Indus River

Indus River

Indus river also known as Sindhu river is the world’s largest river basin system. The river throughout its course flows through Tibet region in China, India and Pakistan. 
It originates near the Mansarovar lake or Bokhar Chu in the Kailash Mansarovar range in Tibet. The Indus river drains into Arabian Sea near Karachi in Pakistan after forming a large delta region.
 
Indus River
FACTS ABOUT INDUS RIVER
•    Indus river is named after India.
•    It originates from a glacier near Bokhar Chu in the Kailash Mansarovar range at an altitude of 4164m.
•    The total length of the river is 2900 km.
•    Indus Valley Civilization was based on the banks of Indus river.
•    The rare blind Indus River dolphin which is a sub species of Dolphin is found in Indus River.
•    The river flows northwest and enters India's Ladakh region from a place called Demchok. Once in India, the Indus flows between the Karakoram and the Ladakh ranges, but is closer to the Ladakh range.
•    The river takes a sharp southwest turn at Dungti, cutting through the Ladakh range, before turning northwestern and continuing to flow towards the Leh region of Ladakh, alongside the Ladakh range. After reaching Leh, the river continues northwestern until it reaches Batalik, a town in the Kargil district.
•    At Leh, it meets the Zaskar River.
•    At an elevation of about 2,700 metres, it is joined by the Shyok near Skardu.
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•    Other Himalayan tributaries of the Indus include the Gilgit, Gartang, Dras, Shiger, and Hunza.
•    The Indus River now enters the Baltistan region through the city of Sakardu and continues to flow northwest towards the city of Gilgit. In Gilgit, the Indus river takes a south bend, then turns west, and enters Pakistan's northwest frontier province, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
•    Near Attock, Pakistan, the Kabul River empties into the Indus River. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
•    The river then takes a southwesterly course and flows through the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
•    The river then flows through the plains of Pakistan's western and southern Punjab provinces before continuing on to Pakistan's Sindhu province.
•    The Indus receives the accumulated waters of the five eastern tributaries—the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Satluj—from Panjnad (Panchnad) just above Mithankot.
•    Before draining into the Arabian Sea near Karachi, the river accumulates a lot of sediments in Sindh Province and forms the Indus river delta.
 
INDUS RIVER TRIBUTARIES
JHELUM RIVER
•    The Jhelum River originates in Kasmir from Verinag, which is part of the Pir Panjal range.
•    The river Jhelum is also known as Vitasta in the Rigveda.
•    Jhelum is a lifeline for the people of Kashmir Valley, but it also causes havoc due to flooding.
•    The Kishan Ganga is a tributary of the Jhelum River. It was recently in the news because of the Kishan Ganga hydroelectric project, which Pakistan objected to and took to the International Court of Arbitration, but the court ruled in India's favour.
•    The Jhelum River is a tributary of the Chenab River.
 
CHENAB RIVER
•    Chenab river originates in Himachal Pradesh, near the Bara lacha la pass, in the Zaskar range.
•    The river Chandrabhaga (Chenab) is formed when two streams, Chandra and Bhaga, on opposite sides of the Bara Lacha La pass finally meet to form Chenab river.
•    Pangi valley is located in the Zaskar range and flows parallel to the Pir Panjal range.
•    The Jhelum and ravi rivers merge with the Chenab and eventually flow into the Satluj River.
•    In 2021, the Indian government approved the 850MW Rattle hydroelectric project on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar region.
 
RAVI RIVER
•    Ravi River originates near Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu Hills.
•    It flows between the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar mountain ranges.
•    During its course, the Ravi river forms an international border between India and Pakistan.
•    The Ravi River joins the Chenab River.
 
BEAS RIVER
•    The Beas River originates near the Rohtang Pass at the southern end of the Pir Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh.
•    At Harike in Punjab, it crosses the Dhauladhar range and meets the Satluj.
•    It is a small river that flows entirely through Indian territory.
 
SATLUJ RIVER
•    The Satluj river originates in Tibet near the source of the Indus river from the Manasarovar rakas Lake.
•    It begins its journey in the north west and enters India near the Shipki la pass, which separates India and Tibet.
•    It passes through the Himalayas, forming deep gorges, before entering the Punjab plains at Nanda devi Dhar, where the famous Bhakra dam is built.
•    At Harike in Punjab, the Beas River joins the Satluj River.
•    During its flow in Punjab, the Satluj River forms an international border between India and Pakistan.
 
IMPORTANT RIVER VALLEY DAMS AND PROJECTS
The Indira Gandhi Canal Project is one of the world's largest and longest canal systems. The Indira Gandhi Canal runs from the Harike Barrage in Harike (Punjab), where the rivers Satluj and Beas meet, to Barmer in Rajasthan (in Rajasthan). Rajasthan's barren areas have been transformed into thriving agricultural fields thanks to the canal. The canal not only provides water for agriculture, but it also provides drinking water to hundreds of people in remote areas.
 
The Bhakra Nangal Project- This multipurpose river valley project was built to provide electricity to India's power-hungry northwestern region and to expand irrigation facilities in northwestern Haryana and southwestern Punjab. On the river Satluj in Himachal Pradesh, the Bhakra Dam and Nangal Dam have been built. Gobind Sagar is the name of the water reservoir behind the Bhakra Dam.
 
The Ravi river supplies water to the Upper Bari Doab Canal. It begins near Pathankot, in Madhopur (in Punjab). Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, and Tarn Taran are among the Punjab districts that benefit from the canal.
 
The Sirhind Canal - The water for the Sirhind Canal comes from the Satluj River. It begins in Rupnagar/Ropar (in Punjab). The canal provides irrigation water to the Punjab districts of Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Sangrur, Bathinda, and Patiala.
 
The Pong Dam - It is a dam built on the river Beas in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. Maharana Pratap Sagar, the dam's water reservoir, is a Ramsar wetland site.
The Thein Dam- It is a hydroelectric dam built on the Ravi River near Pathankot in Punjab. Ranjit Sagar Dam is another name for it. It is Punjab's largest hydroelectric project.
The Chamera Dam - It is a dam built on the Ravi River in Himachal Pradesh's Chamba district. The dam meets the region's hydroelectric needs.
The Dul Hasti Dam - This is a dam built on the Chenab River in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Salal Dam - It is located in Dhyangarh, Jammu and Kashmir, and it was built on the Chenab River.
The Baglihar Dam - It is located near Batote in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was built on the Chenab River.
The Tulbul Project - This dam project is located on the Jhelum River in Jammu and Kashmir. The Wular Barrage (a Ramsar wetland site) is built on the Wular Lake.
The Uri Dam - This is a dam built on the Jhelum River in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
INDUS WATERS TREATY (IWT)
The Indus River flows through both India and Pakistan. After the partition, the Indus river water was also divided. Indus waters Treaty (IWT) governs the water distribution between India and Pakistan. 
 
Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers forms the Westers rivers of the Indus river system. On the other hand the rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Beas form the Easters rivers.
 
For the rivers like Chenab, Jhelum and Indus India holds very limited rights. Its right is restricted to only irrigation, domestic and power plants usage. But for the rivers like Ravi, Beas and Sutlej India has full exclusive right to use as it wishes.
 
•    The Indus system was torn by the sharing formula, which was devised after long negotiations. The three "western rivers" (Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab) were divided between Pakistan and India, while the three "eastern rivers" (Sutlej, Ravi, and Beas) were given exclusively to India.
 
•    India has been granted permission to use 20% of the water from the western rivers for irrigation, power generation, and transportation.
 
•    On the western rivers, the IWT granted India 3.6 million acre-feet (MAF) of "permissible storage capacity," but due to poor water development projects, 2-3 MAF of water easily flows into Pakistan.
 
•    Although it appeared unfair, India gave Pakistan 80.52 percent of the total water flows in the Indus system. To help build replacement canals India gave Pakistan 83 crores.
 
•    In exchange for complete riparian rights on the eastern rivers, India gave up its upper riparian position on the western rivers.
 
•    The water from the ‘eastern rivers' was critical for the Indira Gandhi Canal in Rajasthan (which begins at the Harike Barrage, a few kilometres below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers) and the Bhakra Dam (on the Sutlej River in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh), without which both Punjab and Rajasthan would be left dry, severely limiting India's food production.
 
•    The World Bank, as a third party, was instrumental in the development of the IWT.
 
Indus River
INDIA’S CHANGING OUTLOOK ON IWT
Every now and then, there is a demand in India over the suspension of the IWT as a response to Pakistan's tenacity and cross-border terrorism.
Abrogating IWT is not easy. India will have to consider of a number of politico-diplomatic and hydrological factors, as well as political consensus.
 
Terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament in 2001, Mumbai in 2008, Uri in 2016 and Pulwama in 2019 may have prompted India to withdraw from the IWT under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. India, on the other hand, chose not to do so on each occasion. It's because India values trans-boundary rivers as important connectors in terms of diplomacy and economic prosperity in the region.
 
•    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is an international treaty that governs treaties between states and was drafted by the United Nations' International Law Commission.
 
•    It was enacted in 1969 and became effective in January 1980.
 
There is an urgent need to amend the treaty in light of new hydrological realities, advanced engineering methods in dam construction, and de-siltation.
 
Article XII of the IWT states that it "may from time to time be modified," but adds, "by a duly ratified treaty concluded between the two governments for that purpose."
•    Pakistan will see no point in making any changes because it already got a good deal in 1960.
•    As a result, India's best option would be to maximise the treaty's provisions.
•    In light of recent developments on western rivers, the permissible storage capacity on those rivers must be utilised as soon as possible. Only 3034 MW of the total estimated capacity of 11406 MW of electricity that can be harnessed from Kashmir's three western rivers has been tapped thus far, which also needs to be investigated.
•    The Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum, the Ratle and Bagliha hydroelectric projects on the Chenab, and the Bursar hydroelectric project on one of the Chenab's tributaries in Jammu and Kashmir are just a few of the projects that will make full use of the western rivers' waters.
•    Bursar will be India's first project on the western rivers to include storage infrastructure once it is completed.
•    To fully utilise the waters of eastern rivers, India has accelerated work on the Shahpur Kandi dam project, a second Sutlej-Beas link in Punjab, and the Ujh Dam project in Jammu and Kashmir.

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