The Permanent Court of Arbitration at Hague has given its partial (final and binding on the issues on which it has decided) award on the India Pakistan dispute on the 330 MW Kishenganga hydropower project in Kashmir. Out of two references filed by Pakistan against the project in India, the PCA ruling is in favour of India for one (whether India can divert the waters of Kishenganga for hydropower project) and in favour of Pakistan for the other (whether India can reduce the level in the reservoir below minimum draw down level for sediment flushing). The PCA is yet to decide about the environment flows that India must release downstream from the diversion site. It would be interesting to see how PCA decides this and also about the manner of release of the flows, ideally the releases should be through a properly designed and well researched fish ladder. We will have to wait for this till the end of the year 2013. See details below.
PCA PRESS RELEASE: INDUS WATERS KISHENGANGA ARBITRATION (PAKISTAN V. INDIA)
Court of Arbitration Issues Partial Award
in First Arbitration under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960
THE HAGUE, February 19, 2013.
The Court of Arbitration constituted in the matter of the Indus Waters Kishenganga Arbitration (Pakistan v. India) has rendered a Partial Award in respect of the dispute between Pakistan and India under the Indus Waters Treaty concerning (1) the legality of the construction and operation of an Indian hydro-electric project located in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir; and (2) the permissibility under the Treaty of the depletion of the reservoirs of certain Indian hydro-electric plants below “Dead Storage Level.”1
In its Partial Award, which is final with respect to the matters decided therein, without appeal and binding on the Parties, the Court of Arbitration unanimously decided:
1. that the Kishenganga Hydro-Electric Project (KHEP) constitutes a Run-of-River Plant under the Treaty, and India may accordingly divert water from the Kishenganga/Neelum River for power generation by the KHEP in the manner envisaged.
However, when operating the KHEP, India is under an obligation to maintain a minimum flow of water in the Kishenganga/Neelum River, at a rate to be determined by the Court in a Final Award.
2. Except in the case of an unforeseen emergency, the Treaty does not permit India’s reduction below “Dead Storage Level” of the water level in the reservoirs of Run-of-River Plants located on the rivers allocated to Pakistan under the Treaty. This ruling does not
apply to Plants already in operation or under construction (whose designs have been communicated by India and not objected to by Pakistan) The Court expects to be able to render its Final Award determining the minimum flow of water India would be required to release in the Kishenganga/Neelum River by the end of 2013.
For full Partial Award of PCA dated Feb 18, 2013 and Press Release of PCA on this dated Feb 19, 2013, See: http://www.pca-cpa.org/shownews.asp?nws_id=351&pag_id=1261&ac=view