INTER-DOMINION AGREEMENT, BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN, ON THE CANAL WATER DISPUTE BETWEEN EAST
AND WEST PUNJAB
4 May 1948
A dispute has arisen between the East and West Punjab Governments regarding the supply by East Punjab of water to the Central Bari
Doab and the Depalpur canals in West Punjab. The contention of the East Punjab Government is that under the Punjab Partition (Apportionment
of Assets and Liabilities) Order, 1947, and the Arbitral Award the proprietary rights in the waters of the rivers in East Punjab
vest wholly in the East Punjab Government and the West Punjab Government cannot claim any share of these waters as a right. The West
Punjab Government disputes this contention, its view being that the point has conclusively been decided in its favour by implication
by the Arbitral Award and that in accordance with international law and equity, West Punjab has a right to the waters of the East
2. The East Punjab Government has revived the flow of water into these canals on certain conditions of which two are disputed by West
Punjab. One, which arises out of the contention in paragraph 1, is the right to the levy of seigniorage charges for water and the
other is the question of the capital cost of the Madhopur Head Works and carrier channels to be taken into account.
3. The East and West Punjab Governments are anxious that this question should be settled in a spirit of goodwill and friendship. Without
prejudice to its legal rights in the matter the East Punjab Government has assured the West Punjab Government that it has no intention
suddenly to withhold water from West Punjab without giving it time to tap alternative sources. The West Punjab Government on its
part recognise the natural anxiety of the East Punjab Government to discharge the obligations to develop areas where water is scarce
and which were underdeveloped in relation to parts of West Punjab.
4. Apart, therefore, from the question of law involved, the Governments are anxious to approach the problem in a practical spirit
on the basis of the East Punjab Government progressively diminishing its supply to these canals in order to give reasonable time
to enable the West Punjab Government to-tap alternative sources.
5. The West Punjab Government has agreed to deposit immediately in the Reserve Bank such ad hoc sum as may be specified by the Prime
Minister of India. Out of this sum, that Government agrees to the immediate transfer to East Punjab Government of sum6 over which
there is no dispute. 6. After an examination by each party of the legal issues, of the method of estimating the cost of water to
be supplied by the East Punjab Government and of the technical survey of water resources and the means of using them for supply to
these canals, the two Governments agree that further meetings between their representative6 should take place.
7. The Dominion Governments of India and Pakistan accept the above terms and express the hope that a friendly solution will be reached.
| (Signed) || |
| JAWAHARLAL NEHRU |
SHAUKAT HYAT KHAN
May 4, 1948