PWC protests over extra water releases for power generation

May 14, 2013

Punjab Water Council (PWC)
Punjab Water Council (PWC)

Punjab Water Council (PWC) has strongly protested over the unscheduled release of river water from the Tarbela and Mangla dams for generating electricity. Irsa is releasing 35,000 cusecs downstream the Tarbela dam and 44,000 cusecs off Mangla dam for hydel power generation and irrigation purposes.

Talking to us on Monday, President Punjab Water Council Hamid Malhi said this act is a clear violation of the operation criteria under the Indus Basin Water Treaty of 1960, which ensured water supplies to the deprived areas of the three eastern rivers of Ravi, Beas & Sutlej (which were given to India) by building these dams.

He said Wapda operates the dams on behalf of Irsa and has no legal authority to change the priorities of their operation. Wapda should rather concentrate to reduce its line losses, electricity theft and other impediments to ensure availability of electricity.

Malhi said the IPPs and other thermal and gas generation projects could be funded in light of the failure of Wapda Vision-2025. The Vision which has proved to be an ill planned document and all small dams constructed hardly generate a meaningful contribution to the national grid and are sufficient proof of the mismanagement and ill planning of Wapda.

He demanded that instead of assisting Wapda, Irsa should also protest against this theft of the vital input for agriculture, being the protector and manager of the water rights of the provinces. Who is responsible for the loss to the farmer and how will he be compensated? It was not a national emergency, which could only be avoided through release of stored water only but could also have been addressed by providing gas or oil to the power houses, which are otherwise shut and encashment capacity payments for free. Business Recorder

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