HYDERABAD: The flood nightmare is not over for the people of Dadu and Sehwan, as the rising water level of Manchar Lake means bad news for both these towns.
Water is rising at a brisk pace at Manchar and has nearly reached threatening levels, as the floodwater accumulated in the upper areas of Sindh is being discharged into the lake through the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD).
On Saturday, the water level at Manchar was 113.1 RL (reduced level), while the lake’s danger level is considered to be 116 RL.
Currently, the authorities are using the RBOD to release 4,000 cusecs of water - the drain’s maximum capacity - into Manchar. It is feared that an attempt to release more water into the RBOD by breaching it near Faridabad would complicate the situation by causing breaches at different points of the drain.
The water level in the Indus River at Aral Wah Head, the discharge point for Manchar, is hovering at 117.5 RL. If the gates of Aral Wah are opened to ease the pressure, the water in the already swelling lake might overflow and head towards the towns of Dadu and Sehwan, while a town called Bobak would be completely inundated.
In 1994, when the Indus River was in high flood, the authorities were unable to release Manchar Lake’s water into the river. The lake eventually overflowed and inundated the surrounding areas, while the gates of Aral Wah, unable to sustain the pressure, proved ineffective in averting the disaster. The irrigation department later claimed that it has spent Rs10.5 million on the gates’ repair job.
However, sources say they cannot be lifted without the use of heavy machinery.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2010.