ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: With water shortage estimated at 19 per cent, the Indus River System Authority has convened a meeting of its advisory committee on Tuesday to finalise provincial water distribution plan for the Rabi crop season commencing on Oct 1.

To be presided over by Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, the chairman of Irsa, the meeting will be attended by Irsa members, provincial irrigation secretaries and representatives of Wapda and Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Informed sources said the advisory committee would review water availability estimates approved by Irsa’s technical committee and consider its recommendations for the Water Distribution Plan for Rabi 2012-13 in accordance with provincial requirements.

The sources said that while Tarbela Dam was now full to capacity, there was no likelihood of the filling of Mangla Dam where water storage stood about 36 feet below its maximum conservation level on Monday. During the next six days, the water storage at Mangla could reach 1,212 feet against its maximum conservation level of 1,240 feet.

Irsa will also consider a demand from the Balochistan government for supply of 200,000 cusecs of water in addition to its share as compensation for lower supplies in the outgoing Kharif season.

According to the working paper prepared for the meeting, Irsa has estimated an overall shortage of about 19 per cent for the Rabi crop. It has estimated a total water availability of 31.60 million acres feet (MAF) for the entire season. This is based on estimated river flows of 20.82 MAF and 10.78 MAF of carry-over storage in major reservoirs.

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