CM Murad directs to overcome water shortage at Sukkur Barrage’s right bank

KARACHI   -  Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday presided over a meeting regarding water shortage on the Right Bank of Sukkur Barrage and directed the Irrigation Department to overcome the shortage and provide water to growers, otherwise Kharif crops would be affected badly.

The meeting held at CM House, was attended by Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro, Secretary to CM Raheem Shaikh, Secretary Irrigation Zarif Khero and others.

The CM said that the Sukkur Barrage Right Bank, Larkana was created so that 2,094,975 acres of land could be irrigated on the right bank properly. At this, Minister Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro said that 185,000 acres of Balochistan were irrigated by the Right Bank canals.

The CM was informed that three canals – Dadu Canal, Rice Canal and North West Canal were off-taking from the right side of the River Indus.

Irrigation Minister Shoro told the CM that the Rice Canal feed more than 100 off-taking channels including branches, major and minor distributaries. The command area of Rice Canal is scattered over four districts, and no major complaints of water are reported by “Khatedars” of tail-enders.

The CM was told that the availability of water in Rice Canal is 80-89 percent of its allocated discharge and functioning satisfactorily. The supply of water to tail-enders is maintained by proper monitoring and vigilance.

Secretary Irrigation Zarif Khero said that 12,800 cusecs against an allocation of 14,355 cusecs were flowing in the Rice Canal which showed a shortage of 11 percent as of June 10, 2024.

It was pointed out that the availability of water in Warah Branch Canal was 85-90 percent of its requirements and the water was available up to the last X-Regulator of the Main Branch System.

The command area of Warah Branch Canal is scattered over three districts i.e. Shikarpur, Larkana and Kambar-Shahdadkot. The Warah Branch Canal feeds 47 off-taking channels including branches, major and minor distributaries. Water is available in the entire system of Warah Branch. There is also no major complaint of water shortage in the Warah branch, the CM was told.

The CM was informed that about 50 percent of the allocated share is available in Dadu Canal. The tail-ends below Dadu City are severely affected.

It was pointed out that the distribution system of Dadu Canal is comprised of about more than 60 off-taking channels including branches, major and minor distributaries experiencing a shortage of water after the Sukkur Barrage gates problem.

Dadu Canal feeds command areas of three districts and is experiencing a shortage of water. At this, the CM directed the secretary irrigation to overcome the shortage in the tail-ends by operating the pumping stations.

To a question, the CM was told about the remedial measures to overcome the shortage in Dadu Canal. They include an additional supplement to the Dadu Canal from RD-82 of the Rice Canal has been made from the same place the canal was fed during 2004 right pocket repair works.

As there was no major complaint reported in Rice Canal Systems and till the availability of water at upstream of Sukkur Barrage, the decision is taken to supplement the Dadu Canal Systems.

The CM directed the Irrigation Department to formulate the rotation plan for the off-taking channels to overcome the shortage of irrigation water.

He also said the irrigation staff must monitor day and night to ensure the implementation of the rotation plan to redress the grievances regarding water shortage in the systems of Dadu Canal.

Secretary irrigation said that almost 50 percent of the allocated share was available to North-West Canal (NWC). He added that efforts were being taken to minimise the shortage of water in Balochistan.

The NWC distributes water to more than 100 off-taking channels including branches, major and minor distributaries. The command area of NWC is scattered over 3 districts. To manage the shortage, the system is being operated by a rotation plan.

The CM directed the Irrigation Department to formulate a rotation plan for the off-taking channels and the irrigation staff should be mobilised for vigilance to ensure the implementation of the rotation plan in true letter and spirit.

Murad Shah stressed the importance of the NWC as the primary water source for Balochistan. He instructed the secretary irrigation to tackle the severe water shortage in the region. He emphasised the need to use hydraulic excavator machines to clear obstacles at the head reaches of the NWC, allowing for maximum water flow from the Sukkur Barrage to Balochistan.