Irsa approves anticipated water shortage of 15pc for Punjab, Sindh


ISLAMABAD-Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Advisory Committee has approved an anticipated water shortage of 15 percent for the provinces of Punjab and Sindh during Rabi season 2023-24. The IRSA Advisory Committee (IAC), which met here on Monday, also revised downwards the likely water shortage for the Kharif season from the earlier anticipated 27 percent to 15 percent.
IRSA Advisory Committee (IAC) meeting was held under the chairmanship of Chairman IRSA/Member IRSA Federal, to approve the Rabi 2023-24 anticipated water availability criteria from October 1st, 2023 to March 31st, 2024. The meeting was attended by IRSA Members; Engineering Advisor, MoWR; Member (Water), WAPDA; technical Advisors of WAPDA; senior representatives of Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma Reservoirs and T5 HPP, senior representatives of Provincial Irrigation Departments (PIDs) and Director (Opr)/Secretary IRSA along with senior technical personnel of IRSA.
The committee reviewed the Kharif 2023 system operation and observed that the actual Rim-Station inflows of 95.22 MAF till 30th September were 3pc more than forecasted volume of 92.88 MAF and 6pc less with respect to 10-year average of 101.55 MAF. The overall provincial canal withdrawals were 15% short with respect to shares. Punjab and Sindh received 14% short supplies against anticipation of 15pc, while Kyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan full indented supplies.
The actual system losses were 14.15 MAF as compared to anticipation of 13.53 MAF. Downstream Kotri releases remained 13.79 MAF. IAC was informed that due to better inflows and efficient regulation of available supplies, the storage volume available for transfer to Rabi 2023-24 was 11.579 MAF, which was 15pc more than 10-year average and 19pc more than last year.
IAC discussed the recommendations of IRSA Technical Committee (ITC) meeting and approved the likely anticipated water availability at the four rim-stations of 21.92 MAF for Rabi 2023-24 which was about 8pc more than previous year and about 1pc less than 10-year average. IAC was informed that the forecast and anticipated system operation was conducted by utilizing the Water Apportionment Accord (WAA)-Tool, developed jointly by MoWR, IRSA, PIDs, WAPDA under technical and financial assistance from Australian government.
According tp the committee, the anticipated rim stations inflow during Rabi season will be 22.92MAF, while availability storage is 10.68 MAF, while system losses will be 1.88 MAF, releases down Kotri will be 0.07 MAF. The likely availability at the canal heads of 31.66 MAF was about 8pc higher than last year’s actual availability of 29.39 MAF and 10-year average of 29.42 MAF. The anticipated share of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will be 1.88 MAF. The anticipated share of Balochistan will be 1.18MAF water, while KP share is 0.71MAF. The available water for Punjab and Sindh will be 29.77 MAF. The share of Punjab is 16.97MAF, while Sindh will get 12.80 MAF. The advisory committee approved Basin-wise shortage of 15pc for Punjab and Sindh for Rabi 2023-24.
IAC also approved the anticipated Indus and JC Zones losses as 8pc and 0pc, respectively, subject to the condition that they would be revisited during mid-seasonal review in comparison with actual losses and subsequently updated, if required. However PID Punjab & Member IRSA Punjab were of the view to adopt a rational figure of 5pc losses for Indus Zone. Additionally, IAC approved Chashma Barrage closure as requested by WAPDA for a period of 20 days between the tentative dates from 26 December, 2023 to 14 January, 2024 synchronized with canal closure schedules of Punjab and Sindh canals. During the closure, Chashma Reservoir would be constrained between levels of 638.15 ft to 640.00 ft with outflow restrictions between 15,000 cfs to 30,000 cfs.
WAPDA’s request to carryout O&M works at Jari outlet of Mangla Reservoir shall be considered after provincial canal closures during mid-term review of the water situation. WAPDA imparted detailed briefing to the august forum regarding Tunnel 5 HPP of Tarbela and informed that they were trying their best to complete the ongoing works during the approved closure period of 33 months. WAPDA representatives assured that IRSA’s irrigation demands placed on Tarbela would be fulfilled during Rabi 2023-24 and that they would make all out efforts to operationalize Tunnel 4 Low Level Outlet (LLO), possibly ending March 2024. In this regard, WAPDA shall submit a comprehensive report within one week, after discussions with the consultants and the contractor of T5 HPP, so as to firm-up the dates of T4 LLO operationalisation.

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