LAHORE: To the concern of other provinces, Sindh continues to report exceptional water losses between Taunsa and Guddu during the ongoing Rabi season as it refuses to allow observation of real water flows by other federating units.

Data available with the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) shows that Sindh’s irrigation authorities reported on an average 35.15 per cent water loss between Taunsa and Panjnad barrages (last head works on Indus and Chenab rivers, respectively) in Punjab, and downstream Guddu barrage in Sindh during the first 20 days of January this year.

The minimum reported loss was 6pc reported on Jan 7 and the maximum 63pc after a week on Jan 14. During eight days between Jan 12 and 19, the water losses remained above 45pc as per the data.

Likewise, between Nov 10 and Dec 10, 2021, the water loss in Sindh was reported in the range between 39 and 47pc. Contrary to it, Punjab reported water losses less than 10pc during all this period, well under the permissible limit set by the federal river water regulating authority, Irsa.

The province refuses to allow observation of real water flows by other federating units

Worried at the exceptionally higher water losses reported by Sindh, Punjab has reacted to it and demanded in a communiqué to Irsa that it should act swiftly “to cater for the loss of water to save the water rights of other province”.

The letter written to the Irsa chief engineer (operations) by the director of Indus Waters Treaty & Regulation, Punjab Irrigation Department, on Monday (Jan 4) demanded three steps to handle the situation:

a) Isra should immediately depute its teams at these sites for actual discharge observation/measurement;

b) Losses in Indus zone should be taken as zero initially, until the actual discharge measurement is not being done;

c) The extra reported losses other than permissible losses should be accounted for in the respective provincial water account.

It also sought that the authority should expedite the matter of discharge observation/measurement with the International

Water Management Institute (as third party audit) so that rights of other provinces be protected by controlling these unaccounted losses.

It may be mentioned that the Sindh irrigation team visited Taunsa barrage on Nov 17 to cross-check the water discharge data from the well-head reported by Punjab and found it to be 42,418 cusecs, slightly less (0.5pc) than Punjab’s reports of 42,622 cusecs.

However, when the Punjab irrigation team visited Guddu to cross-check Sindh’s data, it was disallowed entry to the observation point at the barrage.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2022

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