Islamabad - The secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the Indus Waters Treaty took place in Washington where the parties agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September.

The secretary-level discussions between India and Pakistan on the technical issues on the Indus Waters Treaty took place this week in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation, the World Bank said in a brief statement issued at the conclusion of the talks. “The parties have agreed to continue discussions and reconvene in September in Washington, DC,” said the statement.

Secretary Water and Power Yousaf Naseem Khokhar led the Pakistani delegation, which included technical experts while Secretary Ministry of Water Resources Dr Amarjit Singh headed the Indian delegation.

The secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India for resolving two controversial hydropower projects, including Kishanganga hydro electric project and Ratle hydro electric project were held.

Earlier, the talks were scheduled for April 11-13 but these were postponed.

In March, former minister for power and water Khawaja Asif had told newsmen that after the US intervention, the secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India for resolving two controversial hydropower projects, including Kishanganga hydro electric project(330MW) and under-construction Ratle hydro electric project(850MW) in occupied Jammu and Kashmir will be held in Washington next month. “The US has intervened and decided to help both the countries in resolving the issue. There will be secretary-level talks on the Ratle and Kishanganga hydropower projects between both the countries in Washington on April 11-13 2017,” the minister had said.

Pakistan has serious reservations over the designs of both projects and believes that these projects would concede India to impede the water flow to the country. 

About the controversial Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects, Pakistan is seeking International Court of Arbitration (ICA) through the World Bank while India insists to resolve the issue through neutral experts. Under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), New Delhi has to share all the details of any hydropower project on the rivers on which Pakistan has water rights under the IWT with Islamabad. However, no design of these projects has been shared with Pakistan which is violation of the treaty.

The proposed Kishanganga hydroelectric project is located in occupied Jammu and Kashmir on River Neelum. The design envisages the construction of 180.5 meter long and 35.48 meter high concrete dam. The full pondage capacity is 18.35 MCM(0.0061MAF).

As per the official documents, the detailed information about Run-of-River project was received from India on June 25 2006. Pakistan raised objections under the provisions of Indus Waters Treaty 1960 and were sent to India in August 2006. Mainly, Pakistan has objections on pondage, sediment outlet, type of spillway and placement of power intakes.

For example, India proposed pondage is 6120 acre feet (7.55 Mm3) while Pakistan has proposed 811 acre feet (1.0 Million Cubic metre Mm3). Similarly, India has proposed Orifice Spillway with Crest placed 20m (65.6 ft) below normal pool however Pakistan raised objections over the structure and instead proposed surface gated spillway with crest level 10 m(64.0 ft) below normal pool level at 2380 m.

Regarding intake crest elevation, India proposed 2378.8m amsl and Pakistan rejected the same proposed surface intake with crest at2382.8m amsl i.e. crest is to be raised by 4m (13.1 ft).

Similarly, there is also disagreement over capacity above spillway crest or controllable storage. India proposed it should be 14,836 acre feet (18.3Mm3) however Pakistan proposed 11,000 acre feet (13.5 Mm3). 

Similarly, Ratle Hydro Power project is located on the main Chenab River about 55 Km upstream of 900MW Baglihar Hydropower project. It has the installed capacity of 850MW. It has a concrete gravity dam with height of 111m. Gross capacity of the reservoir is 78.71 Mm3 (Million Cubic Meters) or 64,000 acre feet. The capacity of the operating pool (pondage) is 23.86 mm3 or 19,300 acre feet. It has an orifice spillway with five gates of 10.75m (width) and 14.2m (height); the spillway crest has an elevation of 985.0m amsl with storage above spillway crest of 61.2mm3 or 50,000 acre feet.

According to official documents, the design of the project was received from India on August 29, 2012 and Pakistan communicated its objection on November 26, 2012. Pakistan objected to the design of the Ratle project as it believed the Indian design of the project would reduce Chenab flows by 40 per cent at Head Marala.

Pakistan has objections to Ratle’s freeboard, pondage, spillway and intake crest elevation. India has proposed Freeboard of 2 meter, however, Pakistan has raised objections and said that it should be one metre, India proposed pondage of 19,300 acre feet (23.8 million cubic metre) but Pakistan wants it should be a maximum of eight million cubic metres. India has proposed orifice spillway with crest placed 44 M (144.4ft) below normal pool level but Pakistan proposed Surface gated spillway with crest level 19.5 m(64.0ft) below normal pool level. Similarly, Pakistan proposed that intake level should be at 8.8 metre.