San Diego International Law Journal

Document Type



The principle of equitable utilization and the doctrine of equitable apportionment are regarded highly in customary international law for the apportionment of transboundary river waters between upper and lower riparian states. In this regard, the Indus Waters Treaty is an excellent example of the pragmatic implementation of the principle of equitable utilization, as well as of the principles of equity and justice. The treaty allottedthree eastern rivers to India and three western rivers to Pakistan in an attempt to equitably divide the shared Indus River basin and its five tributaries between the neighboring countries. However, India has now expressed an eagerness to modify the Indus Waters Treaty as it wants to gain a higher water share of the western rivers for its hydropower projects. Pakistan has not accepted Indian calls to modify the treaty because it considers Indian demands for a higher share of the western rivers as inequitable and unjust in nature. Furthermore, Pakistan is already receiving an insufficient flow of waters in its western rivers and negligible water flow from the eastern rivers; it cannot forgo more water to India as this could be detrimental to its agricultural economy.