October 1, 2019: Advisory Committee of Indus River System Authority on Tuesday forecast 15 per cent water shortage for Rabi season while during the last season 2018-19, the provinces faced 32 per cent shortage.
The committee met with IRSA chairman Sher Zaman in the chair and reviewed water availability and provinces share for the Rabi season.
It was agreed by the participants that the likely projected shortages were manageable and hopefully the cropping targets for Rabi 2019-20 would be achieved be applying efficient and best water management practices.
It was also decided that remaining within the above indicated likely shares, the provinces would submit their withdrawal plans within 15 days.
IRSA Advisory Committee discussed the recommendations of IRSA Technical Committee Meeting and approved anticipated 31.44 MAF water availability for Rabi 2019-2020.
Out of total 31.44 MAF, 24.14 MAF would come from rivers inflow, 10.268 MAF from available storage minus the expected system losses of 2.38 MAF and minor unavoidable escapage downstream Kotri.
The IRSA spokesman said 31.44 MAF was significantly higher than last year availability of 24.76 MAF and considerably higher than 10-year average of 29.80 MAF He said the forum unanimously agreed that additional storages should be constructed wherever feasible on the rivers. If adequate storage capacity had been available, the surplus water of 11.65 MAF released downstream Kotri during Kharif 2019 could have been stored to eliminate the expected shortage of 15% in Rabi 2019-20, after meeting with ecological and sea intrusion requirements.
Regarding recommendation of IRSA Technical Committee to discuss about studies related to system losses, lag-times and cropping patterns due to Climate Change, the IRSA Advisory Committee decided that IRSA may get the studies carried out within a year. The ToRs would be prepared in consultation with the provinces, he added.
The Meeting was attended by IRSA Member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Raqib Khan, Member Punjab Rao Irshad Ali Khan, Member Sindh Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, Member Federal Ahmed Kamal and all provincial secretaries of Irrigation and Agriculture, members Water and Power WAPDA and other senior officials.
The Water Accord 1991 empowered IRSA to determine water availability in the country and provincial share twice a year, once for Kharif season and the other for RABI season.
Rabi season starts from October 1, while Kharif starts from April 1. Since Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were exempted from cuts in the share, the shortage in water would be distributed between Sindh and the Punjab.
Meanwhile, the IRSA released 194,200 cusecs water from various rim stations with inflow of 166,200 cusecs.
According to the data released by IRSA, water level in the Indus River at Tarbela Dam was 1530.04 feet, which was 144.04 feet higher than its dead level 1386 feet. Water inflow in the dam was recorded as 101,900 cusecs while outflow 100,000 cusecs.
The water level in the Jhelum River at Mangla Dam was 1212.15 feet, which was 172.15 feet higher than its dead level of 1040 feet whereas the inflow and outflow of water was recorded as 15,100 cusecs and 45,000 cusecs respectively.
The release of water at Kalabagh, Taunsa and Sukkur was recorded as 129,300, 95,500 and 28,500 cusecs respectively.