The row between Indus River System Authority (Irsa) and Sindh has intensified with the former rejecting Sindh’s demand to stop water release to Punjab from Tarbela dam.
“Sindh is currently receiving 145,000 cusecs of water against its share of 137,000 cusecs – that is 3% more compared to its share according to the water accord,” Irsa conveyed to Sindh in a letter sent on Friday.
Punjab, meanwhile, was receiving its due share, under the water accord, from Tarbela dam, Irsa said. Water release from Tarbela through Chashma-Jhelum (CJ) and Taunsa-Panjnad (TP) canal could not be stopped, it added.
At present, Irsa is releasing 13,000 cusecs of water to Punjab from Tarbela – 8,000 cusecs from CJ and 5,000 cusecs from TP.
Mangla for Punjab, Tarbela for others
The dispute erupted on Thursday after Sindh lodged a protest with Irsa against water releases to Punjab from Tarbela dam, and demanded the authority to stop the release and fill up the dam.
Sindh fears that water release to Punjab might result in 40% less water for crops across the country in the Rabbi season.
Sindh demanded that Irsa release water to Punjab from Mangla, instead of Tarbela dam.
Sindh Irrigation Secretary Khalid Memon told The Express Tribune that it was decided in meeting of Irsa’s advisory committee to fill up Tarbela dam.
“The position of Mangla dam is better and we don’t know why Irsa is giving water to Punjab from Tarbela,” he said, adding that Sindh “wants its share and Irsa should ensure it.”
The provincial government has written to Irsa several times against the ‘unjustified water release’ but the authority never took it seriously, he added.
Punjab uses water stored in Mangla dam while the three other provinces – Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan – use water stored at Tarbela.
Sindh does not receive water from Mangla dam because that would cause water losses ranging between 70 to 80%.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.