J&K Can’t use its water – Why?

Image Courtesy - wikipedia

By Roarke

Ever thought despite having such huge water potential why power is still a matter of concern for the state? We live in a place which is endowed with abundant supply of water resources, then why can we not exploit its water potential? Why J&K purchases power from the northern grid?

The reason is Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

Indus water was basically framed to maintain cordial relations with Pakistan, but is a hindrance in the state’s economy. The treaty was made to solve the problems between two raged countries. Once the partition took place, it was obvious that the issue of distributing water will definitely come to picture. Regardless of having more than 20,000 MWs of hydroelectric potential, we cannot harness even 10% of what is available to us. Due to which we have to purchase power from the Central government’s northern grid. The main points which need to be understood about IWT are:

  • As per the terms of IWT, six rivers were taken into consideration and classified into “eastern rivers” and “western rivers”. In which the western rivers are Indus, Jhelum and Chenab whereas Sutlej, Beas and Ravi falls under the category of eastern rivers.
  • The water from the western rivers were decided to be used by Pakistan and the eastern rivers water potential was supposed to be exploited by India. Sadly, due to IWT, the rivers that flows through India first, have their origin in the Indian basins,  even then the scope of Jammu & Kashmir using this water from western rivers is guided by ways that do not suit the requirements of our state of J&K. The Jhelum, Chenab and Indus Rivers all flow through Jammu and Kashmir, yet under the IWT the state must seek permission from Indus water commissioners before making any dam or barrage for irrigation or other purposes.



  • It can pave way for the industrialization in the state.
  • Storage facilities could be developed due to the improved hydro-electric potential.
  • Agriculture sector can be boosted with improved irrigation facilities.
  • Employment opportunities in the state will be increased which means minimal external inference in state matters.
  • It will help state to fetch more private investments, pushing the state’s position on India’s investment chart.


  • As of now , the Indus Water Treaty is a requirement to peaceful India-Pakistan relations and thus abrogation of the treaty might lead to sour relationship between the two neighbouring countries.


  • Earlier, J&K government had hired a private firm, M/S Halcrow India Limited to assess the losses which have occurred on the state due to the Indus Water Treaty. And according to their estimate J&K is suffering an annual loss of about 6000 crore rupees based on the benefits which are denied to the state under IWT for storing or diverting water for irrigation requirements. Further adding, it was reported that every year J&K spends around 3600 crore rupees to fulfil its growing power demand which is met by the northern grid.
  • Out of the total power that can be produced using the available resources, J&K produces only 23% of its requirement.

India could have built more projects in the state even under the stringent conditions and restrictive  clauses that have been imposed on us due to the Indus Water Treaty.

Image Courtesy – wikipedia

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