Water Allocation Issue

While the tussle between politicians over leadership posts is being fought on the streets, the very material differences between factions of the country, disputes that have existed for decades, the root of which goes back perhaps even before partition, are being mulled over in the National Assembly standing committees.
Sindh’s grievances over the sharing of resources, one of them being that it is being deprived of its share of water problems, are still not any closer to being resolved. In the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water Resources on Wednesday, Sindh’s representatives informed the committee that Sindh was being deprived of 46 percent of its water share in Punjab (between Taunsa and Guddu barrages) and Balochistan was losing almost 84 percent of its share in Sindh.
This debate has been going on for some time now. The complaints put forward by MNAs from Sindh have been expressed before. The Sindh Irrigation Minister earlier in the month of May claimed with displeasure that the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) was depriving the province of its allocated share of water by giving reasons of overall water scarcity in the system. Irsa replied back by pointing out the national shortage of water, justifying that it has had to halve supplies to both Punjab and Sindh to pass on the shortage. The argument inevitably goes back to the Interprovincial Water Apportionment Accord (WAA) of 1991, which became a focus of the committee session as well.
However, if the respective governments get stuck on philosophical disagreements over the WAA, this issue will see no end in sight. For the upcoming summer, which looks to be one of the worst for Pakistan considering the alarming signs of climate change, these disagreements need to be resolved as soon as possible. This long-standing provincial tussle over water resources is a problem for agricultural produce for all the provinces, which is a very significant contributor to the economy.

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