ISLAMABAD - The IRSA advisory committee has failed to finalise the water shortages estimates, provincial share for the Kharif season as it will make new calculations after the losses for the season were revised downwards to 28pc from the earlier 40pc.

The IRSA advisory committee has given the guideline for recalculating the availability of water, shortages and provincial share as the committee has downward revised the losses with consensus of the provinces, spokesman IRSA Khalid Rana told The Nation.

He said that on Friday IRSA will issue new workout based on the advisory committee guideline regarding water availability, water shortages and provincial share. The metrological department informed the meeting that there was 15% to 20% less snow in the catchment area which will have an impact on the water availability in the country.

The IRSA’s Advisory Committee (IAC) met under the chairmanship of Zahid Hussain Junejo to approve the Kharif 2022 anticipated water availability and reservoir operation criteria from 1st April, 2022 to 30th September, 2022. All IRSA members, concerned representatives of WAPDA, Provincial Irrigation Departments (PIDs), Provincial Agriculture Departments (PADs), attended the meeting. The committee discussed the recommendations of IRSA Technical Committee (ITC) meeting held on March 25,2022. The Technical Committee anticipated the availability of 109 MAF water at rim stations. It was anticipated that 28.30 MAF will be available for early Kharif and 80.98 MAF for late Kharif 2022.

The technical committee anticipated system losses of 40% in early Kharif and 15% in late Kharif for Indus Zone and 10% in early Kharif and 0% in late Kharif for JC Zone. Punjab comprehensively briefed the forum on the present erratic losses pattern in the system as compared to pre and post 2000 eras. Sindh also presented its detailed viewpoint on the losses issue. IAC was informed that the exercise of posting of PID inspectors at key observation points of both the provinces had turned out quite fruitful and losses had decreased as a direct result of the that activity. It was, therefore, unanimously decided that the exercise would be continued in future as it was promoting inter-provincial harmony and trust. After threadbare deliberations, IAC, adopted the above-mentioned loss percentages recommended by ITC, except early Kharif which was agreed as 28%, subject to the condition that the losses for the said period would be kept under close scrutiny and continually updated based on the actual discharge data being submitted by PID Inspectors and would also be investigated by the forthcoming Joint Discharge Measurements (JDMs) to be conducted by PID Punjab & Sindh provinces. Punjab’s objection to the agreed 28% instead of their proposed 10% losses was also noted by the forum.

Sindh has objected to water distribution on 3-tier formula, and termed it the violation of the Accord. PID Sindh & Member IRSA Sindh objected on distribution of water on 3-tier formula, and termed it the violation of the Accord. They argued that Sindh should be given full supply of water in early Kharif season for the sowing of cotton crop. It was also contended by Sindh that any dip in Indus Basin System be avoided for Sindh. PID Sindh also agreed to conduct the JDM by Punjab & Sindh. As per initial estimates, early Kharif shortages were anticipated around 22% and late Kharif around 6%, but with the adoption of early Kharif losses as 28%, the projected shortages were liable to be reduced further, a reworking of which with the corresponding provincial shares, shall be carried out by IRSA. The expected system operational constraints of WAPDA and the provinces during Kharif 2022 were also discussed and duly accounted for during the meeting.