September 25, 2018 (MLN): Chairman of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Lieutenant General Muzammil Hussain has been directed to submit his recommendations regarding the issue of water scarcity in Pakistan, to the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources, at the earliest.
At the Committee meeting took place yesterday (Monday), under the chairmanship of Senator Shammim Afridi, Lt. Gen Muzammil Hussain said that if any progress is to be made, it is imperative that WAPDA reports directly to the Prime Minister and is questioned about the progress of each project every week. He further added that this was the only way forward to make any progress
The committee meeting was attended by Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Muhammad Sabir Shah, Senator Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Gianchand, Senator Dr. Jehanzed Jamaldini, Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah and senior officers of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) and Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).
The committee contemplated on the acute water crisis that is currently gripping the country, especially the provinces, Sindh and Baluchistan.
Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah pointed out that Sindh has incurred 31%of agricultural losses due to water scarcity in the province.
He recalled the Indus Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 which focused on the need to keep sea intrusion in check and on ensuring minimum escapage below Kotri. He informed that at the time, Sindh held the view that the optimum level was 10 million acre feet, however further research and study had to be carried out to warrant minimum escapage.
However, 28 years down the line, the study has still not been conducted. Expressing his disappointment at this delay, Senator Shah provided that that Sindh has suffered miserably as a result of this delay and today almost 31 billion acres of land has been destroyed in Thatta and Badin due to sea intrusion.
He asserted that the Committee be informed of how many cusecs of water was available in the system during the months of March, April and May and the amount of water that had been delegated to Sindh.
He also questioned the reason for flood canals being opened in the wake of acute water shortage in Sindh. He also question why under the same circumstances was Mangla filled.
While agreeing with Senator Shah on the water crisis in Sindh, Senator Jamaldini drew attention to lack of water in Baluchistan, suggesting that Chairman WAPDA must conceive two dams for Baluchistan so that the acute water shortage issue is addressed in the province. He also suggested that senior officers from the National Water Commission be invited in the next meeting.
Senator Jan Jamali, who is a retired member of Senate was a special invitee. Senator Jamali was of the view that in the near future only a water secure country would be a food secure country. Pointing out the seriousness of the matter and its internal repercussions, he asserted that if this matter is not dealt in an effective manner, interprovincial harmony is at stake.
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