Sindh, Punjab to get even more water

IRSA issues rules, regulations for water distribution among two biggest provinces


Zaigham Naqvi June 07, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The country’s water regulator has further increased the water shares of Sindh and Punjab while also issuing rules and regulations with regard to distribution of water to the two biggest provinces.

According to sources, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) increased the water share of Sindh from 115,000 cusecs to 120,000 cusecs and the share of Punjab from 106,000 cusecs to 110,000 cusecs.

This is the third time in a week that Irsa enhanced shares of the provinces in view of improving water situation post rise of temperature in the northern areas and a protest by Sindh over an alleged violation by Irsa of a 1991 agreement on water sharing.

Irsa on Sunday also issued rules and regulations with regard to water sharing, stating that it will distribute water among the provinces under the section 2 of the 1991 agreement.

According to the rules, Punjab can use up to 10,300 cusecs of water at the Taunsa Barrage while it cannot use more than 9,200 cusecs from the Panjnad. This restriction will remain in place till June 8.

Irsa has allowed Sindh to use water for rice crop from Kotri Barrage. The province, however, cannot use water from Guddu and Sukkur barrages for the crop.

Read The plight of water-scarce Tharparkar

The sources said the Punjab government and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) have respectively assigned two and three teams to curb water theft.

They said executive engineers (XEN) have been nominated as water inspectors. However, Sindh has not yet formed any such team. Last week, Irsa made a request to Wapda to appoint Inspectors at nine key locations in the two provinces.

Irsa Chairman Rao Irshad on May 31 wrote a letter to Wapda Chairman Lt General (retired) Muzzamal Hussain and conveyed to him the instructions of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water for appointment of Inspectors at key locations to monitor water discharges.

The letter was written after days of verbal spat between Irsa chairman and Member Sindh Zahid Junejo.
The key six locations in Punjab where Inspectors are to be appointed include Taunsa headway, Rasul headway, Marala headway, Trimmu headway, Chashma Barrage and Panjnad headway whereas in Sindh inspectors will monitor water discharges at Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri Barrages.

According to the sources, technical officials would work as inspectors and monitor the water flows after further increase in water shares of Punjab and Sindh due to better inflows in rivers.

On May 27, the Ministry of Water Resources wrote a letter to Irsa chairman asking him to immediately appoint water Inspectors at key locations of the Indus Basin Irrigation System “to dispel the impression of misreporting within a week's limit".

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