ISLAMABAD: Despite hot and humid weather conditions, hopes for a heavy downpour were dashed on Saturday as some parts of the twin cities received only sprinkling amid strong winds accompanied by dark clouds.
The overall precipitation in the current monsoon has been 30pc below normal. The drop in rainfall mainly in Murree and AJK has led to the water shortfall in Mangla and Simly dams.
The officials concerned have termed the situation severe and alarming, especially as the monsoon season is coming to an end in about two weeks and there are no predictions of any significant rainfall in the coming days.
The Met Office is likely to issue an ‘alarm note’ to the planning commission, ministry of food security, and all four provinces to be cautious about water shortages, especially during the upcoming ‘Rabi’ season.
Overall precipitation in current monsoon is 30pc below normal, Met Office says
“There is a need to monitor the impact of climate change based on these data,” said an official of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, adding the overall rainfall in AJK had been 12pc below normal and 13pc less than normal in Punjab during the monsoon.
The alarm note being prepared by Met Office states that the below normal rainfall and less than normal snowfall in Murree, Bhurban and AJK had led to the reduced water flow in Mangla and Simly dams.
The situation is bleak for the federal capital as the current water level at Simly Dam is 2,294.10 feet against the maximum capacity level of 2,315 feet.
“The catchments of Simly Dam are parts of Murree, Bhurban and Galiat but these areas remained mostly dry during July and August,” the official added.
The water level is still over 65 feet below the maximum level and it is less likely that the dam will be filled in the ongoing monsoon season. The current water level at Mangla Dam is 1,176.75 feet compared to the highest level of 1,242 feet.
Water reached 1,230 feet in the first week of Sept 2017 and it was 1,236 feet during the same period in 2016. At present, inflow at Mangla Dam is 15,146 cusecs (cubic feet per seconds) which is the lowest since 2009.
Figures compiled by the Met Office show that the inflow at Mangla Dam during these days last year was 26,317 cusecs and 28,272 cusecs in 2016.
The Met Office also said the water situation was becoming serious as there had been reduced snowfall in Murree during winter 2017-18, which was only 30.4 inches during Nov, Dec 2017 and Jan Feb, March April 2018 whereas it was 68.6 inches in the winter 2016-17.
The snowfall in Rawalakot was mere nine inches in winter 2017-18 compared to 14 inches in 2016-17.
However, the hot environment conditions have aided to the water flow in Tarbela Dam which has reached its peak level of 1,550 feet due to higher melting of snow and glaciers in the western Himalayas.
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018