Amid Indian threat: Experts urge plans for water emergency

Published: September 29, 2016
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“Pakistan’s irrigation system is already facing a shortage of 14 million acre-foot of water and if India suspends our water supply … it will badly affect our Rabi crops,” said an official on condition of anonymity. PHOTO: APP/FILE

“Pakistan’s irrigation system is already facing a shortage of 14 million acre-foot of water and if India suspends our water supply … it will badly affect our Rabi crops,” said an official on condition of anonymity. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: If India unilaterally scraps the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan, already a water-deficient country, will face a drought-like situation besides experiencing a reduction in hydropower generation, shrinkage of flows in irrigation system, aggravating an already deepening environmental crisis, experts maintained on Wednesday.

Expressing grave concern over the absence of a national strategy to cope with the emerging situation, they were in agreement that the country would be faced with an acute shortage of water simply because there was a shortage of water reservoirs.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the authorities concerned should hammer out plans for such emergencies.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Meteorological Department’s chief Dr Ghulam Rasul said: “The suspension of water supply by India will have an immediate impact on southern Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab mainly because these areas are already facing water shortages because they receive below average rainfall especially during winters.”

He said currently, Pakistan has two main reservoirs, Mangla and Tarbela dams with a maximum storage capacity of 30-day water supply.

After monsoon, he said, some amount of water was already used.

The water storage capacity of these two reservoirs has already dropped to 30 percent mainly because of silting.

In winters, the water inflow in Tarbela Dam is very low.

“In winter, Pakistan needs ample amount of water for sowing Rabi crops and any blockage in water flow will have an adverse impact on winter crop production,” said Dr Rasul.

According to data collected by IRSA, Tarbela Dam’s maximum water storage capacity is 6.2 million acre-foot, while Mangla Dam can hold 7.3 million acre-foot.

However, until Tuesday, Tarbela Dam had 4.4 million acre-foot and Mangala Dam contained 5.4 million acre-foot of water.

Every year, around 145,000 million acre-foot of water enters into Pakistan through rain, snow and glacier melting, out of which 30,000 million acre-foot re-enters the sea because of scarcity of water reservoirs.

Meanwhile, 15 million acre-foot of water is wasted in canals during irrigation.

“Pakistan’s irrigation system is already facing a shortage of 14 million acre-foot of water and if India suspends our water supply … it will badly affect our Rabi crops,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Abhijeet
    Sep 29, 2016 - 9:21AM

    Whose fault is it if Pakistan failed to build any new reservoirs all these years? India?Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Sep 29, 2016 - 10:03AM

    Pakistan should start immediately to build Kalabagh Dam.Recommend

  • Pakistan/Panamal
    Sep 29, 2016 - 10:21AM

    We have the plan and our enemy should dread that. At the same time it is about time for the nation to eliminate enemies from within ruthlessly irrespective of who and what they are. PERIOD.Recommend

  • Rahil
    Sep 29, 2016 - 10:35AM

    Even if we Kashmiris continue to suffer under illegal Indian occupation, I think this Delhi’s aggression is solving many problems in Pakistan. CPEC has become a prestige issue in Pakistan after modi’s rant on balochistan and Gilgit. The threat of abrogating indus water treaty will renew Pakistan’s interest in water reservoirs none of which has been made in the last four decades due to petty political interests and misgovernance by their kleptocratic leadership. Pakistan should work on CPEC on a war footing, start constructing dams and reservoirs which have been subjected to unnecessary delay and expedite work on thar coal. India is already on the wrong side of history. Barbing of irrelevant countries like Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have reduced their nations to Indian stooges should not deter Pakistan. Recommend

  • Oommen
    Sep 29, 2016 - 11:02AM

    Pakistan can survive without river water. Desalination plants should be encouraged. Desert countries meets their requirements with desalination plants.Recommend

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