Irsa to take up water shortages for kharif on 8th

Published April 6, 2021
Pakistan may be facing about 12-19 per cent water shortage during the current kharif season despite significantly better than last year water availability. — Photo by Mohammad Asim/File
Pakistan may be facing about 12-19 per cent water shortage during the current kharif season despite significantly better than last year water availability. — Photo by Mohammad Asim/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan may be facing about 12-19 per cent water shortage during the current kharif season despite significantly better than last year water availability.

The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has convened a virtual meeting of its advisory committee on April 8 for approval of the anticipated water availability criteria for kharif. Irsa Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan, who is also member Punjab, will chair the meeting through a video-link.

A senior provincial government official said the total water availability at rim stations in the current season would range 105-109 million acre feet during kharif (April-September period). About 12-17 MAF water is anticipated to escape downstream Kotri. Taking into account conveyance losses, the total water availability for distribution among the provinces would, therefore, work out at 65-68MAF, depending on a decision of the advisory committee, the official said.

Based on these estimates provided by various stakeholders including Wapda, Irsa and provincial governments, the overall shortage during the season was anticipated at 12 to 19pc against provisions of 1991 Water Apportionment Accord. This means the water availability would be better than last kharif 2020 when the season started with a 35pc shortage.

However, two critical issues would confront the participants to decide upon and would have repercussions on the water supplies for the irrigation and resultant crops output.

First challenge for Irsa would be addressing the concerns raised by the Punjab government over 35pc losses in early kharif (April 1 to June 10) being considered for allocation of water shares. Punjab has taken the stance that system losses should not be more than 20pc unless justified through some professional study or Irsa’s technical consensus.

Even the greater challenge is the demand of the Wapda authorities that water conservation level at Tarbela dam should not be more than 1,470 feet against its maximum conservation level of 1,550-feet until June 10 in view of ongoing development works of two units of power stations T3 and T4 (Tunnel 3 & 4).

This constrains the filling potential of the dam under the technical criteria and a possible subsequent dip in river flows would hamper management of dam filling. The carryover storage in both dams at present is estimated at about 1MAF.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2021

Opinion

Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...

Editorial

11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...