ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water Resources was informed on Wednesday that Sindh was being deprived of 46 per cent of its water share in Punjab (between Taunsa and Guddu barrages) and Balochistan was losing almost 84pc of its share in Sindh.
This was the crux of a meeting of the standing committee presided over by MNA Muhammad Yousaf Talpur, who attributed the water loss in Punjab to theft and recommended that water distribution among the provinces should be in line with para-2 of the 1991 accord in all circumstances instead of a three-tier formula adopted by the water regulator to address the shortage.
MNA Khalid Magsi, who headed a subcommittee appointed by the NA standing committee, reported after a field visit and measurement monitoring that trust deficit among the provinces was the most critical issue at present when it came to measurement of water discharges at different stations, particularly Taunsa, Guddu and Sukkur barrages.
Mr Magsi said that despite the use of state-of-the-art hydrological measurement system — Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) — trusted all over the world, the provinces, particularly Punjab and Sindh, were changing positions depending on their respective locations and raising suspicions and objections. He particularly mentioned that the subcommittee measured 37,000 cusecs of water at Guddu while Sindh was reporting it at 47,000 cusecs. However, Punjab objected to these measurements.
On the other hand, it was reported that Balochistan was getting 84pc less water out of its share allocated by the Indus River System Authority (Irsa).
Sindh representatives, however, claimed that Irsa’s allocation to Balochistan was incorrect and Sindh could not ensure those quantities to Balochistan when Sindh itself was not getting its approved share.
Yousaf Talpur asked the irrigation ministers of Sindh and Balochistan to hold a meeting with their respective members in Irsa and provincial irrigation authorities to find a solution. Irsa’s Punjab member demanded that ADCP’s measurement be referred to an international expert to conclude why distortions crop up. He said the matter relating to water distribution in case of shortages was pending with the CCI.
Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2022