High-level flooding feared in Sutlej River

Experts predict water flow to reach 90,000 cusecs

Asif Mehmood August 20, 2019
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued the flood warning after which the administration of Kasur and other districts located at the bank of River Sutlej had been advised to take necessary measures to tackle emergencies. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN.

LAHORE: The water released by India into the Sutlej River – which has a capacity of 150,000 cusecs –reached 38,000 cusecs on Tuesday with experts predicting that the flow would touch 90,000 cusecs.

In 2015 when India last released water into the river at 55,000 cusecs, 238 lives were lost.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned that increasing water levels in Sutlej River at Ganda Singh Wala would cause a serious flood-like situation.

Authority spokesperson Brig Mukhtar Ahmed said, “The flow in Sutlej River is increasing where the water level presently at Ganda Singh Wala is 17.8 feet with 37,640 cusecs.”

He added that Flood Forecasting Division Lahore had predicted that 100,000 -150,000 cusecs flood relay would pass by tomorrow (Wednesday) noon from Ganda Singh Wala.

According to the daily monsoon situation report, the water flow in River Sutlej at Ganda Singh Wala was increasing and would lead to medium to high-level flooding.

The main reason for the emerging situation was because of discharges from Bhakra Dam and merging the flows from lower catchments.

The NDMA issued alert to all concerned provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs), departments and local community.

Further, a day after Pakistan Indus Water Treaty commissioner lodged a protest with the Indian commissioner, the latter on Tuesday assured Pakistan it would abide by the 1989 agreement and provide advanced data on the flow of water in rivers between the two countries.

Pakistan Indus Water Treaty commissioner’s spokesperson Sheraz Jamil said that New Delhi had officially communicated to Islamabad on Monday and Tuesday that it would send water flow data on Sutlej, Ravi and Beas rivers that run from India to Pakistan.

He added that India had stopped sending advanced flow data last year, in violation of the agreement.

In 1989, Pakistan and India signed an agreement in which India would provide advanced data on all rivers entering Pakistan from July 1 to October 10 every year.

However, on Monday Islamabad accused New Delhi of releasing roughly 240,000 cubic feet per second of water into Sutlej River and the Indus River without prior information, causing floods in the Pakistani river network.

Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda also expressed concern on India's attitude and warned that his country would exercise all options to protect its rights given in the agreements.

"India is obligated under the treaty to provide information about extraordinary flood to Pakistan," said Vawda.

However, Jamil said the current flow of water released by India would not cause any major damages in Pakistan. (With additional input from Anadolu Agency and APP)


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