Sindh accuses WAPDA of water crisis

In Local
April 04, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

During a recent meeting of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) Advisory Committee (IAC), some participants raised concerns about water theft, alleged incompetence of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), and limited snowfall, warning of a potential water crisis this summer.

Sources familiar with the IAC meeting held on Tuesday revealed that the Sindh member of Irsa blamed Wapda for the looming water shortage in the province. It was reported during the meeting that Wapda had failed to complete the Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project or T-5 on time.

Furthermore, it was disclosed that due to the delay in the construction of the T-5 project, 85,000 cusecs of water would not be released. Additionally, the flawed design of the Tarbela Fourth Extension Hydropower Project was said to result in the non-release of 30,000 cusecs of water.

In total, a shortfall of 115,000 cusecs of water from Tarbela dam was expected. Participants were also informed that the supply of 45,000 cusecs of water to Punjab might cease due to the reconstruction of Mangla dam power units.

The IAC was apprised that a 15% theft of water from canals, barrages, and rivers would exacerbate the crisis. It was reported that an estimated 10 million cusecs of water could go to waste in the sea during this Kharif season.

During the meeting, provinces accused each other of providing inaccurate data on water distribution. Sindh accused Punjab of misrepresenting water distribution figures.

Subsequently, Irsa decided to activate its accountability system to monitor water distribution in both provinces. The barrages in Sindh—Guddu, Sukkur, and Kotri—will be monitored by the Punjab Irrigation Department. Similarly, officials from Sindh will oversee discharges at Jinnah, Taunsa, and Panjnad headworks, as well as at Chashma in Punjab.

Moreover, a fact-finding committee will be established to combat water theft.

The IAC meeting, chaired by its chairman and Balochistan member Abdul Hameed Mengal, discussed water availability criteria for the Kharif 2024 season, spanning from April to September. It noted that the water shortfall could reach up to 30% in the upcoming season.

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