Early Kharif season: Irsa foresees 10 percent water shortage

Indus Water Regulatory Authority (Irsa) has projected up to 10 percent water shortage in early Kharif season starting from April 1, 2013 against 21 percent shortage of last year. However, there will be no shortage in late Kharif season. These estimates were finalised by the technical committee of Irsa, which met here on Monday, and projected that 110 Million Acre Feet (MAF) water would be available for Kharif crops. 

“The country may face water shortage of 5 to 10 percent in early Kharif season starting from April 1 due to rise in temperatures in the Himalayas, making more water available for irrigation and hydropower generation,” the sources quoted the committee as saying in its calculations. 

Official said that Irsa’s advisory committee was scheduled to meet on March 29 to decide the final distribution of water between provinces for Kharif crops. The Irsa’s technical committee assessed that Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs would be filled during upcoming Kharif season and therefore no water shortage was expected in late Kharif. “We have carry forward water stock of 1 to 1.5 MAF in reservoirs as 0.6 MAF in Mangla and 0.6 MAF in Tarbela and Chashma reservoirs,” official said. He said that Punjab province had demanded to open Chashma-Jhehlum link canal, however, the committee said that this issue should be tabled before Irsa’s advisory committee for decision. 

Punjab also demanded to keep water losses on higher side and Sindh demanded to maintain them on lower side. The technical committee also decided to place this issue before Irsa’s advisory body scheduled to meet on March 29. During last kharif season, the river system regulator’s technical committee had projected 21 percent water shortage in early Kharif season from the start of April 2012 due to slow snow melting and water in Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs had come to the dead level. Owing to shortage of water, the Irsa had asked provinces to delay crop plantations by April 15, 2012 till snow melting, leading to increased water flow into rivers. 

During the meeting, Sindh said that country would face water system losses by 40 percent in upcoming kharif season whereas Irsa argued that they would remain at 20 percent. Punjab also supported the stance of Irsa and said that 20 percent water losses will be in upcoming kharif season. Final determination would be made by Irsa advisory body on March 29.These losses include water theft and distribution losses due to system. “However, we are providing water to provinces with zero shortage for recent Rabbi crops and we are hopeful that there would be no shortage of water in late upcoming Kharif season,” Irsa official said. 

Glaciers usually start melting in March and provide enough water for upcoming crops. Adequate water availability for Kharif crops would be good news for growers of Sindh and Punjab. Cotton, sugarcane and rice are the major crops. According to an official statement as on March 25, water level in Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs stood at 1406.73 and 1101.60 feet against the dead level at 1,378 feet and 1,040 feet, respectively. Water flow into Tarbela was 37,000 cusecs against outflow of 20,000 cusecs. 

In Mangla, the inflow was 38,000 cusecs against outflow of 35000 cusecs. In last Kharif season, water level in Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs stood at the dead level of 1,378 feet and 1,040 feet, respectively. Water flow into Tarbela was 24,000 cusecs against outflow of 23,300 cusecs. In Mangla, the inflow was 25,500 cusecs against outflow of 26,400 cusecs. 

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

Muhammad Ramzan Rafique
Muhammad Ramzan Rafique

I am from a small town Chichawatni, Sahiwal, Punjab , Pakistan, studied from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, on my mission to explore world I am in Denmark these days..

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