Sindh, Punjab being given indented water to irrigate cotton crop

Khalid Mustafa
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024

ISLAMABAD: In a positive development, the Indus River System Authority is providing water supply to Punjab and Sindh, which is the lower riparian federating unit of the country, as per their demands, setting aside the request of Wapda to store water in the Tarbela Dam for continuation of construction work on its tunnel projects T3 and T4.

IRSA hopes that the water inflows in the Indus, Kabul and Jhelum rivers will increase manifold in the days to come as the Pakistan Meteorological Department has predicted that a westerly wave is likely to enter the upper parts of the country from today (April 10) followed by another strong westerly wave on April 12 that may grip most parts of the country on 13th April and persist till April 15th.

The PMD has also predicted that there will be an overall tendency towards near-normal rainfall (against the 30-year average from 1991 to 2020) in most parts of Pakistan. However, the northern half of Pakistan, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northern Punjab and the state of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, is expected to receive slightly above-normal rainfall during April 2024.

Heavy rainfall may generate flash flooding in local nullahs/streams of Dir, Swat, Chitral, Kohistan, Mansehra, tributaries of Kabul River, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir from April 13-15. “This would help IRSA store a sizable amount of water in Tarbela, Mangla reservoirs and Chashma Barrage,” IRSA officials said. “We are currently providing the indented water supplies to Sindh and Punjab as well. We are not storing water in Tarbela Dam as demanded by Wapda. Instead, we have started storing water in Mangla Dam. IRSA is currently providing the water supplies to Sindh by 6,000 cusecs more than its demand so that it could properly irrigate its cotton crop and seedlings of the rice crop as well.”

When contacted, the Sindh Member in IRSA also confirmed that his province is being provided with water as per its demand. The official said that Sindh got water releases of 41,000 cusecs on April 9, 2024, as per its indents from Chashma while it got 35,000 cusecs on the same day last year showing that the province got 6,000 cusecs more. “Punjab is being provided 39,600 cusecs of water from both Indus and Jhelum, Chenab zones. Balochistan is not being provided water from downstream Chashma and KP is getting 2,300 cusecs.”

The latest water data as of April 9, 2024 says that the water level stands in Tarbela at 1,417.17 feet against its dead level of 1,402 feet while inflows stand at 19,100 cusecs and outflows stand at 30,000 cusecs, showing that the water is not being stored in Tarbela Dam. However, in Mangla, the water level stands at 1,103.75 feet against its dead level of 1,050 feet. The inflows in Mangla Dam at Jhelum stand at 28,291 cusecs whereas the water of 20,000 cusecs is being released to Punjab for its irrigational requirements.

However, Punjab is not getting any water releases from the Indus for its three canals, including the Taunsa-Punjnand Link, Muzafargar and Dera Ghazi Khan Canals. However, it is getting 4,500 cusecs for its Thal Canal. Punjab is also getting 7,275 cusecs from Head Marala at Chenab.