Hydel power generation: provinces refuse to release water from dams
December 05, 2012
M RAFIQUE GORAYA
The four provinces have refused to allow the Federal government to release water from Tarbela and Mangla dams for hydel power generation during the yearly month-long canal closures across the country beginning from December 26, for essential de-silting purpose, Punjab Irrigation engineers told BR here on Tuesday.
They said as of December 04 only 4.8 MAF water has been left in Tarbela (2. 419 MAF) and Mangla (2.421 MAF) dams for sowing, growing and maturing winter crops including wheat, oil seeds, grams, mustards, barleys, sunflower, vegetables and fodder till March 31, 2013. This available quantity of water is nearly 20 short of the irrigation needs of the FY 2012-13 winter crops.
They said the problems before the Federal and provincial governments is: can the nation afford to release water for power generation in the month of December/January and risk the drastic reduction in the production of staple food wheat and other strategic Rabi crops. It may be added that hydel power generation drops to about 1000 MW from maximum of 6,500 during the annual canal closure plunging the country in 18 hours loadshedding. They said that presently Irsa is releasing 99,000 cusecs water, 69,000 cusecs from Tarbela dam and 30,000 cusecs from Mangla dam to produce around 3,500 MW electricity besides irrigating the crops.