ISLAMABAD – The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) sees more than 30 percent water shortage during Rabi season as water supply from Mangla reservoir to Punjab has restarted.
With current inflows in the rivers and the reservoir level, it is most likely that the shortage for the Rabi season will be above 30 percent which is much higher than the earlier anticipated shortage of 20 percent, a source in Irsa told The Nation. The Punjab intends the release of 10,000 cusecs of water on October 29. It will be further increased to 20,000 cusecs while on 31st it will be enhanced to 30,000 cusecs.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier Punjab has requested the Irsa for the closure of all its canals, except Thal and Upper Jhelum Canal, from October 16 till the end of the current month. Earlier this week, power generation and water outflow came to halt from Mangla Dam after the Irsa has reduced the indent from the reservoir to zero. Supply from the Mangla reservoir has been discontinued on the request of Punjab Irrigation Department.
Last month, Irsa advisory committee has forecasted around 20 percent water shortagefor the Rabi season; however, the rivers flows were far lesser than the forecast. During the first 20 days of Rabi season (October 1 to 20) the flows in rivers were 21 percent less than the average flows of the past 10 years. The average flows received, during past 10 years, were 3.7 MAF. However, this year the flows reduced to 2.94 MAF, the source said. The total average anticipation in Indus, Kabul, Jhelum, and Chenab was 3.675 MAF but the actual inflows of 2.943 MAF were received, the source said.
The Irsa has convened a meeting on October 31 to discuss the water situation in the country, the source said. The meeting will discuss the water availability situation during the first month of Rabi season and will suggest future course of action. Then a meeting of the Irsa advisory committee is also likely to be convened in the first week of November to upward revise the water shortage for the Rabi season , the source said.
The release of water from Mangla will have a positive impact on the hydel power generation and will increase the ratio of hydroelectricity in the national energy mix.
On Friday the flows in River Indus at Tarbela were 29,300 cusecs and outflows 35,000 cusecs, flows in Kabul at Nowshera were 3,800 cusecs and outflows 3,800 cusecs, inflows in Jhelum at Mangla were 5,900 cusecs and outflows were 5,900 cusecs, inflows in Chenab at Marala were 9,700 cusecs and outflows 1,700 cusecs. Against the minimum operating level 1,380 feet, Tarbela present level is 1,481.85 feet. The maximum conservation level of the dam is 1,550 feet. Similarly, Mangla minimum operating level is 1,040 feet, and present level 1,182.90 feet. The maximum conservation level of Mangla is 1,242 feet. Chashma present level 639.30 feet against its minimum operating level of 637 feet and maximum conservation level 649 feet.