ISLAMABAD, March 3: The unprecedented winter rains this year will leave a positive impact not only on availability of water but also on the agricultural crops.
Zafar Hussain, the executive engineer of the Small Dam Organisation (SDO)’s irrigation department, explained how most out of the 60 small dams in the Potohar region had spilled over during the winter.
By the end of February, dams were full compared to the 40 per cent estimated capacity this winter.
Mr Hussain, who is the in-charge of 10 small dams, said the water reservoirs that were to be filled by the last monsoon rains but had not, were now filled to capacity after the heavy winter rains.
“Eight small dams have spilled over out of the 10 that I am in-charge of. And there will be plenty of water for farmers or any other purpose the entire year,” he said. He explained how in 2012 the SDO was forced to curtail water supply to farmers.
According to the official, Rawal Dam had not before spilled over in winter season except once in 1985-86.
He said not only would there be no shortage of water supply to the twin cities and farmers but also the dams were fulfilling their secondary function of recharging the aquifer.
Another senior official of the SDO added: “These have been unprecedented winter rains. We have not had such heavy winter rains in the last 60 years. With the snow melt and then the monsoons this year, the Potohar region will be set for the entire year with plenty of water, especially for irrigation purposes.”
Chaudhry Qamar Zaman, the adviser to the Ministry of Defence and the author of Pakistan’s Climate Change Policy launched last week, was also optimistic about the plenty of water.
“Water availability is not going to be a problem this year with Khanpur, Simly and Rawal dams full to capacity,” said Mr Zaman, who is the former director general of the Department of Meteorology, Islamabad.
He was surprised that the winter spell brought in over 250 milimetres of rain - more than that recorded during the entire monsoon season of 2012.
“It is not just the small dams but the bigger reservoirs also have been recharged that will possibly also help meet power shortages in the country,” said the expert on climate change.
“The winter rains have been wonderful. At least shortage of water is not going to be a major concern this year,” said Omar Raja, a small farmer of wheat in Kalar Syedan.