Pakistan Agriculture News, Water

Irsa likely to declare zero water shortage for early Kharif season

Indus River System Authority is likely to revise downwards the water shortage estimate in early Kharif to zero and provide Sindh its share according to Para-2 of the water accord 1991.

The rivers received more water than the forecast flows during the first ten days of Kharif season and therefore IRSA is considering revising downwards the water shortage estimate, for early Kharif season, from 14 percent to zero, official source told The Nation here Thursday.

On 2nd April, IRSA advisory committee had anticipated that during early Kharif (April 1st to June 10), the water shortage forecast is 14 percent which will decrease to 6 percent during late Kharif (June-September 30). However, the water inflow in river Indus increased by 13 percent than the anticipated during the first ten days of the Kharif season.

On 10th April, rivers inflows were recorded at 156,400 cusecs against last year’s flows of 92,600 cusecs and historic average of 115,900 cusecs. Reservoirs storage also stood at 1.185 MAF against last year of 0.143 MAF and historic average of 1.692 MAF.

The Water Accord 1991 empowered IRSA to determine water availability in the country and provincial share twice a year, once for Kharif season and the other for Rabi season.

Rabi season starts from October 1st, while Kharif starts from April 1st. Since Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were exempted from cuts in the share, the shortage in water would be distributed between Sindh and the Punjab.

Similarly, it has been also decided to meet the long standing demand of Sindh for water distribution under para-2 of the water accord 1991.

Earlier, in its 2nd April meeting, IRSA’s advisory committee had turned down Sindh’s request for water distribution as par para-2 of the 1991 water sharing accord. Sindh representative advocated sharing as par para-2 of the water apportionment accord 1991, while Punjab held the view that the present 3-tier arrangements by Irsa were very much within the ambit of the accord.

At that time Irsa had told Sindh that the issue was pending with the offices of the Attorney General for Pakistan for recommendation.

The outcome was awaited which was ultimately to be discussed and decided by Council of Common Interests (CCI) till then the existing arrangements would remain in vogue.

However, after the increased inflows in the rivers, now IRSA has asked Sindh that they can take their share through Para-2 plus losses.

Within next ten days, IRSA is likely to inform all the provinces that the water shortage for the season is zero and they can send their future intend without applying any cut.

The source said that currently the provinces are getting their full share for the cotton sowing season. Due to improve water availability situation water releases for the rice sowing will be started from May 15.

It is worth to mention here that last year Kharif due to water shortage the releases for the rice crops were started in June.