This hydroelectric project, set for completion later this year, is the source of a design dispute between India and Pakistan.


Even as India moves to complete by this fall a planned 45-MW hydroelectric project on the Indus River, it still faces objections from neighboring Pakistan to the structure's design and to the award of U.N. carbon credits.

Water has been a source of tension between the two warring neighbors since the countries were partitioned in 1947, but now Pakistan could take its issues over the Nimoo-Bazgo Hydroelectric Plant to an international court.

In the latest dispute, Naveed Qamar, Pakistan’s minister for water and power, raised objections to the design at last month's Indus River Commission meeting, citing the violation of a watershed treaty between Pakistan and India that dates to 1960.

Under the signed treaty, which comprehends the use and distribution of the combined waters of the rivers flowing between the two countries, India has rights to the waters of the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas rivers, while Pakistan has rights to the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum waterways.

Of the five dams planned in the area by India, Nimoo-Bazgo is now under construction by the government-owned National Hydro Power Corp. in the country's Jammu and Kashmir state. The concrete gravity dam is 57 meters tall.

Pakistan's design objections to the Nimoo-Bazgo relate to openings in the solid parapet wall at the dam's crest level, design of the structure's gated spillways and its depth.

Pakistan claims the Nimoo-Bazgo and the planned Chutak project, located on a tributary of the Indus river, are blocking 35,000 million acre-feet of river-water flow. Last year, the country asked the Indian government to install a monitoring system to assess the water level and flows on the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers, where hydropower and irrigation projects are planned.

Pakistan has said it will take the dispute to the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, in a few months. It also questions a United Nations' award, under the Kyoto Protocols, to India of carbon credits for the Nimoo-Bazgo and Chutak projects.

Indian officials say they are reviewing Pakistan's objections.