Retrieved from: CNN
“China and India need to reach agreement on how they will manage water from one of the world’s great rivers — the Yarlung-Zangbo-Brahmaputra — before it becomes another serious impediment to relations between the two Asian heavyweights.
“Water scarcity already affects large parts of China and India. As their populations grow and income levels rise, forcing up demand for water-intensive food such as meat, the supply situation will worsen. Inevitably, that means tension over water resources.
“There is a regional precedent for a bilateral water treaty: bitter rivals India and Pakistan, under prodding from the World Bank, signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 to cover water use from the Indus and five other rivers that flow through the two nations. While far from perfect, the treaty has given farmers and other users in both countries a framework on which they can make crop production and hydropower decisions.
“Already, China’s construction of a 540-megawatt hydropower dam on the Yarlung-Zangbo, which flows for 1,700 kilometers (1,050 miles) across the southern Tibetan plateau before it enters Indian territory and becomes the Brahmaputra, is cause for concern in New Delhi. The dam, known as the Zangmu, is due for completion in 2015.
“While the Zangmu dam is a relatively small project, there is something much bigger on the horizon: a 38,000-megawatt dam at Motuo, near the river’s “Great Bend,” which potentially could reduce the volume of water flowing into India and Bangladesh. While China maintains that any dams it builds on its part of the river will have little downstream impact, up to 150 million people living in eastern India and Bangladesh could be affected.
“Almost half the world’s population — the 3.5 billion people living in Central, South and East Asia — relies on water from the great rivers that rise in the Himalayas, the Tibetan plateau, and the Tibetan ethnic areas of China.”
Read more: CNN