Haripur farmers face water shortage

Published June 12, 2021
A view of the Kharbara Dam in Ghazi. — Dawn
A view of the Kharbara Dam in Ghazi. — Dawn

HARIPUR: The dry spell persisting for the last few months has caused scarcity of irrigation water across the district, as almost all local small dams are nearing the dead level, official sources and farmers told this correspondent on Friday.

They said that the water shortage had exposed the orchards and standing crops spread over hundreds of acres to damage.

They said that like other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the weather conditions in Haripur district had also witnessed changes reducing the rainfall to minimum during last few months.

As a result, the water availability in the rain-fed small and large dams was badly affected, resulting in lesser supply of irrigation water to the farmers.

Water in small dams nearing dead level

Haripur district has two large dams namely Tarbela and Khanpur and three small irrigation dams.

From Tarbela Dam, according to official sources, not a single inch of agricultural land was irrigated as the area had an elevation against the dam’s structure. However, a vast area of 35,000 acres of agricultural land of Haripur was irrigated from two canals of Khanpur Dam. Another 3,000 acres of land were irrigated from Kahl, Chitri and Kharbara dams.

According to sub-divisional officer irrigation, Haripur, Mohammad Shoaib the dry spell had reduced the irrigation water supply to the beneficiaries to one-fourth of the approved share.

Sharing data of inflow of water in Khanpur Dam released by the dam authorities on Thursday, he said the inflow had dropped to 42.24 cf3/s (cubic feet per second) from last year’s 1,12.70 cubic feet per second and the reservoir’s level had touched 1,932.18ft against last year’s level of 1,978.5ft.

The Khanpur Dam has the maximum conservation level of 1,982ft and dead level of 1,910ft.

He said that water in Kharbara small dam in Ghazi, Chitri Dam and Kahl Dam was also touching the minimum conservation level forcing the authorities to reduce supply to the farmers.

He said the Kahl Dam had 7ft of water storage left from the dead level and the daily discharge for irrigation purposes was cut to seven cusecs. Chitri Dam was left with only 3ft of water above the dead level and the water discharge for farming communities was reduced to only three cusecs. Kharbara Dam has 8ft of water left above the dead level and the supply that was reduced to eight cusecs during last few days had been stopped for the protection of fisheries and dam structure.

“Our orchardsand standing crops of maize and vegetables are badly affected as the required water supply from Kharbara Dam is not available,” said Qalandar Khan, a farmer in Ghazi.

According to official statistics, Haripur district has a total irrigated area of 32,789 hectares besides 52,282 hectares of rain-fed area.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021

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