DADU: The outflow of water from Manchar Lake remained minimal on Tuesday with the level of water reaching just six and a half inches below the height at which the lake will overflow.
The inflow of water into the lake through MV drain stands at 40,000 cusecs while the outflow is between 10,000 and 12,000 cusecs. The water is being let out through two gates at Ural head into Indus River in addition to five gates of the Ural tail. To avert any possible damage to the structure of the lake, an additional cut was made close to Ural Mainhead in an effort to increase the outflow. However, there was no substantial increase in the outflow as the water level is already high in the Indus. Alarming levels at the country’s largest fresh water lake are threatening several towns and facilities including Sehwan airport and PARCO oil refinery.
Officials say towns including Bhon and Jhingira are in danger of getting flooded which puts 250,000 people at risk while mass evacuations are under way as floodwaters from various canals have already inundated dozens of villages.
DDO Sehwan Attaullah Shah told Express that the administration had issued an evacuation warning in the UCs Bobak, Channa and Dal four days back as a result of which 40,000 people of a total of 70,000 have already shifted to safer places. Irrigation department officials have been directed to inspect the water levels while a state of emergency has been declared at the lake. Meanwhile more than 250 villages in Juhi area are under water and the land route to Juhi remains suspended.
Polluted effluent from upper Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab was already flowing into the lake and after a breach in Nara Canal’s Tori embankment, water from the canal poured into the lake. Government officials are concerned over the situation and are closely monitoring the water level. To make matters worse, Zero Point Bridge over main Nara Canal has also been washed away.
“Condition of the embankment is deteriorating by the day and we are working hard, with the hope that Allah will protect us,” Haider Ali, a resident, said. In the past few days, water inflow at Manchar Lake has exceeded its outflow by several thousand cusecs per second. As the lake fills to capacity, locals and officials from nearby areas await the government’s response to the situation. Experts say the natural inflow of water should not be hindered as it would benefit the lake’s ecosystem.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2010.