Pakistan Agriculture News

Provinces likely to face 30pc water shortage in Rabi

ISLAMABAD –  The provinces are likely to face up to 30 percent water shortage, against the early forecast of 20 percent, during Rabi season, it is learnt reliably here.

In a letter, Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has asked the provinces to make their contingency plan for the Rabi season as the shortage is likely to reach from 25 to 30 percent during the Rabi season, official source told The Nation here Thursday. The Irsa is going to convene the meeting of the provinces during first week of November to ponder the water situations in the rivers and reservoirs and will upward revise the water shortage during Rabi Season, the source said.

According to the Punjab’s estimates, the water shortage during Rabi will be likely 22 percent while according to Sindh it will be around 21 percent. However, the meeting of the Irsa’s advisory committee, held on 29 September, estimated that Punjab and Sindh will face up to 20 percent water shortage during Rabi season. The meeting estimated the total water availability of 29.48 million acre feet (MAF) including 24 MAF from river flows and about 7.8 MAF currently stored in two reservoirs. The advisory committee allocated 1.9 MAF for Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Similarly, the meeting also allocated 0.1 MAF for the Kachhi canal, and as a result, Baluchistan would get 1.23 MAF during Rabi against the share of 1.02 MAF. KP would get 714,000 MAF, Punjab 15.72 MAF and Sindh would get 11.90 MAF, while the remaining water will be distributed among Punjab and Sindh, he said. Balochistan and KP were exempted from cuts in the share; the water shortage would be distributed between Sindh and Punjab.

The Water Accord 1991 empowered the Irsa to determine water availability in the country and allocating provincial share twice a year, once for Kharif season and the other for Rabi season. Rabi season starts from October 1 and Kharif starts from April 1. Due to dry season the condition of water availability in the reservoirs and rivers has further deteriorated. The water shortage is caused by less than anticipated flow in Jhelum and Kabul River and early drawdown from the reservoirs. The water flows in Jhelum is considerably less from the anticipated flows while the river flows in River Kabul were also considerably lower than the anticipated flows.

According to the daily water report issued by Irsa on Thursday, river Indus at Tarbela Inflows were 40,500 cusecs and outflows 65,000 cusecs, Kabul at Nowshera inflows 5,600 cusecs and outflows 5,600 cusecs, Jhelum at Mangla inflows 6,000 cusecs and outflows 35,000 cusecs, Chenab at Marala inflows 16,600 cusecs and outflows 4,000 cusecs. Similarly, the present level of Tarbella is 1486.39 feet against minimum operating level of Tarbella 1,380 feet. Mangla present level is 1,188.10 feet against the maximum conservation level 1,242 feet. While Chashma present level is 641.30 feet against the maximum conservation level of 649 feet.

Source The Nation