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May 18, 2021

Irsa says Punjab, Sindh to equally share water shortages

 
May 18, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on Monday said it will ensure that water shortages are shared equally by the Punjab and Sindh with the rift on distribution having remerged.

Irsa said it is distributing water strictly in accordance with the share of provinces as per three-tier formula. “Irsa will ensure that shortages are shared equally by Punjab and Sindh by the end of early Kharif season, 10th June, 2021,” Irsa said in a statement.

The National Assembly’s standing committee on water is scheduled to meet this week to address complaints of Sindh about water shortage in the lower riparian province. Irsa said a dip was experienced in river Indus from 27th April o 5th May and during the period both Tarbela and Chashma touched dead levels. After 6th May, the water situation is continuously improving.

“On Sindh’s request supply downstream Chashma has been increased by 5,000 cusecs, raising from 66,000 cusecs to 71,000 cusecs today (Monday),” Irsa said.

As of Monday, Irsa said Punjab and Sindh are experiencing 18 percent shortages each. “The increase and decrease in discharges on the request of a province is a routine matter in Irsa in accordance with the water availability,” it added.

Sindh said Irsa opened the Chashma-Jehlum and Taunsa-Punjnad link canals and that led to 43 percent water shortages in Kotri barrage and subsequently downstream Kotri water flows came down to only 300-400 cusecs.

Sindh government spokesman, while talking to The News, said that reduction in water releases have also resulted into water shortages, making the Sindh government unable to provide water to the dwellers of Badin, Thatta, Sajawal and Tharparkar.

Sindh government spokesman said the downstream Kotri releases have been reduced to 300-400 cusecs. Downstream water releases should be at 10 million acres feet every year and according to the international panel of experts, downstream water releases should stay at 5,000 cusecs every day to avoid sea intrusion, he said.

IRSA Advisory Committee in a last month meeting approved the water availability criteria for summer crops with an average shortage of 16 percent in early kharif and 4 percent in late kharif.

In the meeting, all the provinces, including Sindh, agreed that the expected shortage was manageable with efficient water application and distribution practices. The distribution of provincial shares was as per the three tier formula to which Sindh also agreed.

IRSA decided to implement water sharing afresh by increasing Sindh’s share at Chashma barrage downstream. This was managed by reducing Punjab canal withdrawals at Taunsa and Panjnad Barrages to facilitate Sindh.