Tarbela Dam touches dead level

Our Correspondent
May 24, 2022

Total water inflows in the system further went down by 11.46 per cent to 156,000 cases from 177,100 cusecs in the ongoing dip in just one day

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The Tarbela Dam. Photo: The Water and Power Development Authority website

ISLAMABAD: The Tarbela Dam again reached the dead level on Monday mainly because the second dip in water flows has struck the country’s water system. This is the second time in the last four months that the reservoir has reached the dead level of 1,389 feet.

Total water inflows in the system further went down by 11.46 per cent to 156,000 cases from 177,100 cusecs in the ongoing dip in just one day, putting the cotton sowing in Punjab and other crops in jeopardy. However, water flows in the Indus River at Tarbela plunged by 16.79 per cent to 68,900 cusecs recorded on Monday from 82,800 cusecs registered on Sunday. Right now, lower parts of Sindh, Cholistan of south Punjab and Balochistan are facing a drought-like situation and further cut in inflows will aggravate the water situation in the said areas.

The dam first came on the run of the river in February 2022 and remained at dead level in March and April. However, in the first 10-12 days of May, water flows in the Indus River improved, but in the wake of massive increase in irrigation needs of Punjab coupled with growth in demand for drinking requirements in Sindh, water withdrawals have increased from the Tarbela Dam.

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The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) earlier managed to store 0.3 MAF water which has been released to provinces, ISRA spokesman Khalid Idrees Rana told The News.

The water availability situation has also worsened as water flows in Jhelum and Chenab Rivers have also reduced by 45 per cent as compared to average flows in the last 45 years. Both the rivers have shown unprecedented behaviour in their history as at this point in time, the Jhelum River used to have 60,000-65,000 cusecs per day, which has drastically dwindled to 32,100 cusecs per day. And in the Chenab River, water flows used to be at 34,000-35,000 cusecs, which have reduced to 26,300 cusecs.

At the Mangla Dam, water inflows stand at 32,100 cusses whereas outflows are at 34,000 cusecs. In dam, the stored water stands at just 0.181 MAF. As far as water flows in the Kabul River are concerned, there is a reduction of 28 per cent in water flows with inflows at 29,000 cusecs.

For the last 3-4 years, Pakistan has been experiencing huge fluctuation with reduction in water flows because of the climate change phenomenon. The total inflows in the country’s water system stand at 156,000 cusecs whereas the outflows are at 168,000 cusecs.

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