SUKKUR: Two members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources and irrigation officials from Sindh and Punjab on Saturday visited the Guddu Barrage and some closed canals to study the ongoing water crisis amid claims of uneven water distribution among provinces.
The visit comes as acute water shortages coupled with a searing heatwave have sparked grave concerns in South Punjab and Sindh, with tensions building between the two provinces over their share of the nation’s water resources as demand far outstrips supply.
According to a report received from Guddu Barrage, located on Indus River near Kashmore, the officials who visited the site on Saturday included members of the standing committee MNA Khalid Magsi from Balochistan, MNA Riyazud Din from Punjab, manager of Sindh water commission Mehr Ali Shah and another official from Punjab.
Later, Mr Magsi told media persons that there was a technical dispute between Punjab and Sindh, and the visit — made on the request of Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah — was part of the effort to find common ground and address the water crisis immediately.
Mr Magsi said the country’s water crisis mainly stemmed from less rain and slow glacial melting.
Elaborating on the interprovincial dispute, he said while Punjab was releasing the stored water on time, Sindh insisted that it wasn’t receiving its due share to irrigate lands properly.
The lawmaker said objections could be raised in normal circumstances, but in the current situation, when water was not coming from the upper side and the system was completely disturbed, “we would have to come up with a new mechanism to address the issue”.
On concerns that water was being stolen from rivers when it was released for Sindh, he said the NA committee was looking into the matter.
Mr Magsi said it was Punjab’s duty to release Sindh’s share of water and stop its theft within its jurisdiction. Besides, no one should interfere with how Sindh distributes water from Guddu Barrage to tail-end areas.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022