A major disaster was averted when a 50-feet wide breach in the Gunni Canal, near a village in Tando Muhammad Khan district, was repaired in a timely manner on Wednesday. The discharge at the canal at the time of the incident was over 4,500 cusecs in Jummo Khan Khaskheli village.
The discharge was almost the same as it was when a similar breach occurred in Rohri canal near Bakhar Jamali village in Matiari district on May 14. At least 25 villages were submerged by the water, and nearly 30,000 people were displaced.
“It appeared as if a river had been turned over us,” said Hakim Khaskheli, a resident of the village. He estimated that the overspill inundated more than 500 acres of land, but residential settlements and crops largely remained unharmed.
The Gunni canal is supplied water from the Kotri Barrage through the Fuleli Canal. The Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority’s Left Bank Canal Area Water Board (LBCAWB) controls the canals that spring from the barrage. LBCAWB director Habib Ursani told The Express Tribune that their immediate response was to stop the water supply to Gunni Canal, and divert the excess water to the nearby Karo Ghungro saline water drain. “We managed to repair the breach within 20 hours.”
However, farmers said that irrigation authorities had not reinforced canals and saline drains that were damaged by floods in 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.
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