Wednesday April 17, 2024

Water shortage in Indus rises to 40pc

The ISRA spokesman said the water deficit has increased up to 40% and the water regulator has re-adjusted the shares of the provinces accordingly

By Khalid Mustafa
May 25, 2022
Tarbela Dam. Photo: The News/File
Tarbela Dam. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: In an alarming development, the total water inflows into the country’s system here on Tuesday further plummeted to 145,000 cusecs from 157,000 cusecs just in one day, owing to which water deficit has swelled up to 40 percent from the earlier 27 percent. However, at canal heads, the provinces Punjab and Sindh are getting water supplies with shortage of 50 percent on account of conveyance losses of 10-12 percent.

More importantly, with Tarbela Dam reaching dead level on Monday, the water stored in Mangla Dam and Chashma Barrage has also plunged to just 0.191 MAF. A day before, the water level in Mangla and Chashma was at 0.221 MAF.

The ISRA spokesman, Khalid Idrees Rana, confirmed to The News that the water deficit has increased up to 40 percent and the water regulator has re-adjusted the shares of the provinces accordingly. “In Indus River, water flows have further tumbled to 66,300 cusecs, which were at 68,900 cusecs a day before mainly because of reduction in temperature in Skardu to 21 degree centigrade from 29 degree centigrade. In the first 10-15 days of the current month of May, water flows in Indus improved but now a major dip in water flows has appeared which may last for 10-12 days.”

Rana explained that both the provinces, Punjab and Sindh, are now being provided water suppkkkkkkklies with 40 percent shortage. Punjab is being given 73,000 cusecs whereas Sindh 74,000 cusecs. Balochistan is getting water supplies of 13,000 cusecs and KPK 3,000 cusecs.

Meanwhile, he said, WAPDA has revised the dead level of Tarbela Dam upward by 2 feet to 1,398 feet to ensure delta of sedimentation below water by two feet to prevent the liquefaction of the sedimentation to ensure safety of tunnels where in power turbines are installed. The most disturbing aspect of the ongoing dip is that water flows in other major rivers of Jhelum, Chenab and Kabul have also reduced substantially as in their catchment areas, temperature is not improving and it is nor raining over there which may cause an increase in flows in the wake of climate change phenomenon. The flows in Jehlum and Chenab have declined by 45 percent if compared to average flows of last 45 years. In Kabul River, flows have also plunged by 28 percent. The Met office says that water flows will increase in the last week of June.

According to the official sources, Balochistan has submitted its protest in IRSA, Senate Committee on Water Resources and National Assembly Committee on Water Resources, saying that Sindh is stealing its share of 13,000 cusecs, which IRSA is releasing. Balochistan is getting 74 percent water shortage in Pat Feeder Canal and 62 percent deficit in Kirther Canal. However, no water is being provided to Balochistan through Uch and Manutchia canals. When contacted, the IRSA spokesman offered no comments.