej were given to India and three western rivers   Indus, Chenab and Jhelum were given to Pakistan. It was water division no   water sharing. Pakistan also agreed to allow India to use some of western   rivers waters for local agriculture around rivers in India and produce   run-of-river style hydroelectricity provided water flow does not fall bellow   55,000 cusecs at Marala and other interface barrages that went bellow 20,000   in 2009. Indus Water Treaty worked well up to 1980s before Indian Government   decided to build dams in Shiwaliks (Himalchal, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir)   on western rivers (Jindal, 1990). Geotechnical studies were carried out in   Ballowal, Takarla and Karoan areas from 1984 to 1995. Generally pre-monsoon,   monsoon and post-monsoon rain fall in Kashmir valley (Handwara) used to be   305, 161.8 and 89mm from 1903 to 1982 (Kumar, 2010) which increased to 1117   to 1249mm in 1990s (Jindal, 1990) that prompted India to go for multiple dams   on western rivers without seeking permission of lower river riparian.

To build dams on   active faults in Zone-V (<7<Meq<9) violating Indus Water   Treaty, Indian Government conducted several more studies on geotechnical and   hydrological parameters for the design of small earth filled dams in 1990s   (Sur, 1999). Initial small dams construction experience using local expertise   led to micro-earthquakes around Thien Dam in Himalayas in 1980s (   Bhattacharya et al, 1986) which forced them to seek international assistance   on dams. Feasibility studies on 400 MW Hasti Dul (400 MW) and other dams were   carried out in Kashmir valley and adjacent provinces Himachal and Punjab in   1990s (Winter et al, 1994). Uri-I (240 MW) dam on river Jhelum and Nathpa   (1650 MW) dam on river Sutlej were carried out to test geological and   geotechnical responses which hardly complied (Behrestaghi et al, 1996). If   Indian dams fail by technical reasons or earthquakes the people who will   suffer are Kashmiri or Pakistanis. Building tens of dams without consulting   lower riparian renders Indus Water Treaty virtually collapsed. Under the   Indus Treat 1960 India is supposed to inform at least six months before   launching any hydropower project but she did not and on detection she was   asked to holdback the project which was resumed. India has several dam   projects including water diversions tunnels and canals. India has sanctioned   RS.33 billion for 330 MW Krishanganga and Rs. 18 billion for 240 MW Uri-II   hydropower dam on River Jhelum, Rs.51 billion for 1000 MW Pak Dul and 1200 MW   Sawalkot dams projects on Chenab. Sawalkot dam has 646-feet height which is   more than the 485-feet height Tarbela and 453 feet height Mangla in Pakistan.   These dams are 160 km away from Kangra where a 8.0 Richter scale earthquake   occurred in 1905 on record (Kiani, 2010).

India has already   built 60 MW Madekheda dam on Indus river and is constructing 130 MW Chuttak,   600 MW Monpreet n Randeep, 44 MW Dumkhar and 60 MW Nimo Bazgo dams on river   Indus. After completion of 330 MW Wular barrage and 240 MW Uri-I dam India is   further constructing 330 MW Krishanganga and 240 MW Uri-II dams on river   Jhelum. India completed 450 MW Baglihar, 345 MW Salal-I and 345 MW Salal-II   on river Chenab on which Pakistan objected seriously. India has diverted   Jhelum river water to Chenab through a 80km long tunnel which is clear breach   of Indus Water Treaty. India is constructing another 1200 MW Bursar dam on   this tunnel. Instead of respecting Indus Water Treaty India has started   construction of 400 MW Hasti Dul, 460 MW Rattle, 400 MW Gyspa, 100 MW Pakdul,   800 MW Karthai, 180 MW Raoli, 725 MW Seli, 1200 MW Sawalkot, 90 MW Tangat, 50   MW Pattan, 50 MW Teling, 100 MW Tandi, 180 MW Sach Khas, 300 MW Dueli/Dugli,   100 MW Rashal, 100 MW Myar, 190 MW Gondhala, 240 MW Dogar, 100 MW Shatru, 110   MW Dang, 20 MW Thai Rot and Chenai dams (Wikipedia, 2010; Arashad, 2010).   After completion of so many dams all the western rivers will become dry.   Bhutan has a hydropower potential of 23,000 MW out of which 4,484 MW is   expected to be harnessed by constructing six dams by 2024. Pakistan has   50,000 MW hydro potential which is under threat due to 39,000 MW power Indian   dams on western rivers. Pakistan is generating 71.9% thermal, 25.2% hydel and   2.9% nuclear power. Our energy mix consists of 43.5% oil, 41.5% gas, 0.3%   LPG, 4.5% coal, 9.2% hydropower and 1.1% nuclear electricity (Nayyer, 2004).   Pakistan has over 40,000 MW wind, 30,000 MW solar and 800 MW geothermal   potential.

India has already   dried up eastern rivers Ravi, Sulej and Beas. Water only flows in these   rivers when India has serious dam overtopping threat. India is digging a   Sulej-Ganges Link canal to divert waters to southern Indian states on which   Indian riparian have taken stay from Indian court. India has built 390 MW   Pong, 360 MW Pandoh and 126 MW Larji dams on river Beas, 1000 MW Bhakra, 1650   MW Nathpa and 800 MW Kol, 1000 MW Karcham Wang and 77 MW Nangal dams on river   Sutlej, 1200 MW Baira Siul, 540 MW Chamera and 600 MW Ranjeet Agar, 120 MW   Sewa-II and 70 MW Budhil dams on river Ravi. Indian dam mania is causing   drought to both eastern and western riparian farmers. Pakistan has only two   dams which usually stay partially filled throughout the year except monsoon   months Wikipedia, 2010). Unfortunately, 95% Indian dams in Himachal, Jammu   and Kashmir regions are located on dangerous earthquake faults zones.   Recently India has launched another dams construction drive in Himachal   Pardesh (En.Wikipedia, 2010) to build 300 MW Baspa, 231 MW Holi, 70 MW   Dhamwar, 2050 MW Parbati, 192 MW Allian, 162 MW Swara, 370 MW Sham Not, 560   MW Rattle, 430 MW Kiru, 320 MW Kawar and 35 MW Bichlari dams (Ramanathan,   2007). United Nations water experts must formulate global water legislation   to avoid water wars especially between India and Pakistan which may engulf   many others. When Pakistan came to know of water shortages in rivers India   had completed 70% of 48 dams. Indus river system is spread over 944,473 km2   out of which 553,416 km2 lies in Pakistan. Pakistan declared   failure of Indus Commission in 2005 referring the case to neutral expert.   India has 34 large dams out of which 10 are in Kashmir. Indian links between   Neelum, Jhelum, Chenab through Tavi river uplift canal, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej   and Yamana transfer western rivers water to Indian highlands as shown in   Fig.1

There is no dam on   Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers on Pakistani side. However, India is   building over three dozens dams on Western rivers which are viewed as a   matter of grave concern by Pakistan. Science news and global warming   observations conclude Himalaya region is getting heavily damned in near   future. Dams worth 150,000 MW have been proposed in India, Nepal, Bhutan and   Pakistan. International Rivers point it out as a wrong choice for warming   world. Melting glaciers, like Dig Tsho Glof in Nepal in 1985, may lead to   glacial lake bursts causing flash floods. Bhutan noted 25 dangerous glacial   lakes in 2009. Over one billion people rely on Himalaya waters. Upstream   countries should not store waters in dams to starve lower riparian. India   must focus US backed nuclear, local clean coal and Indian Ocean wave energy   instead of blocking water flow to Pakistan. Water is life but in a driest and   hottest global warming hit Pakistan the water becomes a strategic resource   like a weapon of mass destruction. United Nations and Indian scientists and   engineers must advise resolute Indian Government to refrain dam building in   fault zones on western rivers under 1960 Indus Treaty to discourage water war   for long term regional security. We have long history of using waters   amicably but energy crisis is driving the conflicts. Global irrigation   potentials exists 68% in Asia, 17% in Americas, 9% in Europe and 1% in   Oceania. Indus Basin western rivers contribute to 15-20% of Asian food cycle.   Transboundary rivers are not local rather global assets which need due   attention on merits. Indus water treaty went well for last 50 years but   recent Indian dam drive is worsening the scenario.

Salaman’s (Salman,   2010) claim the lower riparian (Pakistan) can harm upper riparian (India) is   not valid argument as Pakistan and India have divided rivers instead of   sharing. Eastern rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi were chosen by India and   Western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab were left for Pakistan due to   geographical locations. Eastern rivers had annual water capacity of 41   billion cubic meters (33 MAF) whereas western rivers had capacity of 188   billion cubic meters (135 MAF). Uri dams have storage capacity of 3.07 MAF in   1999 which increased to 6.37 MAF in 2002. Sutlej-Yamana (SYL) can transfer   3.5MAF water. India is transferring this water from western rivers into   eastern rivers through Tavi-Ravi 31 meter high uplift link canal. India   stopped Neelum River to divert water to Wular Barrage through 27 km long   tunnel which is further diverted from Jhelum to Chenab through 77 km long   tunnel. Asia Times called it race to death over Kashmir waters (Asia Times,   2009).

Salman’s foreclosure   concept could be applicable to shared but not to the rivers which have been   divided. Unfortunately, Salman’s ingenuity based approach to use more water   at expense of lower riparian is a nuisance which can only drive water   conflicts to real wars. Salaman’s claim of Nehru’s fifty years ahead of time   thoughts again represent ingenuity based criminal thinking to which most   European (Swain, 2001), British (Guardian, 2002) and American (Basharat,   2010) scientists, journalists and philanthropists flay. History shows how   wisely her family enchanted Lord Mountbatten to divide Punjab and Kashmir   dishonestly. There is little difference between doing and thinking evil.   Nehru’s sleeping with stranger policy is the root cause behind all conflicts   we face today. Chairman US Atomic Energy Commission and Head of Tennessee   Valley, David Lilienthal after visiting India and Pakistan in 1951 commented   in August 1951 issue of the Collier Magazine “With no water for irrigation,   Pakistan would be desert. No army can destroy Pakistan by bombs and shell   fires but India can devastate by shutting down and diverting waters. Water is   Punjab power keg which is vulnerable to Indian water closure. River water   dispute is dynamite”. Water bomb threat over unsettled Kashmir issue evolves   Kashmir as a nuclear flash point. Pakistan takes Indian agriculture trade   offers using Pakistani waters as respite for the spite.

Pakistan wanted to go   to International Court of Justice but India insisted to resolve it   bilaterally. On report of David Lilienthal the World Bank seriously   considered the issue and agreed to adjudicate which resulted in The Indus   Waters Treaty 1960. This treaty gives three eastern rivers to India and three   western rivers to Pakistan. It allows India to store water to a maximum   extent of 3.6 MAF on western rivers. Indus Water Treat 1960 Annexure D part 2   (3) allows India to complete construction ongoing 186kW Pahalgam, 30kW   bandipura, 40 kW Dachigam, 1.2 MW Runbir canal, 640 kW Udhampur, 160 kW   Poonch hydropower projects. Subsection Part 2 (4) also allows India to   complete 12 MW Mahara, 15 MW Gandierbal, 150 kW Kupwara, 350 kW Kishtwar, 650   kW Rajouri, 14 MW Chinani and 600 kW Nichalani Banihal hydropower stations on   western rivers (IWT, 2010). Now India has launched a massive drive of   building 33 new dams on western rivers feeding to Pakistan.

The Indus Waters   Treaty 1960 Annexure D Part 2 (8, 9, 13, 15, 16 and 18) allows India to build   even new run-of-river power plants without interfering the water flow and   diversion. Indian decision to build large dams instead of run-of-river power   stations is clear violation of above subsections. Part 2 section 15 restricts   India to deliver volume of water varying from 30% to 130% of river water.   India can divert water from one to other tributary of the same river but not   the other rivers like Jhelum to Chenab and build 1200 MW dam on the tunnel.   It must be run-of-river design not the dam capable holding waters for months.   India has the right to stop water flow to Pakistan when dead storage of   run-of-river powerhouse is being filled not several MAF dam which exceeds her   permitted 3.6 MAF limit. Treaty section 18 (a, c) permit India to use 300   cusecs discharge turbines along with storage capacity 20 feet above mean bed   level of tributary but the new 33 dams have been raised up to several tens of   meters which contradicts the agreement. Part 4 (24) also allows India to   build hydropower plants on any irrigation channel taking off western rivers   without storage other than the poundage but is required under Part 5 (1-3) to   supply location, hydrodynamic, design details such as spill ways, head tail   etc to Pakistan 6 moths before starting construction work that has been   covertly violated in last two decades. Indus Waters Treaty 1960 Annexure E   related to water reservoir, dead, live, flood, surcharge, conservation and   power storage capacities restricts India to values shown in Table 2.

Indus Water Treaty   Annexure E allows India enjoy general, power and flood storage limits of   1.25, 1.60 and 0.75 MAF which is consistent with 3.6 MAF restriction of Part   2 section 15 as discussed above. Ground reality is the India has already   build 14 power houses and working on the construction of another 33 medium   size dams with storage capacities exceeding several tens of MAF instead of   allowed 3.6 MAF. Pakistan used to get over 156 MAF earlier which despite fast   snowmelts and monsoon runoff has reduced to just 134 MAF per year. Indus   Waters Treaty 1960 Annex E (10) restricts India to not exceed storage beyond   10,000 acre feet above 3.6 MAF during even emergency and do not release it   all of sudden to cause difficulty for Pakistan. Annexure E (18) restricts   India to not let the water flow go bellow 55,000 cusecs it has been going   bellow 20,000 in routine since many years.

Water went bellow   6,233 cusecs from the average flow of 118,000 cusecs recently on 20 January   2010 (Kiani, 2010). India had only Ranbir & Pratap canals at time of   agreement but later many new canals such as Kashmir canal, Ravi-Tavi link   canal, Igo-Phey canal in Leh and Kurbathang canal in Kargil have been dug to   divert western rivers waters. Indian Prime Minister declared himself whilst   inaugurating the Baglihar power house that India has completed 19 out of 67   hydropower projects in Kashmir. India plans to produce 8,696 MW out of river   Chenab alone. Pakistan considers Indian dam policy on Western rivers as a   deliberate attempt to break Indus Water Treaty (Khan, 2010). If water storage   and diversion to eastern rivers continues then Pakistanis will face 108MAF   water shortage by 2013 and 151MAF shortage by 2025. Declining waters and   rising population is snowballing skirmishes to conflicts leading to collapse   of economy and evolution of law and order problems. Current and future   freshwater and population scenarios are shown in Fig.2. Western rivers annual   flow was 154-168 MAF and eastern rivers just 33 MAF. Due to across river   links and huge number of dams the average annual flow in western rivers has   declined to 135 MAF is continuously running down. India was allowed to   construct run-of-river power projects not storage dams like Dulhasti, Nimoo   Bazgo, Pakdul and Barsar etc on western rivers. Water flow was expected to   increase due to global warming but due to enhanced stage dams it is falling   even bellow earlier levels.

4. Water, Power and Energy Confluence

Industrial revolution was initially triggered by waterpower, however, later   was supplanted by coal fired steam engines. Discovery of oil and gas in 1860   replaced the steam engines by diesel and internal combustion engines which   need replacement due to global warming and oil depletion crisis. Discovered   1372 billion barrels oil and 172,000 billion cubic meters gas reserves at   current consumption rates of 31-32 billion barrels and 3295 billion cubic   meters gas per year are likely to last to 2052 and 2061. However, coal   reserves might last to 2250. Everything in finite quantity like oil, coal,   gas, uranium and water are subject to peaking. Our energy cycle, shown in   Fig.3, seems to follow steeper 100 years decline than 300 years smooth and   150 years exponential rise. Global coal reserves are 1000 billion tons which   at current consumption rate of 478 million tons per year might deplete by   2150. If we consider the coal gasification based coal to liquid (CTL)   widespread acceptance then coal might end by 2100. Poland, South Africa,   India, Australia, China, Germany, USA, Denmark and UK produce 94.80, 93,   78.3, 77, 72.2, 52, 49, 47.3 and 32.90% of their total power using coal fired   power plants. Generally perceived oil (Psatskin, 2008; Heinberg, 2005), gas   (Darley, 2005), clean water (Peak water, 2010) and coal (Rognor, 1997)   peaking and subsequent scenarios (NAP, 2005) are shown in Fig.3. If   development rate is not decelerated in time then global economies may free   fall anytime in future. In view of oil and gas peaking followed by depletion   different countries are exploring different options. Agriculture based   countries are changing from oil to bio-fuel (Jarunee, 2010) and   industrialized states like China, India and Japan (Cyranoski, 2010) are   shifting from oil based to nuclear based economies. Based on published data   (Harper, 1999) the clock diagrams (Bentley, 2002) of oil and gas reserves   with percentage of consumed resource are shown in Fig.3 and Fig.4.

Enhanced recovery of   oil and currently gas to liquid (GTL), coal to liquid (CTL) and bio-fuels   have not been included in above statistics. Measures taken to reduce oil   dependence are implicitly coordinated with global warming and climate change.   The ultimate aim is to shift primary energy focus to alternative and   renewable energy sources improving energy efficient technologies. Energy   saving lamps such as CFL or LED as well as energy efficient motors, pumps and   processes also increase indirect generation capacity. Global warming   believers guess during energy transition period the price of oil is likely to   increase. Oil peaking believers ask to reduce energy consumption in view of   depleting oil reserves. World consumes oil at a rate over 1000 barrels per second   today (Tertzakian, 2006) that is increasing over time. Pakistan discovered   934 million barrels oil, 54 trillion cubic feet gas, and 190 billion tons   coal out of which 313 million barrels oil, 30 trillion cubic feet gas and 185   billion tons coal reserves. Pakistan is consuming oil, gas and coal at rate   of 69,954 barrels oil, 3.973 billion cubic feet gas, and little coal per day.   Oil and gas may deplete, subject to future explorations, by 2022 and 2030.   Pakistan has 185 billion tons coal reserves which are being developed for use   beyond 2020 (OGDC, 2009). Pakistan’s primary energy supply was 60 MTOE in   2010 which is being met with gas, oil and hydro etc as shown in Fig.5.   Pakistan consumes 2% energy for agriculture and same amount to power   government offices. There is a general perception the government machinery   wastes lot of oil, gas and electricity on room heating and cooling for   government officers and incumbent politicians. Power and energy experts blame   the corrupt practices responsible for power, energy and water crisis.   Pakistan has 70,000 MW theoretical and 50,000 MW practical and 30,000MW the   most economic hydropower potential but misleading policies spend 27MTOE   energy for power generation as shown in Fig.6. Power politics, traditional   bureaucratic red tapes and lack of vision has entangled the nation into an   energy knot despite existence of huge natural resources as shown in Fig.7.   Pakistan has started underground coal gasification for power and coal to   liquid (CTL) for fuels which is in process of prototype syndrome. Water and   power treaties can only succeed of all parties declare projects transparently   (Noah et al, 2008) or look for more innovatory terms instead of breaching   existing agreements ( Rossi, 2002).

Population growth,   industrial expansions and easy lifestyles have increased electricity demand   from 17PWh in 2000 to 20PWh in 2010 that is likely to increase to 24 PWH by   2020 and 30PWh by 2030. About 2.5 billion people out of global 6.8 billion   population lived with severe water conditions in 2005 which are likely to   increase to 3.95 billions out of 8.5 billions population by 2030. IEEE   believes trading water for watts is start of hard choices era. Hydroelectric,   solar, nuclear and wind power plants consume 5.4, 2.5-2.8, 1.5 and 0 liters water   per kWh but produce no carbon. Coal and gas fired power plants consume   1.1-1.8 and 0.5-1.8 liters per kWh energy producing 0.43 to 0.96 kg/kWh   carbon. Photovoltaic power generation uses 0.1 liter/kWh water producing 0.02   kg/kWh carbon. Wind power is the cleanest form energy which neither uses   water nor produces carbon (IEEE Staff, 2010). Pakistan is among least coal   burning countries but global warming is hitting hard on it since 1998. A   recent temperature rise to 54°C in Mohenjo Daru followed by 1200,000 cusecs   flash floods has affected over 2 to 2.5 million people across Pakistan. The   climatologists say it makes no difference whether a single country increases   or decreases greenhouse gases emissions at global scale. A country injecting   thousands miles away can affect you through the common atmosphere. Recent   industrialization in China and India has led to accumulation of green gases   over Pakistan that has changed monsoon flow patterns from Bangladesh to India   to Southern Punjab to northern mountains exacerbating glacier melting.

World power demand is   17 PWh whereas thousands of dams installed electric power capacity is 777 GWe   that supplies just 2.9 PWh which is 18% of total demand. The remaining 82%   demand is met with fossil fuels which are likely to deplete after 2050.   Individual nation’s policy to dam the international rivers to meet her power   demands by starving neighbors, instead of looking for alternative   technologies, is like sleeping on a spinning wheel. Hydroelectricity accounts   of 88% of renewable energy and the remaining 12% is obtained from solar and   wind farms. We urgently need 13600 TWh electricity from more large, small,   micro or pico dams, artificial photosynthesis, hydrogen, laser fusion and   nanotechnology based high efficiency solar cells. Energy experts believe   water, fusion (Parkins, 2006) and sun can be the ultimate energy sources. US   Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA started several programs, such as   Supernova Acceleration Program (SNAP), Advanced Dark Energy Physics Telescope   (ADEPT) and Dark Energy Space Telescope (Destiny) to explore dark energy   (Eric, 2008). Current energy conversion technologies, hydropower, internal   combustion engines, were developed in 1880s and nuclear and gas turbines in   1930s. Scientists and engineers are trying to harness nuclear fusion,   artificial photosynthesis, CO2 and H2Ointeractions   to reverse global warming and obtain energy.

5. Dams Hazards & Drawbacks

A large dam may fail during earthquake and flash flood. Dam failures may lead   to serious consequences. It causes flash flood causing catastrophes. Chinese   Banqiao dam failure killed 26,000 by drowning in flood water and 145,000   people by subsequent epidemics in addition to billions dollars property   losses. Vajont Dam failure by geological reasons killed 2000 people in Italy   in 1963. Kelly Barnes Dam failed due to flash flood killing 27 people in   1957. It is very dangerous to construct dams on geological fault lines.   Usually rivers offer best civil engineering locations around fault zones.   India is constructing tens of dams in Panjal fault zone in Kashmir that going   to be a time bomb for Pakistan. Dams are usually alluring targets for wartime   attack, sabotage and terrorism. Based on possible widespread devastation by   dam burst United Nations must consider it a weapon of mass destruction (WMD).   If an upstream country stores >10 MAF water to release downstream to cause   flash flood it will that must be viewed as intention of using WMD against the   downstream country. American police and agencies usually treat dam burst as   equivalent to WMD. India has very poor record of dam construction technology   as nine dams have already been collapsed in India due to technical reasons.   Last 43.38 meters head, Jaswant Sagar Dam, collapsed on July 2007. Even if   India improves dam technology none can guarantee against earthquakes. India is   constructing dams in area which is globally well known for hazardous   earthquakes. India itself classifies this area in zone five where 7-9 scale   earthquakes can happen anytime. Indian seismic zonation studies shows   Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir regions are in Zone-V (Walling and Mohanty, 2009)   wherein 7-9 Richter scale earthquakes have been occurring and may reoccur   anytime. Lower riparian can not afford to take risk of unforeseen flashfloods   and continued droughts for her 180 million population around five rivers.   Indian voracity to deprive upstream and downstream riparian has led her to   wrangles with Nepal, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh (Mirza, 2002). Pakistan   has been observing the Indus Water Treaty since 1960 but recent Indian dam   drive has made the situation much worse. A recent study has shown   construction of multiple dams at Himalaya thrust, Panjal Muree, Sawalkot,   Chakka and Kishtiwar faults in India which is a matter of serious concern for   downstream 100 million Pakistanis (Arshad, 2010). Pakistan can trust India   but there is no grantee against natural disasters on which none has control.   A 7-8 Richter scale earthquake can easily destroy 30-33 Indian earth filled   dams wreathing havoc to Pakistan

Dam construction   devastates lot of fertile land causes evacuation of quite few tens of   villages. Dam construction often becomes issue that has to be sorted out by   giving people distinct advantages. To an estimate 50-80 million peoples have   been displaced worldwide due to dam constructions. Awan Dam in Egypt, Three   Gorges Dam in China, Clyde Dam in New Zealand and Ilisu Dam in Turkey led   historic places to flood exposures. Dam reservoirs often fill up with silt   reducing water storage capacities. Tarbella and Mangla dams water storage   capacities declined from 10 to 7 and 5.5 to 4 million acres feet (MAF) during   34 and 41 years. Warsak dam has completely filled by silt long ago. Due to   deep water levels in dam lakes the oxygen content decreases hurting fish and   other aquatic animals. It is recommended to aerate water at regular   intervals. A water dam having capacity of 100 watts/m2 of surface   area produces with trees intact may produce more green gases by anaerobic   digestion than oil fired power plant. If the trees are removed before   impounding reservoir that limits green gases emission down to 2-8%.

Water dams produce the least amount of CO2. Natural freeze and   thaw cycle cause water fluctuations from 1 to 10 times in winters and   summers. Large hydro dams not only support power generation and irrigation   but also flood control. Pakistan badly felt the need of dams during 2010   flood which affected over 20 million people, causing $10-15 billion property   and over 2000 people life losses. Impact of Indian dams overflow during   monsoon on flood in Pakistan is shown in Table 1. Hydrodynamic timing   analysis of Indian barrages and dams controlling water tides propagation in   Pakistani rivers confirms possibility of confluence of various rivers waters   at Mithonkot exceeding barrages capacity as illustrated in Fig.8. Water flow timing   analysis of rivers from fastest river Chenab waters reaching at   Panjnad/Mithonkot first (00 Hrs) followed by Jhelum, Indus, Ravi and Sutlej   after 18, 8-29 and 33 hours delays. Variable time delays of Indus may amplify   Jhelum or Ravi & Sutlej waters at Mithonkot and Guddu barrage. There come   floods periodically in Pakistan but their intensities are noted increasing   exponentially with increasing number of dams over Indus, Jhelum, Chenab,   Ravi, Beas and Sutlej by upper riparian India. Growing intensities of floods   in Pakistan over last 63 years are shown in Fig.9. This natural calamity has   displaced over 20 million people from homes to relief camps. UN Secretary   General visiting flood hit areas said “I have seen many dreadful calamities   but none bigger than this”. GIS map of flood August 2010 is shown in   Fig.10.Water experts believe it was a 50 MAF flood out of which 10 MAF was   stored in Tarbella and Jhelum rivers. If Pakistan had build Kalabagh dam then   it could have stored another 10 MAF to reasonably reduce the peak intensity   of flood causing over $10-15 billions life and property losses. Pakistan has   one million tube wells out of which 30% (300,000) use 2500 to 3000 MW   electricity which is 20-25% of national power generation capacity. We waste   3000MW electricity to pump 35MAF underground water for irrigation which may   be saved by storing 36MAF water falling into sea every year.

7. Conclusions

Freshwater drives irrigation and industrial processes which support life.   Even if natural freshwater does not declining due to global warming the ever   growing population and industry it is subject to peaking (Peak water, 2010)   To stop water conflicts transformation into armed conflicts, it is necessary   to develop impartial global laws to govern international rivers sharing among   two or more riparian countries. A nation like India having track record of   stemming water flows need special attention. India stopped all tributaries in   1948 and River Chenab in 2008 to fill Baglihar dam violating sanctity of   Indus River Treaty. Pakistan has questioned India on 27 dam projects in   recent past because of which water flow has declined to 20,000 cusecs which   is 30,000 cusecs bellow the agreed level under Indus Water Treaty. Global   water experts and observers guess the tense standoff between India and   Pakistan over waters may lead to nuclear conflict. India could not simply   turn off the taps – any move would require the building of multiple dams- the   idea is itself bad enough to be implemented (Guardian, 2002). Indian move to   dig Sutlej-Ganges Link canal, Chenab diversion to Ravi through Marhu tunnel   and Jehlum diversion to Chenab through underground tunnel are absolute violations   of Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan believes nuclear war with India better than   dying in desert. There is a looming threat of water war that United Nations   can easily prevent through lucid international rivers waters sharing laws.   Water issue between Pakistan and India is far more serious than a simple war   using conventional weapons.

Nasrullah Khan Kalair, Department of Electrical Engineering, Comsats Institute of   Information Technology Islamabad, CIIT, Park Road, Islamabad, nasrullahk@yahoo.com


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Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Himachal  



2 thoughts on “Water conflicts and Hydroelectricity in South Asia

  1. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you provide. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    Posted by beneficios de hacer gimnasia en casa | April 16, 2012, 6:47 am

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