Evaluation of Water Distribution System and Reservoir Ranking in Indus River Basin: A Hydro-Political Perspective


The main objective of this thesis is the development of methodologies that promote development, harmony and cooperation in place of violence and conflict in transboundary rivers basin. Its objectives in particular are: (1) to understand the complexity of water systems, water conflict management and the role of three enabling conditions for resolving the interprovincial water conflicts in Pakistan’s Indus Basin, (2) to investigate the problems of the water systems in Pakistan, hydro-politics in Pakistan’s Indus Basin and water crisis in Pakistan, (3) development of methods which would ensure equitable water and benefit allocation in inter-provincial transboundary river basins using bankruptcy rules, proposed rules, weighted bankruptcy rules and NASH bargaining solution for the surface water allocation in Pakistan and (4) to apply a Fuzzy AHP- TOPSIS Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis for ranking Reservoir Systems in Pakistan. The above-mentioned methods have been applied for the case study of the Indus River which is the largest river of Pakistan and is shared by the four administrative units (provinces) of Pakistan namely Baluchistan, Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The thesis starts (first chapter) with in-depth discussion of the three enabling conditions which represents the pattern of interactions in the negotiated resolution of conflicts in the Interprovincial water distribution amongst the provinces of Pakistan. It also presents an in-depth review of water resources situation in Pakistan (second chapter); the challenges met by the water sector and likely remedial measures to overcome this issue and guarantee sustainable irrigated agriculture in Pakistan. Among the several factors identified, the issue of equitable water allocation, the lack of environmental flows and the need for new storage reservoirs were identified as the most conflictive issues among the provinces of Pakistan.

As the thesis lays emphasis on the issues related to transboundary river basins, the second part of the thesis (fourth, fifth and sixth chapters) discusses different mechanisms for the fair water allocation among the provinces of Pakistan using the Bankruptcy rules, Weighted Bankruptcy Rules and Nash Bargaining Solution. Apart from bankruptcy rules, two new rules are also proposed for the allocation of water among the riparian (agent). These rules are applied for the water resource allocation problem and distribution of water in Pakistan and also present a new method to compare and contrast the water allocation rules. The results show that proposed ‘Groundwater based Rule’ has the lowest dispersion and is the most suitable allocation rule. The UN Water courses Convention 1997, in its article 6 has various factors which are concerned with the equitable distribution of the water resources. In case of the water resources which are shared among two or more riparian (agent), we have to consider these factors. A new methodology has also been described in this thesis for the scarce water allocation using weighted bankruptcy approach under stochastic settings. In ‘weighted bankruptcy’ approach, the claims of the riparian (agent) can be assigned different weights as per their socio-ecological factors. Results show that the allocation of the provinces increase with the increase in agricultural productivity. A new framework for the allocation of water among the provinces of Pakistan has been proposed which synthesizes the Nash bargaining solution concept with the bankruptcy theory to resolve supply-demand conflicts in the Indus basin among four provinces within Pakistan. The water required for the environmental flows has also been considered in the process of water allocation. Results show that moving from the non-cooperative approach of Bankruptcy to the cooperative approach of Nash results in 6.2% increase in the total monetary benefit. It also shows that the water allocation approaches proposed by the authors may help in negotiations and have a great potential to help solving conflict and dispute over river resources allocation problems in transboundary river basins.

The ranking of the reservoirs in Pakistan is also an important decision and it has a vital impact on the sustainability of the region and the economic operation of the reservoir. The reservoirs ranking is a vital problem which involves multi-criteria decision-making. The framework proposed in the third part of the thesis (seventh chapter) involves Fuzzy AHP-TOPSIS method for the ranking of reservoirs in Pakistan. Potential feasible locations are identified from the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Pakistan. Weight calculation for the criteria is done by the fuzzy AHP method which is a multi-criteria decision-making method.

In order to model the fuzziness, equivocacy, incomplete knowledge and ambiguity, the fuzzy AHP is used. Furthermore, in order to rank the selected reservoirs based on their performance, the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) is applied, which is a multicriteria decision making method. We demonstrate the application of above-mentioned methods to the case study of the Indus Reservoir system in Pakistan. A decision support tool is provided for the decision makers in this thesis to manage, evaluate and rank the planned reservoirs in the Indus River. Results show that Diamer-Basha is the most feasible option and Kalabagh Dam is the least preferable option due to latter’s collapse in terms of political, security and legality criteria. The analyses also show that the overall ranking of reservoirs location fluctuates when the sensitivity analysis is performed.

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