Monday February 26, 2024

Sindh lawmakers express concern over Irsa water distribution

October 13, 2018

Islamabad : Lawmakers from the Sindh province on Thursday expressed their serious concern over the Indus River System Authority (Irsa)’s water distribution among the provinces. They said that ‘mutual trust among the provinces is eroding as during the previous season, the province was hard hit by low water supply for their crops.

Senator Sassui Palijo and Senator Syed Muzzafar Hussain Shah expressed these views regarding state of water supply to the province by the authority in a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources held here with Senator Shamim Afridi in the chair.

Irsa Chairman Sher Zaman Khan said that in Rabi and Kharif seasons, water is distributed according to its availability in the system. He said that CJ Canal and Thal Canal are not flood water canals. No injustice is being done with anyone in water distribution.

Senator Sassui Palijo said that might be we from small provinces are fool, and we don’t know regarding water regulations. If the case was too simple, then why it was referred to the Council of Common Interests (CCI)? Palijo asked. On water distribution, “mutual trust among the provinces is eroding,” Senator Palijo said.

In previous season, Sindh province faced acute shortage of water. If you compare Punjab and Sindh, crops’ yield in Sindh is low. Despite reservation of the Sindh, Punjab was being supplied water from flood water canal. She alleged that the regulatory bodies are violating the water distribution accord among the provinces. “If you kill someone thirsty, then law and order situation would definitely emerge there,” she said. Irsa official said that for Rabi season (Oct-March) 23 million acre feet (MAF) of water would be available, with a shortage of 1.41MAF.

Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah said that the Indus Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 is being not followed for water distribution. Under this accord, 10MAF of water supposed to be released downside of the Kotri Barrage. Had even five million acre feet of water been released, the situation in Sindh would have been better, Shah said. Since in Kharif season (April-September), water shortage for Sindh was 35 per cent, now give us advice us that what we should tell our farmers, Shah asked the Irsa officials.

Irsa officials said that the provincial agriculture department can explain this as we had decided the provincial share and is being provided to the province. Senator Shah asked for distribution of water under the water accord of 1991, and below Kotri, 10MAF of water should be released as to mitigate the losses in Sindh. He also said that Wapda telemetry system was also giving accurate readings.

Senator Yousaf Badini said that water distribution issue between Sindh and Balochistan should be resolved with mutual understanding. He added that concrete steps should be taken for controlling the stealing of water share of Balochistan. Provincial coordinator of Balochistan Bashir Tareen said that Balochistan government would build Naulong dam in district Jhal Magsi and they are making its PC-I. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to finance it.