Irsa stops extra water releases from dams
October 01, 2011: Indus River System Authority (Irsa) stopped on Friday extra water releases from Tarbela and Mangla dams. Flood Forecasting Centre told Business Recorder that Irsa reduced water releases downstream the Tarbela dam from 92,000 to 64,300 cusecs, which was more or less the run of the Indus river water.
Similarly it has reduced water releases from Mangla dam to save water for sowing and maturing the Rabi crops including wheat, grams, lentils, canola, oilseeds, vegetables, fodder for livestock etc. Energy sector experts told this scribe that reduction in run of the rivers’ water and outflows from the dams would further bring down the hydel power generation by about 1,500 MW taking the overall shortfall to 7,000 MW. Till Thursday, hydel power houses at Tarbela, Mangla, Ghazi Barotha, Warsak and Chashma were contributing 6,400 MW of cheap electricity to the national grid.
It may be added that the Ministry of Water and Power had four days ago called upon Irsa to release extra water from the reservoirs for the purpose of power generation when run of the rivers water in Indus and Jhelum had sharply decreased though none of the four provinces had asked for more irrigation water at this stage of the Kharif crops which are almost ripe for harvesting.
Energy experts said that it is high time that Pepco resolve the lingering problem of circular debt with PSO and the Independent Power Producers who had reduced their power generation by about 1,500 MW due to non-payment of dues of billions of rupees. They said that hydel power houses had been contributing about 40 percent inexpensive electricity to the Pepco’s national grid during the outgoing monsoon season. However with the setting in of winter season, the water flows in the rivers would fall to the nominal reducing the total daily hydel power generation to 1,000 to 1,500 MW.
They said that Pepco did not have sufficient supply of gas and furnace oil to run its thermal power houses. The reduction in water flows in the rivers and dams would also bring several hydel power units to a grinding halt plunging the country in an acute shortage of energy during winter. A Pepco spokesman told newsmen that Pepco’s hydel, thermal, IPPs and RPPs power houses generated 12,531 MW of electricity against the demand of 17,900 MW leaving a shortfall of 5,369 MW during the past twenty four hours.