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‘Water survey for downstream Kotri’

August 06, 2012

THIS is with reference to the letter, ‘Water survey for downstream Kotri’ (Aug 2). The 1991 Water Apportionment Accord mentioned the need for a study to determine downstream Kotri flows. The study was conducted in 2005 which was reviewed by three international experts.

Liaquat Ali Jatoi was minister for water and power at that time. I.B. Sheikh chaired the federal flood commission, which organised the study.

The findings of the study are:

“Para VIII. 1.8 maf flows during Rabi and 1.8 maf flows during Kharif at an average of 5,000 cusecs throughout the year, which could be proportionally reduced in a dry year in relation to reduction in irrigation supplies during that year.

“A total volume of 25 maf in any five years’ period (an annual equivalent amount of five maf) to be released in a concentrated way as flood flow (Kharif period), to be adjusted according to the ruling storage in the reservoirs and the volume discharged in the four previous years.

“IX. Based on the post-Tarbela flow data the above recommendations would result in a required additional release downstream of Kotri Barrage during low flow months of 1.26 maf in an average year and 2.20 maf in a typical dry year.

This will require additional storage capacity to prevent a reduction of water availability for irrigated agriculture. Environmental flows would, as and when appropriate, be routed via upper rivers before release downstream of Kotri Barrage.”

The findings are clear that the downstream Kotri flows cannot be made available at the cost of current irrigation supplies and could only be possible if water availability increases by construction of new dams.