LAHORE: The Punjab Irrigation Department has devised a distribution plan for its canals to manage the looming water shortage for the Rabi crop in the province.
Punjab Irrigation Minister Amanatullah Khan Shadi Khel said the irrigation department would try its best by managing both its perennial and non-perennial channels to ensure that the Rabi crop was not affected by the unusual drop of water availability. He was speaking at a departmental meeting held on Thursday.
Water shortage predicted across Pakistan
The minister said that all perennial channels in the system would be closed from October 20th to October 31st and will operate on full capacity from November 1 onwards.
This schedule has been developed keeping in view the irrigation requirements of farmers of the province and has also been shared with the agriculture department, he said. The minister said that in order to meet the water shortage challenge, the irrigation department has devised a canal operation schedule in consultation with the agriculture department, according to which non-perennial channels will also be operated for 15 days in November, depending upon the irrigation requirements in their command area.
Pakistan at threshold of water scarcity
Non-perennial channels in the Punjab irrigation system are normally operated from April to October. According to the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), Punjab would receive 20% less water than its entitled share for the wheat crop due to lower-than-usual river flows.
The minister informed the meeting that a drop in the monsoon rainfall this year and an earlier than normal onset of winter in the Himalayas were the two of the main reasons for the unusual water shortage in the system.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2017.