Theft unearthed: Sindh losing share as water goes missing

Published: June 7, 2013
The picture shows a section of dry river Indus bed. All three barrages in Sindh are suffering from water shortages due to discrepancy in river flows between Chashma and Taunsa Barrage. PHOTO: SHAHID ALI/EXPRESS

The picture shows a section of dry river Indus bed. All three barrages in Sindh are suffering from water shortages due to discrepancy in river flows between Chashma and Taunsa Barrage. PHOTO: SHAHID ALI/EXPRESS


At least 30,000 cusecs of water a day is unaccounted for between Chashma Barrage and Taunsa Barrage for over a week now, causing a shortage in all three barrages of Sindh.

“The water is either being stolen or is lost since May 30. Whenever fresh water arrives, a three to five per cent loss is factored in as some of it is absorbed by the embankments and some is lost to evaporation but losses of up to 30,000 cusecs is impossible,” a source in the irrigation department told The Express Tribune.

It is a common practice for influential landlords to divert water towards their lands or illegally suck out water through lift machines, particularly between Chashma and Taunsa and Taunsa and Guddu barrages, he said. This theft ultimately translates into a cut in Sindh’s water share and the authorities are doing nothing to curb this practice, he added.

The Sukkur Barrage control room in-charge, Abdul Aziz Soomro, said that they were concerned over as to where this huge quantity of water is going as it will affect the pond level of Guddu and Sukkur Barrage. He, too, said that a loss of 5,000 to 6,000 cusecs is acceptable but 30,000 cusecs is unfathomable.

Explaining the figures, he said that the travel time between Chashma and Taunsa is around two days and the discrepancy in the flow can be worked out by recording the flow downstream Chahsma, say on May 30,  and upstream Taunsa on Jun 2.

Giving the overall water situation in Sindh, he said that upstream flow at Guddu Barrage was 83,050 cusecs while downstream it was 67,974 cusecs. At Sukkur Barrage, the flow was 67,240 and 24,250 upstream and downstream respectively while at Kotri the upstream flow stood at 11,936 cusecs. No water was being released downstream Kotri, he added.

A representative of the Indus River System Authority, Rana Khalid, however, expressed his ignorance about the matter and said that action would be initiated as and when they receive a report about the water loss.

Evacuation begins as five villages come under water

The rising water levels in the River Indus have weakened the embankments in Qadirpur katcha areas as a result of which five villages have come under water. The villagers have started vacating their houses to shift to a safer place.

The strong water currents have set in motion the erosion process and have put the embankments in the katcha and Qadirpur loop bund under enormous pressure. The affected villages include Janan Chahcar, Habib Chachar, Qaiser Chachar, Mehar Chahcar and Kando Chachar.

The area is lined by makeshift villages that spring up when the water level recedes. They disappear just as quickly when water level rises. These villages, comprising mainly of katcha houses and huts, are mostly set up by nomadic families in the river beds where they also cultivate vegetables and fruits to earn their livelihood.

Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority director Anwar Sial told The Express Tribune that all protective embankments are strong enough to withstand the pressure. He also denied that any erosion has taken place.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, irrigation department was erroneously mentioned as intelligence department. The error is regretted.  

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Shaami
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:27AM

    Theft Unearthed??. ET still dont have any evidence to support the Stolen water theory but here the Punjab is held responsible so these types of news are always endeared to this news outlet.


  • Sindhi Pakistani
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:32AM

    Punjab is stealing water. Clear as daylight. How can 30000 cusecs just disappear?


  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:34AM

    The dilemma of Government Departments is that unless they will not get a written report, they will not move forward take any action, no matter what may happen.

    Had I been the Incharge of Indus River System Authority, I would have immediately suspended the services of Rana Khalid on his ignorance which is causing a great loss for the entire Sindh.


  • Bewildered
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:40AM

    Looks like math was not the reporters favorite subject. The difference is only 15,076 cusecs (83,050 – 67,974 = 15,076), not 30,000 cusecs.


  • Sindhi
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:41AM

    Punjab and even Kashmir have no right on Sindh’s Indus River as it is a Sole property of Sindhis only. Sindhis must take stand as Daryai Sindh from Kashmir to Sindh belongs to them only and Punjab especially have no right even to get a drop of water from property of Sindhis. Sindh should reject all water accords as how come a River named on Sindh can belong to anybody. We should go to the International court of Justice to get our water back.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:48AM

    All the landlords are in the Sindh government. Only Federal government or Supreme Court can do something about it now if it takes notice.Recommend

  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Jun 7, 2013 - 12:53AM

    So you still think India is stealing your water?


  • Salman
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:42AM

    This is how Pubjab is stealing Sindh’s water for years and still wants a cut down in Karachi’s electric and gas supply quota. Needless to talk about stealing Balochistan and KP’s share of resources here.


  • Randomstranger
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:55AM

    No wonder these landlords are so against Kalabagh Dam. Congratulations people of Sindh for electing these same selfish landlords who treat the common folk of Sindh as their serfs. With that said, after 5 years they’d all be blaming Punjab and Punjabis for their woes….

    P.S: I hope moderator lets my comment get through as I did not intend any racist overtones. Just my opinion, which is supposed to be the point of the whole comments section.


  • UK
    Jun 7, 2013 - 2:24AM

    @Sindhi Pakistani:

    Another reason to make make a Seraiki Suba. Taunsa and Chashma both fall under Seraiki Landlords. They are to blame the most for stealing for personal gains.


  • A2Z
    Jun 7, 2013 - 2:58AM

    Perfect example to divide the Pakistanis more on the name of Provinces, Shame on you ET shame.
    Water theft is not problem of provinces but whole Pakistan. The feudal don’t care about provinces nor Pakistan. They are only worried about themselves. Influential landlords are ruling on us in every province who are benefiting from fight between provinces. Instead of highlighting it as a problem of whole Pakistan, you are just labeling it as problem of Sindh. Shame on you


  • Randomstranger
    Jun 7, 2013 - 6:56AM


    Not very smart are you? According to that logic, Nile river, the second largest river in the world is a property of Egypt only.


  • Ricky
    Jun 7, 2013 - 8:20AM

    I appeal to Sindhi folks to have patience. As soon as monsoon start and to avoid flooding upstream they would release all the water downstream. You would have plenty of water like you did a couple of years ago.
    Most people ignored the fact that water is disappearing before it enters Sindh. How can Sindhi landlords stop or steal water prior to entering Sindh? Water in Sindh is only released when the dams are full and there is flooding upstream.


  • Jun 7, 2013 - 11:52AM

    @Sindhi: My dear brother. The river Indus originates in Tibet from Lake Mansarowar and sends out other rivers to different parts of the subcontinent. It runs the entire length of Pakistan and carries different names in the provinces it runs through (Wikipedia, read the first 3 paragraphs).
    Time is on the move. Start living in the present day and start looking about to understand what is going on. Please do not live in the past harnessing yourself to age old traditions and beliefs that do not hold any good today. Today, after religion, education and technology is the deciding factor, not emotions and racism.
    Quote: “You can never plan the future by the past.” Edmund Burke (Brainyquotes)

    @Ahmed: You are 100 percent right. All the feudal lords are in the government and they behave so untruthfully that even a fly will sit on them. The Supreme Court can take action through ‘suo moto’ notices but will it punish? If it does punish, does the GOP have the b—- to carry it through. Salams


  • ali ahmed
    Jun 7, 2013 - 1:10PM

    punjab also stealing gas from sindh


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