Rabi crops: water shortage reduced to 50 percent: Irsa
M RAFIQUE GORAYA
LAHORE (January 31 2010): The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has informed the provinces that due to abnormally low flows in the four live rivers of the country since October 2009, there would be unprecedented 50 percent shortage of irrigation water for the 2010 Rabi crops, Consultant Irrigation Punjab M H Siddiqui told Business Recorder here on Saturday.
He said Irsa which distributes water among the four provinces has told Punjab government that instead of 8 million acre feet (MAF) water, its share from the system has been reduced to 4 million acre feet (MAF) for the next two months. He said keeping in view 50 percent reduction in its water share, Punjab Irrigation is devising a new schedule of reopening of canals and distribution of water among different regions for irrigating the Rabi crops including the strategic wheat crop.
He said the canals that were to be reopened on Monday will now be opened on 5th February after reapportion of water among the provinces by Irsa next week. Meanwhile Irsa increased water outflow from Mangla dam from 6,000 to 12,000 cusecs on Saturday to meet water needs of Punjab, however it has declined to reopen the Chashma Jhelum link canal with a discharge of 5,000 cusecs water to irrigate crops in south Punjab. The issue is likely to be discussed in the next Irsa advisory meeting.
The recent rains in the upper regions of the country have slightly improved water inflows in the four rivers from 35,000 cusecs to 38,500 cusecs, Indus at Tarbela 16,400 cusecs, Kabul at Nowshera 10,600 cusecs, Jhelum at Mangla 5500 cusecs and Chenab at Marala 5,900 cusecs. Irsa is releasing 52,400 cusecs in the canals against the inflows of 38,500 cusecs, out of which Sindh is receiving 21,400 cusecs water at Guddu barrage.
After two days of rains in the upper regions of the country, the meteorological department has forecast mainly cold and dry weather over most parts of the country with mist over the plain areas of Punjab. Chief amounts of rainfall (mm) recorded during last 24 hours.
Upper Dir=51, Kalam=50, Lower Dir=45, Balakot=36, Rawalakot=35, Patan=31, Saidusharif=30,Muzaffarabad=27, Murree=26, Kotli=22, Garhidupata=20, Mianwali=19, Kakul & Islamabad=17 each, Peshawar=15, Gupis=14, Rawalpindi=13, D I Khan=11, Jhang & Bannu=10 each, Quetta=09, Sialkot & Pasni=08 each, Bhakar=07, Noorpurthar=06, Kohat=05, Zhob=04, Drosh=03 and Joharabad, Lasbela & Jehlum=02 each.
Agriculture experts say these rains will help alleviate drought conditions in the rain-fed areas of the country. Punjab government explains CJ hydro electric power project to Sindh government. Talking to newsmen Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed of PPP said he had met Sindh Irrigation Minister and clarified the actual position with regard to setting up of Hydroelectric Power at Chashma Jhelum Link Canal. This project would neither stop water nor create any problem for Sindh.
He said that observations of Sindh Assembly were based on misunderstanding and he is again ready to explain the facts to the Sindh government as this project would neither reduce Sindh’s water share or create any other problem for Sindh Province. He said there should be no ambiguity that the new hydro power station would provide electricity for the benefit of all of us.