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In re Matter of 2013 Indus Waters Kishenganga Arbitration (India-Pakistan)
Permanent Court of Arbitration
PCA Case No. 2011-01 (2013)
To regulate the use of the shared water system that flows between India and Pakistan, the countries negotiated and signed a treaty in 1960. In 2010 Pakistan (plaintiff) sued India (defendant) in an international arbitration under the treaty to determine whether the treaty allowed India to build a new hydroelectric plant called the Kishenganga Hydro-Electric Project (KHEP) and whether the treaty required India to maintain a minimum downstream flow in the reservoir. India argued that it needed the ability to empty the reservoir and flush sediment to keep generating power effectively. Pakistan argued that India must keep a minimum flow because an empty reservoir could lead to permanent water loss that would threaten Pakistan’s water source. Pakistan also argued that the flushed sediment would create a negative downstream environmental impact. The tribunal issued a partial award holding that the KHEP project was permitted by the treaty and that India was required to maintain a minimum downstream flow. The tribunal’s final award would fix the precise rate of the minimum flow that India must maintain. Pakistan used an extensive analysis of environmental indicators, which predicted dangerous changes to the ecosystem if the minimum flow level was too low. India used a smaller study of a low water depth’s effect on three species of fish to conclude that a flow as low as 2 cubic meters of water per second (cumecs) would have no effect on the ecosystem.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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