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International water issues

No agreements have been established with China for the sharing of water resources. A joint commission for the exploitation of the Kosi river was set up with India in 1954 and 1966, and another for the exploitation of the Gandak river in 1959. In 1996 a treaty on the Mahakali river was ratified by parliament. The treaty makes provision for equal entitlement in the utilization of water from the Mahakali river without prejudice to respective existing consumptive uses.

In September 2008, the third meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) took place, to resolve pending issues and facilitate the mitigation of flood problems along the Nepal-India border and to enhance bilateral cooperation in the water sector. The Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project was identified as a priority and JCWR reviewed the current status of discussions on issues related to location of the regulating dam, unit size and installed capacity of the power plants, assessment of project benefits in terms of irrigation and power to India and Nepal and sharing of the project cost by the two sides. JCWR is setting up a Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) at the earliest, in accordance with Article 10 of the Mahakali Treaty for the development, execution and operation of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.

In December 2008, the first meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Standing Technical Committee (JSTC) was held. During the above-mentioned third meeting of JCWR a three-tier joint mechanism was decided upon to expedite the decision-making process and implementation of decisions undertaken at the institutional interactions. Whereas a Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources would be headed by the Ministers of Water Resources of India and Nepal, a Joint Standing Technical Committee was formed to rationalize technical committees and subcommittees in India and Nepal that work on flood management, inundation problems and flood forecasting activities besides project specific committees on hydropower. The JSTC will be coordinating all technical committees and subcommittees under JCWR.

The fourth meeting of JCWR was held in March 2009 to discuss the issues of water resources development projects, further strengthening the ties between the two countries. India and Nepal hoped that the works on the breach closure of the Kosi barrage would be completed in time with the cooperation of the two governments. Nepal informed on the demands of local people for the maintenance and rehabilitation of Main Gandak Western Canal and flood control structures. To date, no noticeable progress has been made concerning these demands. India informed that short-term measures have already been implemented.


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