Parliamentary Panel recommendations on water agreement with China

Parliamentary panel, in its report before Lok Sabha observed that, India is not having any water treaty with China. However, both the nations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) on Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers.

Key Points

  • MoUs on Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers will be in force for five years. MoUs are renewed regularly.
  • According to panel, Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) is also in place between India and China to ensuring cooperation with respect to provision of hydrological data by China in flood season, emergency management and other issues related to trans-border rivers.
  • Panel expressed satisfaction over China sharing hydrological data of Brahmaputra and Sutlej River on payment basis. It was only in 2017 when no data was supplied by it amid the 73-day Doklam stand-off between both the countries.
  • Panel expressed its apprehension regarding run-of-the-river projects by China as such projects could not lead to diversion of waters but there is every possibility that water can be stored in pondages and released for running turbines. This in turn could create diurnal variation in downstream flow, impacting water flow in Brahmaputra River.
  • As a result, committee recommends India to constantly monitor Chinese actions to ensure that they do not pursue any major interventions on Brahmaputra River.

Background

According to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), three hydropower projects have been approved by Chinese authorities on main stream of Brahmaputra River, in Tibet Autonomous Region. Apart from that, Chinese authorities declared a hydropower project at Zangmu as operational in October 2015.

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