Pakistan

10-4 % water shortage likely for Kharif season: IRSA

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Advisory Committee of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Thursday approved 10 per cent water storage for early and 4 per cent for late Kharif season 2021.

The committee which met virtually with IRSA Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan approved the anticipated water availability criteria for Kharif here.

The committee discussed the recommendations of IRSA Technical Committee (ITC) meeting held on March 26. After a comprehensive discussion and input from all stakeholders, losses of 30% and 15% in Indus Zone during Early and Late Kharif, respectively, and 10% and 0% losses in JC Zone during Early and Late Kharif, respectively, as proposed by WAPDA were agreed.

Member IRSA Sindh & Balochistan insisted to adopt losses of 35 % on Indus during Early Kharif period. However, to resolve the long-standing issue of System Losses, a Joint Committee – comprising of IRSA Members Punjab and Sindh, respective representatives of the provincial irrigation departments would undertake flow measurements at required locations and would recommend the actual losses based on those observations.

The meeting reviewed the Rabi 2020-21system operation and observed that the actual Rim-Station inflows of 21.14 MAF remained 10% less than forecasted volume of 23.44 million acre feet (MAF). Despite reduction in inflows, the committee expressed satisfaction that the actual provincial withdrawals remained at 31.21 MAF, i.e., 15% short and a little less than anticipated shortfall of 10%, due to less than expected system losses of only 0.57 MAF as compared to anticipation of 2.35 MAF.

The provinces received indented supplies. Downstream Kotri releases remained 0.556 MAF. It was agreed by the participants that the likely projected shortages were manageable and hopefully the cropping targets for Early and Late Kharifs2021 would be achieved by utilizing efficient and best water management and water application practices.

The committee also decided that the provinces would submit their withdrawal plans within 15 days to IRSA. It was noted that current season’s forecasted inflows were about 8 per cent higher than previous year and about 3.5 per cent higher than last 10-years average. For the current season the anticipated water inflow was forecasted as 108.745 million acre feet (MAF) as compared to 100.739 MAF last year Kharif season.

Based on the above-mentioned agreed Rim Station Inflows, minus storage requirements of 10.495 MAF, minus, the expected system losses would be 15.150 MAF and unavoidable escapage during flood season was forecast at 14.423 MAF downstream Kotri. Similarly, the provincial withdrawals at canal heads were forecasted as 68.677 MAF which would be 5.5% higher than last year withdrawals of 65.11 MAF and 5.7% higher last10-years average of 64.97 MAF.

The provincial irrigation department Sindh Province also insisted on distribution of water as per Para 2 of the Accord, however, it was informed that the issue was pending with Council of Common Interest (CCI), therefore, the water distribution shall be made as per practice in vogue, which is very much within the parameters of Water Accord 1991.

The official of Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD) while informing about the weather conditions said that during the months of January to March, 2021 rainfalls in the country remained below normal.

He said during April – May 2021, it was anticipated that rainfalls & catchments temperature might remain normal.

The forecast for Monsoon would be issued in the month of June 2021, he informed.
The committee also approved maintenance of Tarbela Reservoir levels at 1417 ft SPD till June 10, 2021 to facilitate T3&T4 HPPs ongoing works, in-line with request of WAPDA. However, any unexpected surge in river inflows and Sediment Delta movements in the reservoir due to limited outflows capacity and sustenance of the required levels, respectively, shall be the responsibility of Tarbela authorities.

However, WAPDA was directed to make efforts to complete the works by June 01 to avoid any eventuality.

The IRSA Advisory Committee meeting was attended by Engr. Zahid Hussain Junejo, Member IRSA, Sindh, Engr. Asjad Imtiaz Ali, Member IRSA, Federal, Engr. Abdul Hameed Mengal, Member IRSA, Balochistan, Engr. Syed Zahid Abbas,Member IRSA, KP, Ahmed Kamal, Chairman Federal Flood Commission, Jamil Akhtar, Member (Power), WAPDA, Nasir Hanif, Advisor Projects, WAPDA, Muhammad Amin, GM (HRM), WAPDA, Zareef Iqbal Khero, Chief Engineer, PID Sindh, Habib Ullah Bodla, Additional Secretary (Tech), Irrigation Dept., Punjab, Muhammad Ayub Soomro, Additional Secretary (T), Irrigation Dept., Sindh, Agha Ahsan Ullah, Director IWT&R, PID Punjab, Engr. Zahoor Muhammad, Director Design / Hydrology, Irrigation Dept., KP, Dr Zaheer Ahmad Babar, Director National Weather Forecasting Centre, Islamabad, Habib Ur Rehman Ursani, Director Regulation, PID Sindh, and Muhammad Khalid Idrees Rana, Director (Operation), IRSA.

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