Pakistan is facing severe water shortage for Kharif crops. The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) projected higher water shortages that would pose a serious threat to critical Kharif crops which required a steady flow of irrigation water. Rice, sugarcane, cotton, and maize are some of the important crops of the Kharif sowing season that run from April 1 to September 30. Due to fewer water releases from dams, farmers would be depending on groundwater. Pakistani agriculture depends largely on the water supplies through the canal system. The water shortage already started to badly affect the crops.
The water crisis caused by climate change not only posing a threat to the Kharif crops, it also led to a drop in the hydel generation to an alarming level, causing increased load shedding across the country. The total hydel generation dropped to 1,050 megawatts (MW) due to cut in water releases from dams against the installed capacity of 7,000MW. At present, Tarbela is generating 325MW and Mangla, 200MW.
The IRSA advisory committee that met on March 29 had projected 31 percent water shortages in early Kharif during the sowing season due to higher losses and fewer water inflows into rivers. However, against the projection of 31 percent water shortage for early Kharif, the shortages have reached to an alarming level of 60 percent at a time when the Kharif crops’ sowing season is about to start.
Pakistan Metrological Department and Wapda representatives also informed the meeting that the country had received 50 percent less snow in catchment areas. Less snow means less water in the rivers during the summer season. Moreover, IRSA decision to cut water share of Punjab and Sindh is also related to fewer water inflows from rivers. The water share of Punjab was reduced to 26,000 cusecs from 29,000 cusecs and that of Sindh to 17,000 cusecs from 20,000 cusecs.
According to IRSA spokesman, the temperatures at Skardu touched 20 degrees, the flows have yet to increase which is quite alarming. However, the situation will clear in the next 48 hours,” he said, adding, Water shortage would also definitely have a bad impact on hydel generation as Tarbela and Mangla dams are still at dead level.
The IRSA recorded water inflow of only 44,000 cusecs today, compared with an inflow of 123,000 cusecs last year. Skardu temperature was 16.7 degree and discharge was 27,600 cusecs. Today, the temperature is 20.6 degree but the discharge level is 17,000 cusecs.
The country had witnessed less water availability for the Rabi crops from October 1, 2017, to March 29, 2018. Total water shortage had been anticipated at 33 percent during Rabi corps. The total water availability was estimated at 36.17maf, but it remained at 24.06maf. Total water shortage had been anticipated at 33 percent during Rabi corps. The total water availability was estimated at 36.17maf, but it remained at 24.06maf.
Total water shortage had been anticipated at 33 percent during Rabi corps. The total water availability was estimated at 36.17maf, but it remained at 24.06maf. Punjab was estimated to face 35 percent, Sindh (34 percent), KPK (26 percent) and Balochistan (7 percent) water shortage during the entire Rabi season.
The dams and reservoirs build by India on the Chenab; Ravi and Sutlej rivers also caused the water shortage in Pakistan. India has built several dams in Occupied Kashmir to generate hydel power and to store water. India is violating the water treaty agreed by both Pakistan and India to share the waters of five rivers of Punjab. The climate change is also playing its part in the water scarcity.
Pakistan immediately needs new dams and water reservoirs to meet the challenge. Pakistan needs to store the maximum water during the monsoon rainy season. Pakistan received maximum rains during monsoon season which last from July to September. Pakistan can store enough water to utilize it for Rabi and Kharif crops but also for power generation. But Pakistan needs dams and reservoirs.
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13 November, 2019