Pakistan’s Water Apportionment Accord of 1991: 25 years and beyond

The apportionment of waters of the Indus River System between the provinces of Pakistan is widely hailed as a historic agreement. This agreement (herein referred to as the Accord) was signed into effect in 1991, just over 25 years ago. The Accord lacks a clearly stated objective and hence it is difficult to review the Accord against its objective. This paper presents a detailed thematic review of the Accord and interprets the literature and data sets that have become available over the last 25 years. Although the Accord leaves room for interpretation, which is often biased to a particular perspective, an obvious starting point that has been highlighted in the literature is to improve water accounting in the Indus basin and to clarify and document the Operating Rules. Over the next 25 years, demographic change, socioeconomic change, and climate change in the Indus Basin will place this Accord under increased scrutiny.