Balochistan accuses Sindh of not releasing its water share

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By Khalid Mustafa

Balochistan has become the first victim of the ongoing water deficit in the country as it is not being provided its share of 3,000 cusecs per day.

This startling disclosure came to the surface when the aggrieved province submitted its complaint with the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Monday, revealing that Sindh has stopped releasing its share of 3,000 cusecs in Pat Feeder owing to which agriculture in the affected federating unit will be affected.

In a letter, the secretary irrigation and power of Balochistan informed the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) that the Sindh government had halted its share of 3,000 cusecs per day in Pat Feeder. The Irsa intervention was sought by the province.

Spokesman of IrsaMohammada Khalid Rana confirmed the development, saying the regulator will take up the issue of Balochistan as it is releasing its share from Indus River but as per the assertion of Balochistan, its share is not being supplied by Sindh in Pat Feeder.

If the situation is the same as mentioned in the letter of the Balochistan government, the water regulator has no option but to swing into action against the Sindh irrigation and power department. However, first the matter would be probed and responsibility would be fixed. To a question, he said that Irsa is responsible of ensuring the water share to every federating unit.

Under the Water Apportionment Accord 1991, small federating units — Balochistan and KP will never face water shortages or complete cut of their share even if the country experiences water deficit. In case of water deficit, Sindh and Punjab will sustain the losses in their shares.

“We have finalised the shares of the provinces under which Sindh’s share currently stands at 10,000 cusces per day, Punjab’s 18,000 cusecs, Balochistan 3,000 cusecs and KP 3,000 cusecs. And under the new scenario, if Balochistan’s assertion is right, it means Sindh is factually using 13,000 cusecs per day instead of its share of 10,000 cusecs per day.”

To a question, the Irsa spokesman says the ongoing scattered rains will not help increase the water flow in the country’s rivers as these are the rains of low intensity. However, the snowfall in the northern areas and Gilgit-Balochistan will help accelerate the water flow in the month of March when the mercury will go up.

Under this scenario, Irsa still deems that stored water in both Mangla, Tarbela dams will reach their dead levels as there are no indications of substantial rains in the country.  To a question, he said that in the month of March, the country will receive water flows in Jehlum, Chenab and Kabul as the said rivers are early water risers. Rana stressed that if the country gets normal pattern of rains in the February-March period, then the water flows in Pakistan’s rivers will improve.

He said that as of today, the provinces experienced water deficit of 12 percent against the estimated water scarcity of 17 percent. “However, in case of no rain, the projected water deficit of 17 percent will surge by up to 25 percent.”

So far Irsa was required to provide 18 million acre feet of water to all the four provinces, but they have been provided 19 MAF of water with an increase of 1 million acre feet of water.

Irsa had anticipated the water inflows as of today 10.993 MAF during the ongoing Rabi season, but factually the system has received inflows of 10.609 MAF, which is very close to anticipation.courtesy www.thenews.com

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