Irsa has reported that the water at the Tarbela and Mangla dams has reached dead level. In the absence of Kalabagh or any other major dam, we have let 12 million acre feet (maf) water, equivalent to the capacity of two large dams, to fall into the sea during 2016-17. Tarbela Dam has only 0.03 maf water left out of a total of 6.5 maf, and Mangla Dam has only 0.04 maf water left out of a total of 7.0 maf. The level of water in Mangla Dam will drop to dead level on Saturday after which the provinces will receive water from the normal flow of the river.
Currently, 19 percent water shortage was recorded for wheat and other crops of the ongoing season. Irsa has already sent an alert to Punjab and Sindh governments regarding the lack of canal water for the ‘khareef’ season’s crops like cotton. The water supply to both the provinces has been decreased from Thursday. The supply of water from the table beneath the earth is also dwindling rapidly and the cultivation of crops in the months of March and April could also be affected. Experts have also expressed fear that the country may face a severe type of water shortage if new dams are not functioning soon enough.
Engr Khurshid Anwer