After the Mangla powerhouse’s zero water indent due to water scarcity, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) closed the water supply from Mangla Dam.
“Due to water scarcity, Mangla power was closed second time in history. Water supply to Chashma and Thal canals were stopped only upon request submitted by Punjab Irrigation Department and to meet the demands that are getting only 7,000 cusecs water from Tarbela dam instead of Mangla dam”, said spokesman of IRSA Khalid Rana.
He further said that only 3.4 MAF water available in the reservoir of Mangla in capacity of 7.4 million acre-feet (MAF) while and a shortage of 0.7 MAF. Provinces receiving water like Sindh40,000 MAF, Balochistan5,000 MAF, Punjab7,000 MAF and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 3,000 MAF water as per demand.
“At the time of wheat sowing more water receiving and supply situation to provinces will be reviewed,” said IRSA spokesman.
He also said that IRSA asked for devise a strategy to confront issue of water scarcity in provinces and river. He added that Punjab has devised strategy to meet water needs for Rabi crops.
Four main rivers had received 20% less inflows than predicted. They said that the total average expectation in Indus, Kabul, Jhelum, and Chenab rivers was 3.675 MAF but inflows of only 2.943 MAF received actually said sources in IRSA.
The sources further said that during the same time, Tarbela’s level is 3.7 feet higher pushing it at 1483.70 feet against the predicted 1480 feet. Though, level of Mangla is 10 feet below at 1182.35 feet against the average anticipation of 1192.50 feet.
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Lieutenant General (retd) Muzammil Hussain while briefing Senate Forum for Policy Research (SFPR) on water scarcity in Pakistan had said that to deal with future crisis of water scarcity the formulation of a national water policy and effective measures are obligatory. Chairman counted severe situation due to deficiency of reservoirs, power water management, impacts of global warming and declining of water table, particularly in city areas.
He pointed out that Pakistan is amongst the 15 most water-scarce countries with the 4th highest water use but minimum storage percentage.
Muzammil Hussain has also pointed out that in 50 years there are 11 folds tube wells increased while the water extraction shaped a frightening situation, specifically in Quetta. He said that annually about 50 MAF groundwater is pumped lowering and not be maintainable. He urged the regulation of groundwater extraction and controlled, or else not sustainable.