LAHORE: The root cause of distrust between provinces when it comes to water-related issues is that Sindh treats the Indus River as its own river, which it was until three rivers were lost to India. Now the whole country has to subsist on the three remaining rivers, of which only the Indus has surplus flows.
The Tarbela dam was built to transfer water from the Indus to the canals in north and south Punjab, which were previously serviced by the Ravi and Sutlej rivers. The intent of the Indus Waters Treaty could not have been to deprive these canals of the waters of the Ravi and the Sutlej without providing for replacement water from the western rivers. The CJ and TP link canals are supplying water from Tarbela dam to canals in south Punjab. And the left bank canal at the Kalabagh dam, if it were built, would supply replacement water to the canals in north Punjab. Without the left bank canal, north Punjab will not get any water from any dam on the Indus, be it the Tarbela, the Bhasha, the Akhori, the Dassu, the Skardu or the Katzara. With the Mangla dam silting up progressively, two-thirds of north Punjab will revert from being irrigated to being barani, with a 50 per cent loss in national food production.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2012.
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