The ongoing water dispute between Pakistan and India has once again challenged the initiation of the peace process between the two neighbouring states. The construction, by India, of the Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project, which is in violation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) 1960, has forced Pakistan to approach the International Court of Arbitration (ICA). Since the debate in question is legal in nature, it is imperative to delve into the law that governs this particular situation. In this respect, an analysis of both the IWT and other international norms is required. However, before moving on to that, one needs to look at the entire scenario to determine how the concerned law is being violated. The Kishenganga River, which upon entering Pakistan is known as the Neelum River, originates from Indian Held Kashmir and flows through Gurez Valley to join Jhelum River near Muzaffarabad at Domail in Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). The Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project that is being constructed in the Indian Held Kashmir involves the building of a dam in Gurez Valley and a 22km long tunnel, which will eventually cause a diversion of the Kishenganga River. This diversion will change the course of the Neelam River before it joins the Jhelum River near Muzaffarabad; the site where Pakistans indigenously built Neelum-Jhelum Hydel Project (NJHP) is situated. In any case, the construction of Kishenganga Dam is in violation of Article III(4) of the IWT, which places an obligation on India not to construct any storage projects on the Western Rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum). This is because Pakistan enjoys exclusive rights to use the waters of these rivers under the provisions of the Treaty. Moving on, the Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project can affect the NJHP as its power generation capacity will reduce drastically. It is feared that this diversion of the Kishenganga River will reduce the flow of water in the River Neelum. This change will certainly endanger the viability of the NJHP by causing a 21 percent shortfall in flow of Neelum River. The diversion of Kishen-ganga River is also in violation of Article III(2) of the IWT, which prohibits India from undertaking any man-made obstruction that may cause a change in the volume of the normal flow of Western Rivers. In this context, Pakistan, for the second time, is seeking a resolution of the issue through arbitration. Annexure G of the IWT confers upon the parties a right to take a dispute to the ICA as a last resort. Previously, the World Bank, on Pakistans persistence, appointed a neutral expert under Annexure F of the Treaty to resolve the issue of the Baglihar Dam; a project that was constructed by India on River Chenab. Unfortunately, the outcome of the case was not in Pakistans favour. Having discussed the IWT, it is now important to look at the different international norms that cater to the situation. The Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers 1966, formulated by the International Law Association (ILA), and the second report on the Uses of International Watercourse 1986, drafted by the International Law Commission (ILC), prohibit co-riparian states (states through which or along a portion of a river flows) from altering the flow of an international watercourse in a way that can cause harm to another state. Furthermore, the International Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses-1997 (ICLNUIW), also states that the riparian countries (states bordering the same transboundary waters) have the right to use their water resources in a way so as not to damage the other riparian states. This law has been approved by the UN General Assembly. Article V of the ICLNUIW talks about the equitable and reasonable utilisation of water, keeping in mind the interests of other states, while Article VII places an obligation on states not to cause significant harm to other watercourse states. Moreover, the construction of the Kishenganga Dam has become a major threat to the environment of Jammu and Kashmir. The Gurez Valley is rich in natural beauty. The forests and meadows of the valley are home to a wide range of flora and wildlife. The project threatens to destroy the entire valley with its forests and meadows. This deforestation can eventually and drastically affect the climate of the region causing a change in the weather patterns that can result in severe droughts, floods and widespread disruption of natural ecosystem. Hence, the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Helsinkis Convention 1992) needs to be considered. The convention requires states to strengthen their national measures for the protection and ecologically sound management of trans-boundary surface waters and groundwater. Article II(2)(d) of the Convention, in particular, obliges states to take all appropriate measures to ensure the conservation, protection and restoration of ecosystem. Although, Pakistan and India have not ratified the Treaty, there is a responsibility on these states (as these norms are also part of the customary international law that have a persuasive authority) to formulate effective measures to protect their respective ecosystems. However, it is evident from the above discussion that Indias actions on the water issue have become a serious cause of concern for the Government of Pakistan. The prolonged Kishenganga quagmire should be a lesson to the government not to delay matters when it comes to infringement by India of the IWT. As Pakistan has approached the ICA to find a solution for the seemingly irresolvable situation, this time around we can hope for a resolution that will not compromise either partys interest. The writer is a research associate at the Research Society of International Law (RSIL), Pakistan. Email: info@rsilpak.org