STAFF REPORT FBD: Punjabs agricultural areas now face a severe water shortage due to the late melting of the Himalayan glaciers – a main source of the regions rivers, delaying the sowing of three of the four most important crops in the country – cotton, sugarcane and rice.
“The water flow in the rivers is approximately 35 per cent below what it should be for this time of the year,” said Arshad Khan, an officer at the Punjab Irrigation Department. “That shortage may rise to as high as 45% in the coming months just as the sowing season starts.”
In addition to their direct contribution to the GDP, these crops also have an effect on the textile, fertilizer, cement and automobile industries since farmers are large consumers of the products of each of those manufacturing sectors.
The wheat harvest season in Punjab has recently come to an end, clearing millions of hectares for cultivation of what are known as kharif (autumn} crops since they harvested in the autumn.
“The water shortage will definitely create hurdles for farmers. Many of them will find it difficult to sow their kharif crops,” said Arshad Khan. “Central Punjab is currently not getting its share of water,” he maintained.