The water shortage in Sindh and Punjab has risen to 32% after the flow of water in the rivers in the country decreased and the water level in Mangla and Tarbela dams reached almost dead level.
According to the report, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) said that it had taken an overall look at the water situation, which resulted in a water shortage of 32 per cent instead of 23 per cent in the country’s two largest provinces.
The authority said that the positive thing is that the water temperature in the Indus River has started rising and has reached 26.1 degrees.
The Meteorological Department told IRSA that the temperature is likely to rise further and the flow of water in the river is likely to improve in the next 48 to 72 hours due to melting snow.
IRSA spokesman Khalid Idrees Rana, however, said that due to the limited availability of water and reduction in the flow of water in the river, it was necessary to further reduce the water share of the provinces.
Water supply to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will not be reduced.
Irsa had estimated a water shortage of 10% for the initial period of the Kharif crop, but the temperature did not rise in the northern parts of the country and the flow of water in the rivers decreased.
Irsa said that after a 32% reduction, the share of water in Punjab has been reduced to 83,000 cusecs and in Sindh to 74,000 cusecs.
The authority also identified the eight headworks and barrages where independent inspectors would be posted with the consent of IRSA members from Sindh and Punjab for monitoring water discharge.
Irsa had decided to appoint inspectors a few days ago, which was also ratified by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water Resources after the Prime Minister.
Sindh listed five barrages for independent monitoring, including Jinnah Headworks, Chashma Barrage, Taunsa Headworks, Trimo and Panjnad Barrages, while Punjab proposed three stations – Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri Barrages.
IRSA has decided to hold a joint meeting with the provincial secretaries of irrigation on May 31 in which the terms of reference and standard procedure of inspectors will be finalized.
It has been decided that the decision of fully independent inspectors may not be feasible for a short period of time and for immediate operations the services of WAPDA officials will be sought through the Ministry of Water Resources, funding will be provided by IRSA.
On the other hand, Irsa briefed the PTI members in the Sindh Assembly on the overall water situation.
The IRSA chairman told the provincial representatives that the provinces under paragraph 14 (d) of the 1991 Water Sharing Agreement could use the water allocated by IRSA at will.