The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has downgraded projected water shortage for Rabi crops 2013-14 from 15 percent to 7 percent during the months of February and March as water availability in the dams and the rivers has improved considerably.
Punjab Canal Regulator and Consultant, M.H.Siddiqui, told Business Recorder here on Friday that in addition to the running water in the four live rivers of the country, 4.6 million acre ft water was still available in Tarbela and Mangla dams and Chashma reservoir for growing and maturing crops including wheat, grams, lentils, oilseeds, vegetables, fodder and orchards etc in February and March.
2.434 MAF water is available in Tarbela dam on river Indus, 2.094 MAF in Mangla dam on river Jhelum and 0.079 MAF in Chashma barrage, he added. Siddiqui said Punjab Irrigation department has been running canals in central Punjab by drawing 20,000 cusecs water from the Mangla dam and 7,300 cusecs run of the river Chenab water, yet it will open canals emanating from river Indus on 5th February 2014.
He said since the repairs work of the Qadirabad Barrage on the river Chenab and Balloki headwork on the river Ravi is still going on, the irrigation canals taking off from these water regulators would be opened on 5th February to supply water to the districts of Okara, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar to water the crops.
According to January 31 rivers flows and reservoirs level report of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), IRSA is releasing about 70,000 cusecs water in the water ways across the country against the inflow of 36,000 cusecs at the rim stations of the river Indus 14,300 cusecs, river Kabul 8600 cusecs, Jhelum 7,000 and Chenab 7,300 cusecs.
Meanwhile Meteorological department has said that 3 to 4 spells of winter rain/ snowfall are expected during the month of February 2014.The first spell is likely to occur during the first week of February, barani areas of wheat crop may receive good rain during the period.