Kharif faces 48pc water shortage

ISLAMABAD – The water shortage for Kharif season has reached to 48 percent however on the pressure of the provinces IRSA’s advisory committee declared 42 percent water shortagefor early Kharif season, instead of earlier 31 percent forecast.

In the meeting of the IRSA’s advisory committee the water regulatory authority has presented a grim picture about the water availability for the Kharif season and predicted a shortage of 48 percent, however the provinces insisted that the situation may get better in the coming days, official source told The Nation.

Due to provincial pressure the advisory committee has announced a water shortage of 42 percent. The Irsa Advisory committee which met on March 29 had projected 31 per cent water shortages in early Kharif season but water shortage has further increased.

To review the water situation for Kharif crops, an emergency meeting of Indus River System Authority (Irsa) advisory committee was held here with Ahmed Kamal in the chair.

The meeting was attended by Members Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab chief engineer hydrology Wapda and director metrological department.

Meanwhile talking to the media spokesman for the IRSA, Khalid Rana, said that Punjab has objected on heavy losses from Taunsa to Kotri barrages and a committee has been constituted to probe discharges from barrages.

The losses from these two barrages-Taunsa and Kotri stood at about 1 Million Acre Feet (MAF), he said. A committee was formed under chairmanship of director operation IRSA with directors’ regulation Punjab and Sindh as members to measure discharges at Guddu and other barrages of country, Rana said. The water shortage has hit the crops producing provinces-Sindh and Punjab as it is posing serious threats to sowing Kharif crops.

The Irsa spokesperson Khalid Rana said that it was observed during that water inflows remained 15 percent below the earlier anticipation. The water inflows in rivers had been anticipated at 9.32 MAF but actual inflows were 7.9 MAF which were 15 per cent less.

He said that Sindh was facing 53 per cent water shortages whereas Punjab was facing 47 per cent water shortage . The representative of Metrological department informed the participants of the meeting that there was no change in present situation and monsoon situation would be predicted in mid of June.

However, Wapda officials said that there had been reported 50 percent less snow in catchments. The spokesperson further said that country was now mainly dependent on monsoon.

He added that Irsa would again review water situation in mid June after issuance of monsoon predictions by metrological department.

All members once again emphasized on construction of new dams.

Following complaint of Balochistan. Sindh agreed to take immediate steps to overcome shortages in Balochistan.

Keeping in view the present rain spell IRSA had changed the regulation and had increased provincial shares. The water shares of Punjab province had been increased from 56000  to 64000 cusecs, Sindh from 43000 to 55000 cusecs. The shares of Balochistan stands at 5000 and  KP 3100 cusecs. The water storage in two major reservoirs -Tarbela and Mangla had reached dead level several times due to less water inflows in rivers.

The water crisis has not only caused threat to Kharif crops but it also led to drop in hydel generation to alarming level causing series of load shedding across the country.