ISLAMABAD – The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on Wednesday upward revised the water shortage and anticipated that provinces will face 36 percent shortage during Rabi season instead of the early forecast of 20 percent.
The Irsa’s advisory committee has anticipated that the country will receive 23.96 MAF against the early estimation of 29.48 MAF, said Irsa spokesperson Khalid Rana while talking to media persons after the meeting of the committee. The emergency meeting of the committee was convened to review the water availability situation in the country. The meeting was presided over by Irsa Chairman Sherzaman and was attended by Irsa provincial member, officials of Wapda, provincial irrigation department and other officials concerned.
The Irsa spokesperson said that Sindh, Punjab and Wapda have submitted their working paper regarding the water availability in the reservoirs and rivers. The advisory committee reviewed the data and forecasted that the water shortage for the Rabiseason will be 36 percent.
Earlier, the advisory committee estimated that Punjab and Sindh will face up to 20 percent water shortage for upcoming Rabi season . It was 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. Earlier, the advisory committee allocated 1.90 MAF for Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Balochistan would get 1.2 MAF, while KP would get 0.70 MAF. Punjab will get 15.72 MAF and Sindh would get 11.90 MAF.
During October, the rivers have received 4.1 MAF water which was 17 percent less than the earlier anticipation of 4.9 MAF, he said. Rana said that the currents flows in rivers are 46,000 cusecs which is 20 percent less than the earlier anticipation. Similarly, the water in reservoir is 5.9 MAF which is 30 percent less than the forecast. The anticipated water availability in the rim stations will be 12.4 MAF, and the losses are going to be around 1.7 MAF, he added.
The provinces have already received 7.3 MAF water during the first month of Rabiseason which is 16 percent less than the anticipation. The sowing season in Sindh has started while in Punjab it’s going to start during the current week, he maintained. Rana said, “Now it has been estimated that the country will receive 23.94 MAF water against the earlier anticipation of 29.48 MAF.” Since Balochistan and KP were exempted from cuts in the share, the water shortage would be distributed between Sindh and Punjab. Both Balochistan and KP is going to get their full share of 1.9 MAF and the remaining water will be distributed between Punjab and Sindh. Since the provinces have already utilised 7.3 MAF of its allocated water; therefore, the remaining water the provinces will receive is 16.68 MAF water during the remaining five months of the Rabi season .
In view of the new estimates, Punjab will get 12.6 MAF water against the earlier allocation of 15.72 MAF while Sindh will get 9.5 MAF against the allocation of 11.9 MAF. He said that last year they have a carryover of 10.5 MAF from the Kharif season but during current year the carryover was 8.5 MAF which was 2 MAF less.
The Water Accord 1991 empowered the Irsa to determine water availability in the country and allocate 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.
Replying a query, he said the carryover from Kharif was less as water was released to Sindh and Punjab to save the Kharif crops. He further said that during the meeting both Punjab and Sindh have requested to provide full share during the wheat sowing seasonand adjust the 36 percent shortage during the remaining months of the season .
Source The Nation