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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research was informed on Wednesday that water shortage for the upcoming rabi crop season is expected to be around 40 per cent due to below average rainfall during the recent monsoon season.

Briefing the committee on current water situation in mega water reservoirs, Indus River System Authority (Irsa) Chairman Sher Zaman Khan said the situation is expected to improve a little with shortage reducing towards the end of year when a good amount of rainfall is anticipated.

Khan said a final analysis of Mangla and Tarbela dams will be given after meetings of advisory and technical committees of Irsa.

Committee Chairman Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah asked Khan about the availability of water situation during rabi season so that farmers could be advised accordingly to adjust their cultivation area.

Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah said that against the target of 14 million cotton bales, estimated production stood at 10.5m bales — a shortfall of 3.5m.

Major loss was witnessed in Sindh with a shortfall of 31pc as against 5pc in Punjab whose relatively better performance was attributed to the use of underground water for cotton.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018