IRSA predicts over 30pc water shortage for Kharif season

Total anticipated Rim Stations Inflows during Kharif 2024 will be 99.41 MAF, which includes 23.55 MAF during early Kharif season, and 75.87 MAF during later Kharif season

ISLAMABAD   -   Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Tuesday anticipated that the country will face up to 30 percent water shortage during the ongoing Kharif season.

The IRSA Advisory Committee (IAC) in a meeting here anticipated 30 percent shortage for early Kharif season, April to May, while 7 percent for the later Kharif season, June to September, said spokesman IRSA Khalid Idrees Rana here. IRSA’s Advisory Committee meeting was held, under the chairmanship of Abdul Hameed Mengal, Chairman IRSA/Member IRSA Balochistan here to finalise Kharif Season 2024 (April-September) water availability criteria. The meeting was attended by representatives of the four provinces, WAPDA and all IRSA members.

The advisory committee also reviewed the Rabi 2023-24 (Oct-Mar) system operation, and was informed that the shortage was 2 percent higher than the initial estimation for the Rabi season. The Rabi season close at 17 percent shortages against the anticipated shortfall of 15 percent.

The Water Accord 1991 empowered IRSA to determine water availability in the country and provincial share twice a year, once for Kharif season and the other for Rabi season. Rabi season starts from October 1 and ends on March 31, while Kharif starts from April 1 and continues till September 30.

As per the workout, the total anticipated Rim Stations Inflows during Kharif 2024, will be 99.41 MAF, which includes 23.55 MAF during early Kharif season, and 75.87 MAF during later Kharif season.

The total anticipated flows in Indus at Tarbela will be 49.41 MAF, Kabul at Nowshera 11.72 MAF, Jhelum at Mangla 16.21 MAF and Chenab at Marala it will be 19.62 MAF. While the contribution anticipated from Eastern River will be 2.46 MAF.

Based on the above Rim-Station Inflows, the water balance equation for whole Indus Basin would 99.41 MAF. It is estimated that 12.96 MAF will be stored during the season in dams, which includes the storage of 4.52 MAF in early Kharif, while 7.64 MAF will be stored in later Kharif.

The system losses during the season have been anticipated to be 13.67 MAF, for the earlier Kharif season the forecast of loses is 5.21 MAF, while for the later Kharif season it has been calculated to be 8.46 MAF.

The total water availability for the season has been estimated to be 73.69 MAF, higher than previous Kharif’s estimates of 70 MAF, which is 13.82 MAF for the earlier and 59.87 MAF for the later Kharif season. Water flows below Kotri barrage is anticipated to be 10.08 MAF   in later Kharif, while in early Kharif there will be no downstream releases.

It has been anticipated that water availability at canal heads during the season will be 63.61 MAF, slightly higher than 62.74 MAF during the previous Kharif season, which includes 13.82 MAF for early Kharif and 49.79 MAF for later Kharif season.

Allocations for KP and Balochistan during the season will be 3.67 MAF, which is 0.63 MAF for early Kharif and 3.04 MAF in later Kharif. Punjab and Sindh will get 59.94 MAF during the season. For early Kharif Punjab and Sindh will get 13.19 MAF and 46.75 MAF for later Kharif.

It has been anticipated that the shortage will be 30 percent during early Kharif, while it will be 7 percent in later Kharif season. Since Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were exempted from cuts in the share, the shortage of water would be distributed between Sindh and the Punjab.

Out of the total expected 63.61 MAF availability at canal heads, the share of Punjab has been anticipated to be 31.13 MAF, Sindh 28.81 MAF, Balochistan 2.85 MAF and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (CRBC) 0.82 MAF.

The spokesman said that during the meeting, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) highlighted that during winter snowfall in the catchments of Indus & Jhelum recorded at 34.8 inches against the normal of 50.5 inches i.e. 31% less.

It was agreed that Punjab and Sindh would activate their respective Discharge Observation Cells (DOCs) for data reporting at different locations. Punjab SDOs will be stationed at Guddu, Sukkur & Kotri Barrages in Sindh, while Sindh SDOs will monitor the discharges at Jinnah H/W, Chashma Barrage, Taunsa H/W & Panjnad H/W in Punjab. The DOCs will share their reports with their respective departments & IRSA on daily basis. Besides this, Joint Discharge Measurements will also be conducted through neutral experts/department under the supervision of Member IRSA Punjab, Sindh & KP in the presence of Provincial Representatives at different locations during Early Kharif period. Punjab and Sindh ensured that the DOCs of both the provinces would be activated within fortnight as it will promote inter-provincial harmony and trust.

During the meeting, WAPDA briefed the IAC about the operational constraints of availability of T3, T4, T5 & LLO and it was unanimously decided to constitute a committee comprising Member IRSA (Punjab) & Member IRSA (Sindh) along with nominated Chief Engineers from PID Punjab and PID Sindh to physically review and monitor the sites and furnish the report for resolution of the operational constraints.

Towards the end of the meeting, Mangla authorities briefed IAC about Mangla operational constraints and after detailed deliberations, Member (Power) WAPDA assured that all irrigation indents would be fulfilled during Kharif 2024, Rana informed.

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