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August 4, 2018

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Tarbela, Mangla dams face 45pc water storing deficit

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan alarmingly, so far, braves 45 per cent deficit in the water stored in both the Tarbela and Mangla dams as the said reservoirs currently have 6.3 million acres feet (MAF) in them as against 11.7MAF water deposited in the same period last year.

Though water level in Tarbela and Mangla dams has slightly improved, but still the critical situation is not averted, top sources in Water Ministry told The News arguing : “We are expecting another monsoon starting from coming Sunday which may help improve the water situation in the country and but again it depends upon the intensity of the next spell.”

Last year monsoon ended by August 15 and if the current situation continues to hover, they said, then Punjab and Sindh will have to face 50-60 per cent water shortage during the Rabi season as the available water in the dams will be consumed for maturity of Khraif crops.

Under the scenario when the country has appalling water situation, water losses have surged up to 10.4MAF against the estimated loss of 08MAF. The officials disclosed that provinces--Punjab and Sindh-- have reported the water loss of 10.4MAF which is more than the live storage capacity of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

In Pakistan Rivers, normal flows in these days usually stand at 70.3 MAF, but this time by July 31, flows in rivers stood at 52.7MAF showing the massive dip in flows by 25 per cent. The official said the ever minimum flows in rivers are registered at 50.5 MAF which is close to the 52.7 MAF flows recorded on July 31, 2018.

To a question, they said that average water level in Tarbela dam stands at 1519 feet and the same level the reservoirs currently has. However, Mangla has 1,150 feet water level against its average level of 1,207 feet.

This means that Punjab will sustain the huge hit as in Chenab-Jhelum zone, 13 million acre feet of water will not be available for the province which is the food basket of the whole country. “For Rabi season (winter season), they argued, there will be mammoth shortage of water for Punjab province.

When asked if the authorities will be able to have some carryover in dams for Rabi season, they said it depends upon the next spell of monsoon.

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