The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has warned that shortage of water will plummet to 30 to 35 percent if the situation persists for over a week.
On Monday, Irsa rang alarm bells of worsening water shortage. According to Irsa’s data, the national river flows on Monday dropped to 223,000 cusecs from 456,000 cusecs on June 13, a drop of over 50 percent. The biggest plunge was recorded in River Indus, from 225,000 cusecs to 97,800 cusecs.
Irsa spokesman Khalid Idrees Rana said, “Irsa has started drawing additional water from both Tarbela and Mangla dams, compromising their filling prospects, but has not started passing on the shortage to the provinces,” he added but it can only hold this additional supply for the next 10 days. If the situation does not improve by then, the whole country would have to suffer.
Against these inflows, Irsa is supplying 273,100 cusecs nationally (107,000 cusecs to Punjab, 149,000 to Sindh, 14,000 to Balochistan and 3,100 to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) without slashing the provincial share. For this purpose, it is maintaining 155,000 cusecs release from Tarbela and has increased Mangla release from 25,000 cusecs to 55,000 cusecs.
Sindh accuses Irsa, federal govt for water shortage
Sindh has been facing 27 percent shortage of water due to unjustified share by federal government. These views were expressed by Sindh Irrigation Minister, Sohail Anwar Siyal.
“There is an overall drop. Not only Indus, but River Kabul also dropped from 80,000 cusecs to 42,000 cusecs, Chenab from 60,000 to 34,000 cusecs during the last week and Jhelum from 78,400 to 48,400 cusecs,” laments an official of the irrigation department.
He further said the Mangla drawdown meant that the trouble for Punjab would extend to the entire next year. “The situation is already bad at the dam because of earlier additional releases. Against a planned level of 1,208.65 feet (4.895 million acre feet [MAF]), the lake is standing at 1,153.5 feet (1.922 MAF) – a difference 55.15 feet. With additional drawdown at the end of June, when the lake should have been filled by 80pc, its level would fall by that amount – a real disaster for provincial agriculture,” he says.
“Trouble is that Tarbela lake cannot be emptied more than four feet a day (or 155,000 cusecs) without risking its banks caving in, so naturally additional water has to come from Mangla Dam.” explained Rana.