Early Kharif season: Irsa projects six percent water shortage

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The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on Friday projected a six per cent water shortage in early Kharif season and advised provinces to delay cultivation by two weeks till ice starts melting. However, there will be no water shortage in middle and late Kharif season as the country will have 10 MAF more water than the previous year. This is the crux of a meeting of Irsa Advisory committee which met under Chairman of Irsa Asjad Imtiaz Ali to decide the availability and distribution of water for provinces during the upcoming Kharif season. Major Kharif crops are cotton, sugarcane and rice. The committee noted that the country would lose 25 per cent of total water available during because of system losses.

Irsa observed that 110 Million Acre Feet (MAF) water would be available for Kharif season, of which 23 MAF water would be lost. The committee said that in Jehlum and Chenab zones, the loss will be 10 per cent in the early Kharif season and 15 per cent in late kharif season. In the Indus zone, the water loss would be as much as 40 per cent, it noted.

It said that 67.25 MAF water would be available in canals for provinces. The body observed that the country would face 6 per cent water shortage in the early Kharif season. The committee decided that provinces would be given water according to their needs as the country would have more water than the previous season. "However, if the country faces water shortages, provinces would be taken on board to share it," the committee said. The country would have a carryover stock 11.5 MAF of water.

Later, Irsa's spokesperson Khalid Idrees Rana said that 10 MAF water would be released in Kotri downstream. He said that Punjab would get 33.6 MAF water and Sindh 30.25 MAF water for Kharif crops. "Balochistan will get 2.6 MAF whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 0.8 MAF water for Kharif crops," he said. He maintained that 1.2 MAF carryover water stock was available in reservoirs. He said that major reservoirs, including Tarbela and Mangla, would be filled in August at 1,550 and 1,242 feet levels, respectively. Official said that there would be no water shortage in upcoming Kharif season starting from April 1 till September end.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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