The provinces of Punjab and Sindh have refused to cut down their water indents from the Indus and Mangla zones so that maximum water could be stored in the two main reservoirs Tarbela and Mangla during the monsoon, it was learnt on Monday. It may be added that till 13th August 2012, only 6.4 MAF water has been stored in the reservoirs against last year’s storage of 9.3 MAF on the same date.
There is a deficit of 3 MAF water, meant for sowing winter crops including strategic staple food wheat, grams, oilseeds, vegetables, fodder, barleys, lentils, etc. Talking to this scribe, Punjab canal regulator and irrigation consultant M H Siddiqui said “our strategy is to provide required irrigation water for growing and maturing the current Kharif crops mainly cotton, sugarcane, rice, maize, fodder, etc so that their per acre yield is not compromised”.
“We are facing the same situation as wan in 2001-02 when the country faced nearly 40 percent water shortage for the Rabi crops but we still managed to achieve production targets of the vital agriculture commodities with better management of available water resources and adequate rains at appropriate times,” he added.
He said that 120,000 cusecs water was required to fill Punjab’s canal irrigation network while Sindh needs maximum 130,000 cusecs water to run its irrigation canals to the full during the monsoon season. Commenting on the present crops growth and environment, Director General Agriculture Extension Services Punjab Dr Anjum Ali said all three main crops ie cotton, rice and sugarcane, were at critical stage of their growth and maturity. Cotton had been sown over 5.8 million acres, sugarcane 1.78 million acres and paddy 3.5 million acres, he added.
Dr Ali said due to scorching heat and delay in sowing, cotton crop in less fertile areas having brackish water had come under CLCV attack. It could only be cured by more use of fertilisers and canal irrigation water, he added. He further said that rice and sugarcane were water-intensive crops, therefore, in the absence of normal monsoon rains, greater supply of ground water was required.
Rivers flows and reservoirs levels report: All the rivers are flowing below low flood level and quantity of running water is on the decrease. The water inflow in mighty Indus has fallen to 148,800 cusecs, Kabul 34,500 cusecs, in river Jhelum 20,500 cusecs and river Chenab 53,100 cusecs. The Indus River System Authority is releasing 12,000 cusecs additional water from Tarbela dam to meet water demands of the provinces.
The water availability at Guddu barrage is 175,900 cusecs at Sukkur 121,700 cusecs and at Kotri barrage 41,176 cusecs. The current monsoon rainfall has been 90 percent below normal so far in Sindh, which is being compensated by the canal irrigation water. The report said only 6.4 MAF water has been stored in the dams due to scant rains and slow snow melting in the upper regions.
Synoptic situation: Seasonal low lies over Balochistan with its trough extending eastwards. Monsoon currents are penetrating in upper parts of the country and marked seasonal low lies over Northwest Balochistan. Forecast for today: Mainly hot and humid weather is expected in most parts of the country however isolated rain/thundershower is likely in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore divisions, and Kashmir. Scattered thundershowers with isolated heavy falls is also expected over North and Northeast Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir. Isolated thundershowers may occur over South Punjab, Northeast Balochistan, Southeast Sindh and Gilgit Baltistan.