Irsa revises downwards projected water shortage to 21pc

Early Kharif season

ISLAMABAD   -   The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has downward revised the projected water shortage from 30 percent to 21 percent for the early Kharif season owing to better flows in rivers.

The Authority reviewed the water situation (WS) from April 1st to 30th, 2024 and noted that the actual inflows of 10.35 million acre feet (MAF) far surpassed the earlier forecasted inflows of 7.03 MAF, for the early Kharif season, with a 47% increase, said spokesman IRSA Khalid Idrees Rana here. IRSA meeting was held on May, 08, 2024 under the chairmanship of Abdul Hameed Mengal, Chairman IRSA/Member Balochistan, attended by all IRSA members, director (Operation) and senior technical personnel of the Authority. The increased river inflows - more concentrated in the Kabul and Jhelum Basins - were due to the exceptional westerly disturbances that stretched into the month of April 2024, making the rainfall total for the month, 164% above normal. The recent rains added about 3.6 MAF in storages, accordingly, the storages in Tarbela, Mangla & Chashma Reservoirs stood at 4.358 MAF on 08.05.2024, i.e., 48% above the 10-year average.

Taking the above-mentioned very promising WS into consideration, the Authority was pleased to curtail the shortages for the early Kharif period till June 10th, 2024 from the initial 30% to 21% for Punjab and Sindh, while allowing full indented supplies for Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the already approved exemption. Resultantly, provincial utilization of Punjab and Sindh was switched to the IRSA Advisory Committee’s (IAC) approved maximum scenario, whereby they were allowed to utilize the flood flows to avoid spillage. Hence, with effective and timely regulatory measures, increased shares for early Kharif 2024 were authorised by IRSA to Punjab & Sindh provinces. The share of Punjab has been increased by 1.014 MAF from the IRSA advisory committee’s likely approved share of 8.252 MAF to 9.266 MAF, while Sindh share was enhanced from by 0.614 MAF from 4.934 MAF to 5.548 MAF.

In the wake of weather advisory issued by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) regarding the heat wave in the current week, the Authority also decided that owing to the erratic hydrological variability that was becoming increasingly pronounced due to climate change, the WS shall be reviewed after each 10-daily period and adjusted, if deemed necessary, the spokesman said. It is worth to note that the IRSA Advisory Committee (IAC) had earlier anticipated that the country will face up to 30 percent water shortage during the ongoing Kharif season, starting April 1 till end of May, while 7 percent for the later Kharif season (June to September).

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt