KARACHI: The governments of Sindh and Balochistan have constituted a joint secretaries’ committee to resolve their water-related issues and remove encroachments from their common canal systems for smooth irrigation supplies.
This decision was taken in a meeting held between Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri. Former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali, who had highlighted the issues on behalf of Balochistan, was a special delegate at the meeting.
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The inter-provincial issues between Sindh and Balochistan include insufficient water supply in Pat Feeder and Kirthar Canal, removal of encroachment from Pat Feeder’s canal embankments, pumping of drainage effluent into Kirthar Canal, delay in timely completion of RBOD-III projects and inequitable distribution of Hub Dam’s water between Sindh and Balochistan.
Shah admitted there were some complaints of shortage of water from Kirthar Canal of Sukkur Barrage. Citing possible reasons for the shortage, he said that a pond level had developed at Sukkur Barrage and North Western Canal and Dadu Canal could not get their full discharge.
“As a result, the entire system in Sindh and Balochistan suffer from water shortages,” he said.
CM Shah, who also holds portfolio of irrigation minister, proposed forming a two-member committee – comprising secretaries of irrigation of both provinces – to study the ways and means to resolve this issue.
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Removal of encroachment
Zehri said there were encroachments in the Pat Feeder Canal embankments in Sindh, causing desilting issues. The flow of water has also been affected badly, he said.
Shah said the main Pat Feeder Canal from 0 to 172 kms was being remodelled and widened for the additional discharge of 1,860 cusecs to enable Balochistan government to irrigate 205,000 acres in the tail end areas of Naseerabad district and Jhal Magsi. He directed the Larkana commissioner to remove encroachments in consultation with the Balochistan government.
Pumping of drainage effluent into Kirthar Canal
Zehri said Sindh pumps a huge quantity of drainage effluent of Shikarpur, Larkana and Garhi Yasin drains into NW Canal at Rd-83 and Rd-152.
Shah said about 350 cusecs drainage effluent was being pumped into the NW Canal, which was about 4% of the drain capacity of the same canal. Usually, he said, the drain water of the rice crop was disposed of in the NW Canal.
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Delay in completion of RBOD-III
CM Zehri raised the issue of completion of RBOD-III to pass 765 cusecs of drainage effluent of Balochistan, 600 cusecs from Hiarudin pump station and 165 cusecs of Chukhi. He said due to delay in completion of RBOD-III the lands of Balochistan were becoming ruined.
Shah said the work on RBOD-II – a project of the federal government – was being carried out by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and was halted due to a shortage of funds.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2017.
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