Importance of the Indus River
- It flows from a glacier in Bokhar Chu in Tibet, at an elevation of 4,164 meters, in the Kailash Mountain range near Mansarovar Lake.
- The river runs northwest and reaches India’s Ladakh area from a point named Demchok. Once in India, the Indus flows between the Karakoram and the Ladakh ranges, but is closer to the Ladakh range.
- The river takes a sudden southwest bend at Dungti, cutting through the Ladakh range, before turning northwestern and continuing to flow towards the Leh district of Ladakh, beside the Ladakh range. After reaching Leh, the river continues northward till it reaches Batalik, a town in the Kargil area.
- At Leh, it is joined by the Zaskar River.
- At an elevation of roughly 2,700 meters, it is joined by the Shyok near Skardu.
- Other Himalayan tributaries of the Indus include the Gilgit, Gartang, Dras, Shiger, and Hunza.
- The Indus River now enters the Baltistan region through the city of Sakardu and continues to flow northwest towards the city of Gilgit. Once in Gilgit, the river takes a south bend, then swings west, and finally enters Pakistan’s northwest frontier province, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
- Near Attock, Pakistan, the Kabul River empties into the Indus River. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- The river then takes a southwesterly route and flows through the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- The river then flows across the plains of Pakistan’s western and southern Punjab provinces before continuing on to Pakistan’s Sindhu province.
- The Indus collects the collected waters of the five eastern tributaries—the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Satluj—from Panjnad (Panchnad) just above Mithankot.
- Before flowing into the Arabian Sea near Karachi, the river deposits a lot of sediments in Sindh Province and forms the Indus river delta.
Tributaries on the left and right banks:-
- Its significant left-bank tributaries include the Zaskar River, Suru River, Soan River, Jhelum River, Chenab River, Ravi River, Beas River, Satluj River, and Panjnad River.
- Its significant right-bank tributaries include the Shyok River, Gilgit River, Hunza River, Swat River, Kunnar River, Kurram River, Gomal River, and Kabul River.
- It flows across J&K’s Northern Ladakh area, rising from the Karakoram Range.
- It stretches for around 550 kilometers.
- It comes from the Rimo Glacier and is a tributary of the Indus River.
- At the Nubra River’s confluence, the river widens.
- The Shyok River forms a V-shaped bend around the south-eastern edge of the Karakoram hills.
- The Nubra River is a tributary of the
- It is the Shyok River’s principal tributary.
- It came from the Nubra Glacier, which is located in a basin east of Saltoro Kangri Peak.
- The Nubra River flows southeast to join the Shyok River at the base of the Ladakh range, downstream of Shyok Valley.
- The Nubra Valley, at an elevation of 3048 meters, is formed by the Nubra River.
- Due to the high elevation and lack of rainfall, the catchment region is devoid of vegetation and human population.
- In its path through the Ladakh area of J&K, it is a tiny right-bank tributary of the Indus River.
- Its source is the Hispar Glacier.
- At Skardu, it joins the Indus.
- The Shigar River has a fairly steep gradient as it flows down.
- Glaciers have had an impact on the entire catchment area.
- Gilgit River is a river in Gilgit, Pakistan.
- In its journey through J&K’s Ladakh area, it is a significant right-bank tributary of the Indus River.
- It comes from a glacier on the Himalayas’ far northwestern border.
- The Gilgit River’s whole catchment area is barren and arid.
- Bunji is the river’s principal human settlement.
- The principal right and left bank tributaries are Ghizar and Hunza, respectively.
- It is a significant Gilgit River left-bank tributary.
- It rises from a glacier in the northwestern portion of J&K, north of the Karakoram Range.
- It flows southeast, cutting through a beautiful valley in the Karakoram Range.
- In its middle course, the Hunza River follows a southwesterly route downstream.
- Then it cuts across a branch of the Karakoram mountain and turns southeast in its lower course until joining with the Gilgit a few miles upstream of Bunji, where the latter river empties into the Indus.
- The Zanskar River is the Indus River’s first major tributary, with a volume equivalent to or higher than the main river, and flows wholly through Ladakh, India.
- Within the Zanskar region, it starts northeast of the Great Himalayan range and drains both the Himalayas and the Zanskar Range. It runs northeast to Nimo, where it joins the Indus River.
- It is one of the Indus’ major left blank tributaries.
- There are few human settlements.
- The Chenab originates near the Bara Lacha Pass in the Zaskar Range’s Lahul-Spiti region.
- The Chenab River is formed by the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers in Tandi, Himachal Pradesh’s Lahul and Spiti District.
- It is also known as the Chandrabhaga in its upper reaches.
- It runs through J&K’s Jammu area and into Pakistan’s Punjab plains.
- According to the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan is entitled to the Chenab’s waters.
- On this river, the Baghliar Dam was built.
- Chenab Bridge, the world’s highest railway bridge, spans the river in J&K.
- It is a Chenab River tributary with a total length of 813 kilometers.
- The river Jhelum originates in a spring at Verinag, which is located at the foot of the Pir Panjal in the southeastern section of Kashmir’s valley.
- It is joined by the Kishenganga (Neelum) River, Jhelum’s main tributary.
- The Chenab and the Sutlej unite to form the Panjnad River, which flows into the Indus at Mithankot.
- Under the rules of the Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan is entitled to the waters of the Jhelum.
- It comes to a halt at the Chenab River in Pakistan.
- Its source is in the Kargil district of J&K, in Drass.
- Near the Line of Control, the Neelam River enters Pakistan and flows west till it reaches the Jhelum River.
- It is also known as the Neelam River (Neelum), either because of its freezing water or because of the precious stone “ruby (Neelam)” found in the area.
- It’s known for its icy waters and trout.
- The Ravi River rises in the Himalayan Dhauladhar range in the HP district of Chamba. Ravi is a Himachal Pradesh river that originates in the Kullu hills near the Rohtang Pass.
- It runs northwesterly and is a perennial river with a total length of around 720 kilometers.
- The Indus Waters Treaty grants India access to the Ravi River’s waters.
- The Ranjit Sagar Dam is a big multipurpose project on the river ( Thein dam as it is located in Theinvillage)
- The town of Chamba is located on the river’s right bank.
- Budhil, Tundahan Beljedi, Saho, and Siul are Ravi’s right bank tributaries, whereas Chirchind Nala is the Ravi’s left bank tributary.
- The Ujh River is a tributary of the Ravi River, which flows through the Kathua region of India’s Jammu and Kashmir union territory.
- The Ujh Multipurpose Project will be built on the River Ujh in the Kathua District of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The Shahpurkandi Dam project is located downstream of the existing Ranjit Sagar Dam on the Ravi River in Punjab’s Pathankot district.
- The Red River is another name for the Sutlej.
- It rises from Rakas Lake on the southern slopes of the Kailash Mountain near Mansarover Lake, beyond Indian borders.
- It flows south-westerly through Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Solan, Mandi, and Bilaspur districts after entering HP at Shipki La.
- It exits HP and travels through the Punjab plains to Bhakra, where the world’s biggest gravity dam, the Bhakra Nangal Dam, was built on this river.
- Under the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan, the Sutlej’s waters are allotted to India and are mostly used for power generation and irrigation, with numerous huge canals drawing water from it.
- Many hydroelectric and irrigation projects, including as the Kol Dam and the Nathpa Jhakri project, are located across the river.
- The Beas River, a major component of the Indus River System, rises from Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
- Before entering Pakistan, the river connects with the Sutlej at Hari-Ke-Pattan in Punjab.
- This river has a total length of 460 kilometers and runs through HP for 256 kilometers.
- Manali’s tourist resorts are located on the right bank of the Beas River.
1960 Indus Waters Treaty
The major Indus River, as well as the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers, make up the Indus system. The basin is primarily shared by India and Pakistan, with China and Afghanistan having a tiny share.
All of the waters of three rivers, the Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas (Eastern Rivers), were granted to India for exclusive usage by a treaty made between India and Pakistan in 1960.
While the waters of the Western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – were allotted to Pakistan, with the exception of certain household, non-consumptive, and agricultural uses allowed by the Treaty.
India has also been granted the ability to generate hydroelectricity on the Western Rivers through run-of-river (RoR) projects that are unrestricted, subject to particular design and operating conditions.
India has built the following dams to exploit the waters of the Eastern rivers that have been allotted to it for exclusive usage:
On the Satluj River, there is a dam called Bhakra Dam.
On the Beas, there are two dams: Pong and Pandoh.
On Ravi, Thein (Ranjit Sagar).
Other projects such as the Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, Indira Gandhi Nahar Project, and others have assisted India in utilizing virtually all (95%) of the waters of Eastern rivers.
However, it is reported that roughly 2 million acre feet (MAF) of water from Ravi is still flowing unutilized to Pakistan below Madhopur each year.
The following efforts have been taken to stop the flow of these waters that belong to India for use in India:
Shahpurkandi Project: This project will aid in the irrigation and power generation of J&K and Punjab by utilizing the waters flowing from the powerhouse of Thein Dam. The construction work is being carried out by the Punjab government under the supervision of the Indian government.
Ujh multifunctional project construction: This project will store water for agriculture and power generation in India on the river Ujh, a tributary of the Ravi. This project is a national project that will take 6 years to complete from the start of execution.
Below Ujh is the second Ravi Beas link: Even after the construction of Thein Dam, this project is being planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through the Ravi River by constructing a barrage across the Ravi and channeling water through a tunnel link to the Beas basin. This project has been designated as a national project by the Indian government.
The three initiatives listed above will assist India in making full use of the waters allocated to them under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.