ISLAMABAD: With both Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs approaching dead levels, the Indus River System Authority has estimated that there will be a shortfall of water during April and called a meeting of its technical committee on March 16 to determine availability of water for Kharif 2012 (April-Sept).
Sources told Dawn on Monday that a meeting of Irsa’s advisory committee would be held by the end of March to approve the water distribution plan for Kharif in line with provincial irrigation requirements.
The ministry of water and power has confirmed that the Mangla reservoir will also “touch dead level within next 7-8 days” but said that it will not have any negative impact on the Rabi crops. It said the water level at Mangla was recorded at 1,071 feet against its dead level of 1,040 feet, adding that the level was dropping at the rate of about 3.3 feet daily.
The ministry said the water level at Tarbela stood at 1,383.90 feet on Monday against its dead level of 1,378 feet and “daily drop is about four feet”. It pointed out that about 22,000 and 6,600 cusecs of water was flowing in Indus and Kabul rivers, respectively, adding that this would remain available for distribution among stakeholders.
The ministry said the shortfall might affect the stakeholders only during April and hoped inflow would improve significantly with increase in temperatures and resultant snow melting.
The sources said that the shortfall could have been avoided through a carryover stock of 1.5 million acre feet of (storage) water.
They said that about 250,000 cusecs went missing between Tarbela Dam and Chashma Barrage during Oct-Nov period while the unaccounted for water quantities remained an issue among the relevant agencies during Dec-Jan period.
The total unaccounted for water had been estimated at 750,000 cusecs, translating into 1.5 million acre feet during Oct-Jan period.
The ministry sources said that Irsa had advised Wapda to look into the matter and submit a report but Wapda has not yet submitted the report. Likewise, the recording of river flows between Basham and Tarbela dam had also shown wide variations despite the fact that there was no off-take point between the two areas.
For example, the river flow at Basham was recorded at 16,000 cusecs on Feb 25 but only 13,000 cusecs was reaching the Tarbela dam.