event 25 ago. 2021

Research article // Water, energy and food nexus of Indus Water Treaty: Water governance

By Ali Raza Kalair, Naeem Abas, Qadeer Ul Hasan, Esmat Kalair, Anam Kalair and Nasrullah Khan. In this paper, the authors report global water treaties and the aftermath of the Indus Water Treaty.

SAARC Hydropower Potential

SAARC Hydropower Potential. Source: The authors


  • The Indus Water Treaty is a successful settlement of the boundary water basin conflict.
  • Water, food and energy are intimately related in a nexus influencing each other.


Water, energy and food nexus of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is presented in the light of water governance. The water governance doctrine refers to social, economic, administrative and political systems influencing the transboundary water use and management. Water governance means who gets what water, when and how much, and who has the right to water related benefits. Indus Water Treaty is cited to be one of the few successful settlements of boundary water basin conflicts that has stood the test of times since last six decades. Riparian states have opportunities of harvesting water, power and agriculture by compliance to accords in letter and spirit. IWT restrains both (India) and lower (Pakistan) riparian from pulling out of accord from fear of deadly consequences. IWT is founded on World Bank’s professionally prepared comprehensive terms and conditions keeping in mind future regional developments. This treaty has given control of three eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) to India and three western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) to Pakistan. IWT gives both countries genuine share of eastern/western waters for domestic use, agriculture and electricity generation using Run-of-River Plants, subject to observing minimum level of water flow into lower riparian at Head Marala Barrage. Water, energy and food nexus of this treaty bonds upper and lower riparian to comply with water governance principles. Upper riparian diverted 34 million acre feet (MAF) water out of eastern rivers before entering into Pakistan and launched run-of-river power plants spree on western rivers in last two decades. Restricting water flow to lower riparian in the name of pond filling needs attention. Unrestricted use of water in run-of-river power plants is pointed out to be a limiting factor in Indus Water Treaty. Continuum of cooperation has room for collaboration under Indus Water Treaty. India and Pakistan can sort out disputes by dialogue, in light of rights and needs, rather Harmon Doctrine.


Water; Power; Energy; Agriculture; Dams; Climate change; Run-of-River Plants


June 2019


Water-Energy Nexus


Kalair, A. R., Abas, N., Ul Hasan, Q., Kalair, E., Kalair, A., & Khan, N. (2019). Water, energy and food nexus of Indus Water Treaty: Water governance. Water-Energy Nexus, 2(1), 10–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wen.2019.04.001


Water, energy and food nexus of Indus Water Treaty: Water governance

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