Sindh, Punjab and The Water Crisis : Press Report
Sindh, Punjab and the Water Crisis:
A serious situation developing:Press Report
President Zardari’s decision to reduce flows at Taunsa-Panjnad and Stopping water storage in Tarbela angers Punjab:
Muddy waters of politics
Govt moves to mitigate Sindh water crisis
No Taunsa-Panjnad water for Punjab
Furore in PA over water share cut
Stopping water storage in Tarbela
Sindh demands closure of Indus link canals
PML-N and Q slam move to close canal
Magsi accuses irrigation minister of being ‘naïve’
More water for Kharif, power generation
Water distribution as per ’91 accord, says Gilani
Raja contradicts claim by Sindh counterpart
Riaz blames lower May heat for less water
Sindh wants implementation of 1991 Water Accord
New water reservoirs to avoid looming water crisis
Water crisis in Pakistan agriculture
Muddy waters of politics
Transformative endeavours that can reverse the decay and the rot set in our state structure and centre-province relationship are the need of the hour
By Raza Narejo
Enormous space in print media and on news channels has been devoted to the water controversy that surfaced after a statement was attributed to President Asif Zardari about diverting waters from Taunsa-Panjnad canal to Sindh.
The issue which has dominated the political arena since the inception of the country but sharpened during the Zia era is very close to the heart of all and sundry either from Sindh. Dates of water accords, their effects on respective provinces with figures and facts are being profusely written about and alluded to in newspapers, TV channels, among political circles, farming communities, civil society groups and technocrats. On both sides of the divide -- Sindh and Punjab -- there is a plethora of arguments and counter arguments to defend their respective positions. Without determination to resolve the issue, each government from federal to provincial has used this issue for politicking and self aggrandisement rather that addressing the woes of masses. Apart from techno-centric argumentation revolving around this issue, we have to dig deep as to how politics of water has emerged implying emotions, history, ethnic dimension, centre-province relations and domineering role of Punjab in state decision-making processes. How have the rulers manipulated and manoeuvred the water issue to gain their eroding political legitimacy? To what extent have the provisions laid down for the management and distribution of huge water projects (dams) been enforced in letter and spirit? How has water planning and management been tilted towards Punjab by neglecting the other provinces?
Without understanding the formation of 'water politics' and its multiple dimensions, we can never justly approach the issue of water. Figures, facts and accords are not divested of history and politics. All these things are taking place in a certain socio-political context and the interpretation of figures and facts can never be construed as ultimate truth until and unless the complex nature of politics and history are taken into account. Since the 50s and the 60s when IMF and the World Bank initiated their capitalist forays into decadent economies of the third world in general and Pakistan in particular in connivance with ruling elites, mega development projects were designed in a manner that can benefit Punjab.
Punjab was over-represented in each federal entity and that trend is replicated in multinationals, corporations, media and NGOs in the present circumstances.
Non representative governments, bureaucracy dominated by Punjab and ideologues of patriotism defending, protecting, entrenching, deepening and promoting the interest of Punjab laid the basis of endless attrition among provinces. Authoritarian, centrist and unitary mode of decision making at federal level in political and bureaucratic arena has not been reformed even when political leaders from Bengal, Sindh and NWFP kept agitating against this structural anomaly. It has always fallen on deaf ears. In this backdrop, our master in Khakis and ideologues accused the people raising such voices as enemy of state. Till now this trend is so entrenched in the minds and hearts of the patrons of patriotism and ideology that such voices are always painted with the stroke of being unpatriotic.
After the dismemberment when Mr Bhutto had the opportunity to reform the inherently biased, despotic and hegemonic nature of institutions to create the aura of inclusion, he not only continued with same structural flaws in our socio-political institutions and decision-making processes but also adopted the policy to appease Punjab to enhance his own political stakes in the province. So the single opportunity that emerged from the crises also waned at the altar of the self-centred and hegemonic tendencies of politicians wielding power.
Bhutto era that dawned political change in behaviour and attitudes of the people could not make a dent in dispensation of state institutions that was the need of the hour. In a bicameral system, national assembly has an effective and categorical role in decision making where the number of MNAs from the three provinces is less than it is from Punjab. Senate where the principle of proportionate or equivalent representation of all provinces is upheld is stripped of powers to strike some balance. Federal legislative lists empowers the centre to dispense with all financial and developmental issues without giving a semblance of power to the provinces. The concurrent list that delegates some powers to the province has yet to see the daylight.
Whatever may have gone wrong with the democratic government, the people have been heard in one way or the other. Further political system and culture could have refined and strengthened through evolutionary process that has been disrupted by our self-serving and self-righteous general in the name of prime national interest. Usurpation of peoples' power by Zia dashed the hopes of people for change in the structural imbalances accumulated in the state institutions over the decades. He recklessly and ruthlessly held the reins of power for 11-odd years. He played havoc with everything that gave hope of a just and transformed federation that would fairly deal with provinces. His myopic, authoritarian and obscurantist approach reflected in each and every aspect of the national life. To obstruct the onslaught of democratic forces against military regime he added new dimensions like sectarianism, ethnicity, theological reinterpretation of religion in state affairs and tempering with constitution.
Muddy waters of politics in Pakistan became messier than before to sail through. Apart from disastrous trends in our polity, Zia tried to forcibly impose the Kalabagh Dam that was resisted by three small provinces but Sindh remained at the forefront. It was part of his insidious designs to teach lessons to people of Sindh for taking active part in the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD). He adopted cavalier and highhanded tools to muffle voices of vociferous Sindhis by introducing controversial projects like Kalabagh Dam.
The people of Sindh perceived this threat not only from the army general but also from the Punjabi-dominated military institution that was perceptibly the saviour of Punjabi interests. This dealt a severe blow to any possibility of provincial harmony. Since the separatist movement of Bengal army was characterised as Punjabi army and with every passing day, particularly during the Zia era, military has strengthened this concept by unleashing powers against Sindhis and the Baloch.
The people of Sindh believe the democratic interregnum of Benazir and Nawaz would not change the attrition set in by authoritarian governments. Whether it is a common observer or a scholar, everyone would agree that the so-called democratic government worked under the tutelage of army and they utterly failed to address the rot gnawing the very basis of federation. They could not inspire the confidence of the small provinces, particularly Sindh, give a level-playing field or provide an atmosphere of fair-play to them. Thus over-centralisation of state, presumably manipulated by one province, has made the people of Sindh apprehensive and skeptical.
Skepticism is the political response by Sindh whenever any decision regarding the province takes place at the federal level.
Again, the Musharaf regime also used arm twisting and muscle flexing techniques to deal with Sindh and Balochistan. Through a corrupt lot the former army general tried to sell the idea of Kalabagh Dam and began coercive consultations at district level but voices of dissent were raised even in manufactured consultative gatherings. Present government has changed its positions on weekly basis, sometimes rolling back the project of Kalabagh Dam and sometimes retaining this plank to strike a balance in point scoring with the competing party in Punjab. Incoherent and inconsistent approach of this government has let down the people of Sindh.
In this gamut of affairs, authoritarian and centrist tendencies have laid the basis of chauvinistic, reductionist and parochial politics where the agenda of people stand nowhere. The formation of this politics over the decades has led to a deep-rooted mistrust that is reflected in the persistent protest against unfair water distribution and water related projects. Any attempt by the federal government to bring about a new arrangement will never inspire confidence in Sindh until and unless the entire state structure, institutional dispensation and modes of decision making are not transformed. Transformative endeavours are the need of the hour that can reverse the decay and rot set in our state structure and centre-province relationship. Leadership of all mainstream political parties must put heads together to chalk out roadmap for transformation that can build the trust of people in state institutions and decision making process otherwise each step will meet the same fate what we have observed in the past and keep observing in our routine affairs. Chaotic diversity of political perspectives does not allow any decision, agenda or scheme to put forward a consensus building process. Antagonistic opinions could be translated in meaningful actions once the state carves out new ways of doing things. Only reviewing and redesigning exercise of water distribution will go into vain. Mistrust and skepticism are so deep seated that it will require reconstitution and overhaul of state institutions. Any effort falling short of this will never serve the cause to ameliorate the situation. All parties should come forward to play their role to detach federation from the gruesome baggage of past and show a strong commitment and dedication towards the transformation of state institutions.
The News on Sunday July 12,2009
Govt moves to mitigate Sindh water crisis
The meeting, held at Bilawal House in Karachi, was informed that because of a dip in the Indus River, Sindh was expected to face massive water shortages. - APP photo
KARACHI: In order to overcome an expected water shortage in Sindh, a meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari decided on Wednesday to reduce flows in Taunsa-Panjnad, and if needed, close it.
Analysts believe that the decision could have a far-reaching impact on the water-sharing issues between the provinces.According to officials, the meeting held at the Bilawal House decided to stop further storage of water in Tarbela to meet requirements downstream.
The Sindh Minister for Irrigation and Power, Syed Murad Ali Shah, had raised the issue of expected shortages at a meeting with President Zardari on Saturday, prompting the president to call the Wednesday meeting.The meeting was informed that because of a dip in the Indus, Sindh was expected to face massive shortages.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Sardar Assef Ali, federal minister for fisheries, the president’s Secretary General Salman Farooqui and the special assistant to the prime minister on water resources.President Zardari stressed the need for utilising drip and sprinkle irrigation techniques and for using high potency seeds.
He said the government’s land grant policy should focus on womenfolk because the objective of the scheme was to empower women through sustainable development.The president asked the authorities concerned to initiate a study on Manchhar lake and find ways to rid it of polluted water.According to officials, the meeting approved the construction of Karachi-Hyderabad motorway (M9) at a cost of Rs8 billion. Work on the project will start in October this year and will be completed by Oct 2011.
A package of Rs24 billion was also approved by the president for road projects in Larkana.The meeting decided to upgrade the Karachi Fish Harbour to meet EU’s standards. Mr Zardari asked the provincial government to accelerate fish production in rural areas.A welfare plan for improving income opportunities for Sindh’s fishermen was also approved.President Zardari was briefed on projects worth Rs4 billion pertaining to the fisheries sector.
DAWN:Thursday, 25 Jun, 2009
Go To Top
No Taunsa-Panjnad water for Punjab
By: Zamir Sheikh
KARACHI - A high-level meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday decided to overcome water shortage in Sindh by reducing the flows of Taunsa-Panjnand, and if needed be closed.
Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri said this at a media briefing after the meeting was held at Bilawal House to discuss water shortage in the province. The meeting was informed that due to lack of water in River Indus, Sindh was expected to face acute water shortage.
Provincial Minister for Irrigation and Power, Syed Murad Ali Shah, had raised the issue of expected water shortages in a meeting with President Zardari on June 20 and in the light of that the latter called an urgent meeting here on Wednesday.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat ul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali, ministers, Secretary General to President, Salman Farooqui, officials of the ministry of water and power, IRSA and WAPDA also attended the meeting.
It was decided in the meeting that there would be no further storage in Tarbela, which had started from 17th June due to some technical problem in turbines. The decision to stop storing water in Tarbela was taken to meet the requirements of people in the downstream.
President Zardari reiterated the commitment to serve people as per the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He issued special directives to ensure that the land-grant policy should focus on women in particular.
The President also gave directives to initiate a study on Manchar Lake and find ways to cleanse the polluted water even if it flows to the sea. “The sea must not be polluted with acid water”, she said while quoting the President.
About National Highway Authority, the major decisions taken regarding construction of highways were to immediately start work on Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M9) at a cost of Rs8 billion. Work on M9 will start in October 2009 and is expected to complete by the end of 2011.
The President also approved a comprehensive uplift package worth over Rs24 billion for Larkana.
A special meeting on fisheries was held as a follow-up of President’s visit to the European Union (EU) in which it was decided that the Karachi Fish Harbour would be upgraded in accordance with the EU requirements. The President directed Sindh government to accelerate the fish production in rural Sindh. It was also decided that a welfare plan would be designed for the fishermen in Sindh, which would ensure better income opportunities for them. Besides, the fishermen, who were facing huge financial losses due to the closure of fishing work, will be compensated through Benazir Income Support Programme.
The Nation: June 25, 2009
Go To Top
Furore in PA over water share cut
By: Mubashir Hassan
LAHORE - The reported curtailment of Punjab share of water and giving it to Sindh province sparked strong reaction in Punjab Assembly on Thursday, where legislators excluding those of PPP, resented the decision by delivering fiery speeches.
Majority of members were furious over the development and resented the reported decision made in a high level meeting chaired by President Zardari the other day of reducing water flows from Taunsa and Panjnad for Punjab and halting water storage at Tarbella in order to overcome water shortage in Sindh.
Though, the Irrigation Minister Raja Riaz, who belongs to PPP, assured the House that Punjab had not been deprived of its due share of water, the legislators clung to the demand of moving a resolution in the House to lodge protest with the federal government. The minister insisted that not even one percent of Punjab water was being given to any province. He pledged on floor of the House that he would resign as irrigation minister, if what he was saying turned out to be untrue later on.
He said there was no need to bring any resolution in the House in this regard.
Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly, Ch Zaheeruddin wanted the resolution to be passed by the assembly in any case despite assurance by the irrigation minister.
The Treasury was visibly divided on the issue, as assembly saw members from PML-N and PML-Q joining hands against PPP lawmakers, who had to do a lot of explaining over it after the combined onslaught by the two leagues.
Senior Advisor to Punjab CM, Zulfiqar Khosa, however, managed to control the situation, when he told the House that he had just received a written message from Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif that Government would come up with its response over the issue on Friday (today) after consulting the ederal government. He said Punjab CM has also called an emergency meeting in the evening to ponder the situation and to resolve the conflict. This helped blocking of assembly resolution for at least one day; because, if it had been passed, as desired by the Opposition, it would not only have caused much embarrassment to the PPP, but also have put the future of coalition government in Punjab at a stake.
It was Mian Muhammad Shafi of PML-Q, who raised the issue on assembly floor on a point of order, citing the decision of a high level meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi the other day. Another opposition member Mohsin Khan Leghari supported him. He said it would be highly unfair to deprive Punjab of its due share of water as the province was already facing acute water shortage. Opposition leader Ch Zaheeruddin said that decisions regarding Punjab’s water share should be made in Punjab. He said Punjab Government should take this issue very seriously before it was too late. He feared wide spread agitation in Punjab if the decision was not reverted. He also opposed halting of water storage at Tarbella, saying that it would affect generation of electricity.
Zaheer said he was astonished to see President Zardari, “who was now on a visit to Pakistan”, taking such decisions oblivious of their consequences.
A PML-N legislator Waris Kallu diverted House’s attention towards another dimension of the issue in question, saying that Punjab had nothing to do with the subject matter, as IRSA was the right forum to settle water disputes among provinces. He, however, supported other MPAs on the issue.
Kallo spoke in favour of Kalabagh Dam, while asserting that no one would be allowed to deprive Punjab of its due share of water. Taking part in the debate, Senior Advisor to Punjab government Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa challenged President Zardari’s authority to make such unilateral decisions. He called for convening of an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet to discuss the situation. He also asked Punjab
Minister for Irrigation to take up the issue with Prime Minister.
Responding to the concern shown by legislators, Raja Riaz told the House that President Zardari had directed IRSA authorities to ensure implementation of 1991 water accord, regarding distribution of water among the provinces, besides giving Sindh its share of water from Mangla Dam.The President had also directed IRSA not to store extra water at Tarbela till the water situation in Sindh gets improved, he added. Raja asked the
chair to fix a day to hold debate on the issue. Ch Javed reminded irrigation minister that according to the Water Accord of 1991, Punjab had exclusive rights over water of Mangla Dam. As the issue was being hotly debated among the lawmakers, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan intervened to add more fuel to the fire by saying, “We all should get united to avert an dacoity on the rights of Punjab”. He also asked Raja Riaz to join hands with other legislators since he was also a Punjabi. He also asked irrigation minister to collect details from federal government about the decision. The use of word “dacoity” by the Speaker irked displeasure of Raja Riaz, who lodge protest with Rana Iqbal over it.
Raja told the Speaker that like him, he was also a Punjabi and if he (Speaker) was a Rana, then he was also a Rana. The Speaker later apologised to Raja Riaz over use of the word “dacoity”.
The Nation: Published: June 26, 2009
Go To Top
Stopping water storage in Tarbela:
Not even 1% of Punjab’s water being cut: Riaz
* Senior minister says he will resign if province’s water share is reduced
* Khosa says Riaz should contact PM and tell him not to implement decision
By Rana Kashif
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PML-Quaid (PML-Q) stood united in the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Thursday against the release of Punjab’s water to Sindh.
Both parties strongly opposed Wednesday’s decision at a high level meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari. The meeting had decided to reduce the flow of Taunsa-Punjnad, and even to close it if needed.
While defending the president’s decision, Senior Minister Raja Riaz, who is also the PPP’s parliamentary leader in the PA, said, “To heck with this ministry if any wrong is attributed to my party, which is the largest political party of the country.”
Assurance: Riaz, who is also Punjab’s irrigation minister, said he could assure the House that not even one percent of Punjab’s water was being reduced, and he would resign from the ministry if the water was reduced.
The debate started when opposition MPA Mian Muhammad Shafi, speaking on a point of order, said according to press reports a high-level meeting chaired by Zardari had decided that since Sindh was expected to face acute water shortage, there would be no further water storage in Tarbela.
He said Zardari had directed the IRSA authorities to ensure water distribution among the provinces in line with the 1991 Water Accord, and Sindh’s due share from Mangla Dam. He demanded that a separate day be fixed for debate on the issue. Opposition MPA Mohsin Leghari said the decision was surprising given that Punjab was already facing a shortage of water. Leader of the Opposition in the PA Chaudhry Zaheerud Din said decisions about Punjab’s water should be made in Punjab, and immediate notice should be taken. Leghari said stopping the storage of water in Tarbela would shut down the turbines, and there would be no electricity generation. He said there was already a great shortage of electricity, and stopping the water would lead to a complete blackout in Punjab.
PML-N MPA Muhammad Waris Kahlo said the matter was to be decided by IRSA, and not Punjab. However, he said, no one would be allowed to deprive Punjab of its waters. He said the Kalabagh Dam, which was the need of the hour, was not being built, and now Punjab’s water was also being cut.
Contact PM: PML-N Punjab President and Senior Adviser to the Punjab government Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa said it was the matter of all Punjab, and the president should not take such decisions unilaterally. He appealed that a meeting of the federal cabinet be called immediately to discuss the issue. He said the irrigation minister should contact the prime minister (PM) and inform him that this should not be done.
MPA Chaudhry Javed said according to the water accord, it was only Punjab that had right on the water of the Mangla Dam, and Punjab’s water would not be given to anyone.
In reply, Riaz said Punjab was getting its full share of water.Riaz said ‘tonga’ parties should not tell the PPP that it was discriminating against any province.
Zaheer said the practice of disgracing political parties in the House should be stopped, adding that the opposition was playing a constructive role in the assembly.
Meanwhile, Speaker Rana Iqbal asked what the solution should be if all that was being reported in the media was true. At this the opposition said, “Resign.”
Addressing the senior minister, the speaker said, “You also belong to Punjab and in case someone usurps the rights of Punjab and a dacoity is committed, we will have to collectively stop it.” He directed the minister to investigate the matter.
Khosa said if the senior minister’s words had hurt the opposition, he apologised on behalf of the minister and his own party. Riaz said he regretted that the speaker had used the word ‘dacoity’, and said, “Mr speaker, if you are a Punjabi, then I am also a Punjabi, and if you are a Rana, then I am also a Rana.” He said that there was no need to bring any resolution about the issue.
The speaker said he apologised if his words had hurt Riaz’s feelings. Khosa said he had received a message from the Punjab chief minister that he would be holding a meeting on Thursday evening and its report would be presented in today’s (Friday) proceedings of the House.
Daily Times: Friday, June 26, 2009
Sindh demands closure of Indus link canals
Sindh Irrigation Minister Murad Ali Shah said Indus flow was the worst in five years, causing serious problems for the Kharif crop. He said that as of June 10, Sindh suffered 24pc shortage as compared to 14pc by Punjab. - APP/File photo
KARACHI: Despite opposition from Punjab, Sindh feels justified in pleading for closing Taunsa-Panjnad and Panjnad link canals and for a reduction in the indent of other provinces as the crop season in Sindh begins earlier.
Amid raging controversy on the water issue owing to an abnormal fall in the flow of Indus river, official sources on Thursday justified the demand as it was in line with a report of the 2005 technical committee on water resources.
Among other things, the report had maintained that the ‘lower Punjab tributary areas linked to Indus through the Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjnad links cannot be treated as a permanent burden on Indus main’.
The link canals are inter-provincial canals and should be regulated as such. Instead of regulating these canals on the basis of the indent of one province, the Indus River System Authority should operate them on the basis of equitable distribution under the Water Accord on all Pakistan basis.
They were reacting to the sudden outburst in Punjab assembly against Wednesday’s decision to give immediate relief to Sindh by reducing the flows in Taunsa-Panjnad and, if needed, by closing the canal.
The decision to iron out differences was taken at a meeting chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi.
Sindh Irrigation Minister Murad Ali Shah said Indus flow was the worst in five years, causing serious problems for the Kharif crop.
He pointed out that despite a very low discharge at Tarbela, the decision to raise pond level, due to silt entry in power plant turbine, from RL 1369.55 to 1375.50 from June 17 to 22 raised alarm bells as flows to Sindh from Chashma had been cut on June 18.
Mr Shah said in his presentation to the president he had pointed out that Sindh feared that there would be reduction in its canals to the extent of 40 per cent — from 132,000 to 80,000 cusecs.
This could damage cotton and sugarcane crops, besides hampering paddy and cotton sowing in upper Sindh.
In view of the situation, Sindh had proposed that the Taunsa-Panjnad link be closed and Panjnad canal should be fed from Jehlum-Chenab rivers, including Mangla.
The shortfall in Sindh should be augmented from Mangla having 2.773 MAF storage on June 20, compared to last year’s 2.028 MAF on the same date in 2008.
Sindh has suggested that Punjab canals on Indus should proportionately share losses with Sindh canals.
The province contends that the Indus basin is a contiguous system. It argues that since shortages in eastern rivers are supplemented from Indus through the two link canals, shortages in Indus should be supplemented by the eastern rivers through Panjnad.In this context, it was claimed that in 2008, when there was less storage in Mangla, transfer of water was allowed through the CJ link and the shortage was supplemented from Indus.
The sources said that Mangla storage on June 20 was 2.773 MAF as against 2.028 on the same date last year.Justifying the demand, Mr Shah said that a total of 2.227 MAF had been transferred from Indus to eastern rivers through the two link canals in the current Kharif season.
Sindh had raised concerns but they were ignored by Irsa, official sources said that if Sindh’s concerns were heeded to, there would have been 2.227 MAF in Tarbela. This would have offset the reduced flow in Indus.He said that as of June 10, Sindh suffered 24 per cent shortage as compared to 14 per cent by Punjab.Sindh maintains that balancing of supplies should be done during the sowing period, and not at a later stage.
DAWN: Friday, 26 Jun, 2009
Go To Top
PML-N and Q slam move to close canal
By Intikhab Hanif
President Zardari had decided to to reduce flows in Taunsa-Panjnad to meet requirements downstream because Sindh was expected to face massive shortages of up to 40 per cent. — APP/File photo.
LAHORE: The PML-N and PML-Q were up in arms in the Punjab assembly on Thursday over the reported decision of Irsa taken at a meeting presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari to give ‘Punjab’s share of water to Sindh’ by closing the Taunsa-Panjnad canal.
Legislators belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party remained silent and no one, including Speaker Rana Iqbal, appeared to believe provincial Irrigation Minister Raja Riaz’s statement that ‘not a single drop of water is being given to Sindh out of Punjab’s share’.
And to counter an insistent Raja Riaz, the PML-N senior minister read out a message from Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif that he had called a meeting of experts and assembly members in the evening to investigate the matter. ‘Findings of the meeting will be submitted in the house on Friday,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Irsa Chairman Bashir Ahmad Dahir told Dawn that neither the water of any province was being diverted to Sindh nor the canal was being closed for the purpose.The issue was raised in the provincial assembly by PML-Q’s Mian Shafi, who quoted press reports questioning the authority of Irsa to take the decision.
‘Our rights have been usurped. All canals have been closed,’ he said.
Waris Kallo of the PML-N said that according to the reported decision, Sindh would get an additional 25,000 cusecs of water, rendering the entire Punjab barren.
‘This is a great injustice to Punjab, which will never be tolerated,’ he said, adding that Irsa had no right to take such a decision.PML-Q’s Mohsin Leghari added fuel to the fire by saying the Taunsa-Panjnad canal had already been closed to benefit Sindh.
Opposition leader Chaudhry Zaheer regretted that the decision about Punjab had been taken somewhere else. ‘We shared our water with Sindh in the past and it would have been better if the decision was taken by Punjab itself. President Zardari came from abroad and took this decision,’ he remarked.Sardar Zulfikar Khosa of the PML-N said water was distributed among the four provinces under an accord and the president had no authority to unilaterally take the decision.
He urged the house to request the federal government to immediately convene a meeting of the cabinet or the Council of Common Interests. He also asked the irrigation minister to contact the prime minister for sorting out differences.Raja Riaz said that Punjab’s water was not being given to Sindh. ‘I will resign if it happens.’
He said the country was facing water shortages because of a reduction in the water level by 90 feet in Tarbela. The level had now started rising because of an improvement in inflows and conditions would further improve over the next two days, he added.But while giving the assurance, the minister took exception to what he said allegations against President Zardari for taking the ‘unjust’ decision. ‘PPP has its roots in all provinces. We have given blood for the country, what to talk of water,’ he said.
Chaudhry Zaheer said no one had criticised the president. ‘We and Mr Khosa just talked of our rights.’Mr Khosa urged the irrigation minister to obtain a technical report of the current water situation and present facts to the house after comparing it with the figures of last year.‘Please do not mislead the house if the press has shown irresponsibility in giving the news.’
The advice from the chair and Mr Khosa angered the minister. He protested over the speaker’s remarks that someone was ‘snatching’ the rights of Punjab. ‘Trust my words that Punjab will not lose even a single drop of water,’ he said.
DAWN: Thursday, 25 Jun, 2009
Go To Top
Magsi accuses irrigation minister of being ‘naïve’
By Habib Khan Ghori
Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro presides over the session of the provincial assembly in Karachi. - APP photo
KARACHI: Food Minister Sardar Nadir Ali Magsi has accused provincial Irrigation Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah of ‘being naive’ in matters of irrigation, while alleging that a new proposed project for the construction of a canal was only being funded so that those ‘with vested interests’ could obtain land near it and deprive areas currently under cultivation.
Mr Magsi was speaking during the general discussion on the Sindh budget at the Sindh Assembly on Thursday. Discussion continued on a day where 26 MPAs spoke on the budget, bringing the total number of speakers on the matter to 105. Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro presided over the session from 11.30am to 8pm, and adjourned proceedings till 9am on Friday.
The day was marked by Mr Magsi’s dissenting voice, who minced no words in alleging that his district, newly carved out Kamber and Shahdadkot, was being ‘totally ignored’.
He said that the development schemes, including proposals for schools, hospitals and roads, that he had submitted were not approved. He added that the bordering areas around his district, Jafarabad and Jhal Magsi (both in Balochistan), were ‘far more developed’ than his area.
He said the Saifullah Magsi canal had been built in the PPP’s earlier tenure in government and had been named after his father. He said there are currently complaints that water from the canal is being stolen by people in Balochistan, and hence a new canal scheme has been included in the budget.
It was here that he criticised the irrigation minister and asserted that he had ‘not even been consulted regarding the project’, despite the fact that it fell in his district. He alleged that those with ‘vested interests’ would have the land near the canal allotted to them and would then deprive the land currently under cultivation by stealing water.
He called for people in his area to raise the issue, as it was ‘a matter of their survival’, adding that he had taken up the matter with President Asif Ali Zardari, who had ordered that work be stopped on the canal. He asked if the canal scheme had been dropped by the late Benazir Bhutto when she was in government, why it was being built now.
Speaking later in the session, Irrigation Minister Shah said that there was no doubt that the PPP had opposed the Thal canal when the project began, but as over Rs8 billion had been spent on it so far by other regimes, the expenditure could not be allowed to go to waste.
DAWN: Friday, 26 Jun, 2009
Go To Top
More water for Kharif, power generation
By Kalbe Ali
View of Tarbela lake. The water level in Tarbela Dam is at 1,405 feet against its dead level of 1,369 feet.—APP/File
ISLAMABAD: Rising temperatures in the Himalayas are melting more snow and recent rains almost all over Pakistan have improved inflows in rivers, making available more water for irrigation for the Kharif season and hydroelectric generation.
Water inflows in rivers rose by more than 33 per cent to 178,300 cubic feet per second on Saturday compared to the same date last year.
The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) said that more water was available now for irrigation during the Kharif season. Water supply for Sindh’s Kharif crops has already commenced since the start of this month. The increase in inflows can also improve hydroelectric generation when water will be released for Punjab next month. The country is currently experiencing an electricity shortage of 3,000 megawatts.
The Irsa said water levels at all three main water reservoirs were well above the dead level and more than last year. The water level in Tarbela Dam is at 1,405 feet against its dead level of 1,369 feet, it is at 1,135 feet at Tarbela against its dead level of 1,040 feet. Water level in Chashma reservoir is 649 feet against its dead level of 637 feet.
Citing a reduction in Sindh’s demand for irrigation water, an official of the food and agriculture ministry said that recent rains would recharge reservoirs because outflows had reduced.‘Apart from Sindh, water demand during this season is mainly from orchards in Punjab and those growing fodder on commercial basis,’ said a senior official of the ministry.
The inflow in Tarbela Dam was 53,900 cusecs against an outflow of 15,000 cusecs, inflow in Indus River at Chashma was 107,700 cusecs and an outflow of 81,700 cusecs, inflow at Mangla was 54,800 cusecs and outflow was 34,600 cusecs.
The inflow in Chenab at Head Marala was 16,300 cusecs against the outflow of 8,700 cusecs. Irsa officials said that water reservoirs would have 38 per cent more water this year than last year .Referring to water availability, an Irsa official said that that the flow downstream of Kotri Barrage had also increased to almost 5,000 cusecs compared to 3,100 last year.
DAWN: Sunday, 19 Apr, 2009
Go To Top
Water distribution as per ’91 accord, says Gilani
By Ahmad Hassan
The premier said he would soon chair a meeting of the Indus River System Authority and the Ministry of Water and Power and parliamentarians having reservations over water distribution would also be invited. - APP photo
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani admitted in the National Assembly on Friday that there was a serious dispute among the provinces over water, but assured the house that distribution would be on the basis of the 1991 accord reached during the tenure of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He said there was temporary shortage which was now over. He categorically stated that the water share of one province would not be diverted to another.Mr Gilani said he was in contact with the Punjab chief minister and had also held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari over the issue. ‘The 1991 water accord would be followed and there should be no doubt about it.’
He said he would soon chair a meeting of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) and the Ministry of Water and Power and parliamentarians having reservations over water distribution would also be invited.Referring to a complaint about non-representation of Fata legislators and women in the parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms, he said the issue should be discussed with the speaker in her chamber.
He said that besides private members day there should be a day for adjournment motions in order to make parliament strong and more effective.After a two-week debate on the budget, lawmakers agreed to set aside the normal agenda, including question hour, and deliberated for three hours on points of order.
Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that although the opposition had allowed the budget to be passed without hindrance, it would monitor the implementation of the budget which contained some ‘serious errors’.
Chaudhry Nisar said that every figure the house had passed was sacrosanct and ‘we will make sure that no one violates it or shows any laxity in its implementation’.Legislators belonging to both sides complained about usurpation of water share of one province or the other.JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the NWFP had been deprived of its share of water from Chashma Right Bank Canal by excessive releases at Taunsa and Chashma barrages.
Abdul Ghani Talpur of the PPP complained about the shortage of water in Sindh, Riaz Pirzada and Sardar Bahadur Sehar of the PML-Q raised the issue of reduced flow in Bhawalpur canals and Chaudhry Saood of the PML-N said the people of Bhawalpur and Choolistan were facing hardship because of scarcity of water.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement criticised the government for not taking seriously the issue of prolonged loadshedding in Karachi and sought an assurance from the prime minister about solving the problem.
The prime minister said that Water and Power Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf would respond to MQM’s complaint. But the minister kept quiet, prompting Minister for Shipping and Ports Babar Ghauri to bring the matter to the notice of the speaker.The chair ruled that a minister could not ask another minister to explain something on the floor of the house and adjourned the house till Monday evening.
MQM lawmakers twice registered their protest against what they called the government’s apathy towards the hardship being faced by the people of Karachi because of continuing power outages.ANP dissident Khawaja Mohammad Khan Hoti caused a furore when he complained that only a select group of lawmakers were allowed to speak on the budget. He accused the authorities of being involved in kidnapping for ransom in the NWFP.
DAWN: Saturday, 27 Jun, 2009
Go To Top
Raja contradicts claim by Sindh counterpart
By Amjad Mahmood
Sindh Irrigation Minister Murad Ali Shah, in a presentation to President Zardari, said Mangla had 2.77MAF water on June 20 compared with 2.03MAF on the corresponding day last year. - File photo
LAHORE: Punjab Irrigation Minister Raja Riaz says the water level in reservoirs is low because this year’s comparatively less hot season did not melt ice on mountains, while his counterpart in Sindh Murad Ali Shah claims that the Mangla dam this year has more water than the previous year’s. One wonders who to believe and who not.
Raja Riaz on Friday told the Punjab Assembly, which saw the PML-N members silencing their voices on the issue that relatively cold season in May and June this year hit the ice melting process and resultantly river flows. He said the water inflow at Mangla was 45,000 cusecs on June 20 this year compared with 49,000 cusecs at the same time of previous year.
But Murad Shah, in a presentation to President Asif Zardari in Karachi the other day, said Mangla had 2.773 million acre feet water on June 20 compared with 2.028 MAF on the corresponding day last year.
The Raja also offered to resign his seat if even one cusec of Punjab’s share was cut for Sindh, while according to a TV report a notification of the Indus River System Authority received by Wapda says that water supply to Punjab has been reduced by 1,000 cusecs.
Defending President Zardari, Raja Riaz said the president issued no instructions.
According to him, what transpired in the Karachi IRSA meeting, in which representative of Punjab was not invited, was that water outflow from Tarbela was started at 1,374 MAF storage against the earlier decision of waiting for the water level to reach 1,380 MAF level.
However, the minister said, the outflow would be in proportion to the inflow to maintain the water level in the reservoir. He assured the house that water would reach Taunsa-Panjnad and related canals by Tuesday. On Thursday, he had set the deadline for Saturday.
Opposition leader Chaudhry Zaheeruddin pointed out the contradiction in the irrigation minister’s statements and demanded that the chief minister himself should make a commitment to the house that the province’s share would not be compromised.
Pointing to the interruptions by several PPP MPAs, he regretted that the opposition was not being allowed to speak its mind against the treasury’s earlier promises to fully discuss the issue in the house.
The ruling PML-N that had been siding with the opposition on the issue a day earlier seemed believing the assurance given by the prime minister in a phone talk with the chief minister that Punjab would be given its due water share as except senior adviser Sirdar Zulfikar Khosa none other took part (interest) in the discussion on the issue.
Mr Khosa held Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri’s statement and exclusion of Punjab’s representative from IRSA’s Karachi meeting responsible for the doubts created about the current water distribution operation.
He made it clear that they would have no objection if the water scarcity was shared by all the federating units as per agreed water distribution formula, but they would mind Punjab being made to bear all the losses.
Challenging the figures given by the irrigation minister, opposition’s Mohsin Leghari said 89 per cent of the Indus water was going downstream to Sindh as Taunsa-Panjnad link canal was flowing at one fourth of its designed capacity -- 2,900 cusecs against 14,000 cusecs. Quoting figures from Taunsa Barrage, he alleged that Sindh was being given 32,000 cusecs extra water as losses were not being equally shared between the two provinces in accordance with the 1991 formula.
As Q League’s Malik Sher Ali alleged that Sindh was occupying Balochistan’s share of water (1,200 cusecs) and was now robbing Punjab of its share, PPP’s Shaukat Basra cried that the opposition benches were anti-Punjab and anti-state and wanted to pitch the federating units against each other.
Almost all the PPP members started shouting the slogan ‘Musharraf ka jo yaar hay, ghaddar hay ghaddar hay’ (Whosoever is Musharraf’s friend is a traitor).
DAWN: Saturday, 27 Jun, 2009
Go To Top
Riaz blames lower May heat for less water
LAHORE: The month of May this year was not as hot as previous years, and that resulted in less water entering the rivers, Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz told the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Friday. Riaz said no one could use Punjab’s water share, and enough water was being given to the province. He said the current water shortage would end by next Tuesday. The senior minister said the comparatively moderate weather in May meant that the glaciers and snow peaks melted later than usual. He said the late melting of glaciers resulted in the water level in the Tarbela Dam falling to 106,800 cusecs on June 17 compared to 150,000 cusecs on June 7. Similarly, water flow into the River Sindh at Tarbela remained only 113,400 cusecs on June 20, whereas it was 285,000 cusecs in June last year. Likewise, the water flow into River Chenab fell to 24,876 cusecs on June 20 as compared to June 6 when the inflow was 52,000 cusecs.He said the water discharge from Tarbela was stopped immediately as silt was entering the spillways and experts had said the water discharge could not be started again until it reached the minimum level again, and this would take 14 to 15 days. The minister said the water from River Sindh was distributed for Punjab and for Sindh with 32 percent reduction. He said according to the formula, the indent of Punjab was 39,700 cusecs, 170,000 cusecs for Sindh, and the fixed share of both the provinces was 27,000 cusecs for Punjab and 116,000 cusecs for Sindh. Riaz said the Meteorological Department had forecast that the situation would improve after June 25. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa said the prime minister has assured the chief minister the issue would be resolved. nauman tasleem.
The News: Saturday, June 27, 2009
Go To Top
Sindh wants implementation of 1991 Water Accord’
Punjab’s toxic water has destroyed 75,000 acres in Sindh’
By Imtiaz Ali
Sindh doesnot want “acrimony and misunderstanding” among the provinces over the distribution of water, said Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on Friday while winding up the general discussion on the provincial budget 2009-10 at the Sindh Assembly.
In an apparent reference to the recent protest by Punjab’s legislators over the alleged curtailment of their province’s share of water, the CM said that being a lower riparian, Sindh was also facing a shortage of water.
He said that they wanted the implementation of the 1991 Water Accord. He disclosed that the Balochistan chief minister had called him up the other day, complaining about the reduction of the water flow from Pat Feeder. He said that he had issued instructions to give Balochistan its share of water.
Shah said that the shortage of water was not the result of any fault on the part of Sindh, adding that the province was considering initiating “drip irrigation” due to the shortage of water and had also approached China for this purpose.
He said that huge tracts of lands in the province could not be irrigated owing to the water shortage. He hoped that the water situation would improve with the start of the rains.
Opposition leader Jam Madad regretted the protest by Punjab on the water issue. “The vehemence with which Punjab has protested reflects that it does not consider itself a big brother,” he said. “It shows that Punjab considers itself a ‘separate entity. Such protests further increase the importance of provincial autonomy.”
Irrigation Minister Murad Ali Shah, while giving a statement before the House and later talking to media, said that Sindh’s share was 130,000 cusecs but it was getting 95,000 cusecs since June 10 because of a dip in the Indus river system. He said that as per the 1991 Water Accord, the provinces had to share the shortage of water, and this shortage was natural. “We are finding the best possible ways to overcome this problem,” he said, adding that Balochistan was also sharing the shortage.
He said that when the dip occurred in the Indus on June 10, Sindh approached the Indus River System Authority (Irsa), which held a meeting on June 25 with regard to sharing water among the provinces. He said that the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) was also asked to attend the meeting as it was filling the Tarbela dam because of the accumulation of silt in its turbine.
He said that Wapda was increasing its level, which was harmful for Sindh. Since the turbine had been maintained, storage in Tarbela was being reduced, he said, adding that when the dip occurred, every province had to bear its effect, and that, the issue has now been resolved.
He explained that Irsa had taken this decision and not President Asif Zardari. A meeting to this effect was held in Karachi on the request of Irsa and the President was informed of its decisions about sharing water, he added.
Murad Ali Shah said that the decision has provided “some relief” to all provinces, because Punjab was also getting extra water from Mangla. He added, however, that next week would be “critical” for Sindh as the flow of water takes time in reaching there. Information Minister Shazia Marri lamented that “unnecessary confusion” had been created about the water issue.
Earlier, during question-hour in the assembly, the irrigation minister said that toxic water from Punjab was destroying the agricultural land of Sindh. He said Punjab was releasing around 350 cusecs of toxic water in Sindh daily, which has affected about 70,000 to 75,000 acres of land in district Ghotki.
The minister said that contaminated water had also adversely affected seven villages there and the people were about to shift somewhere else. He said that toxic water had also affected cattle, especially cows. “The matter is being taken up with the Punjab government through the inter-provincial coordination department,” he said.
The News: Saturday, June 27, 2009
Go To Top
New water reservoirs to avoid looming water crisis
ISLAMABAD (Online)- Pakistan is fast moving from being a water stressed country to a water scarce country which could put heavy brakes on economic growth and government should accelerate its efforts for setting up new water reservoirs and dams on emergent basis to cope with the looming water crisis.
This was stated by Mian Shaukat Masud, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) in a statement.
He said according to official reports the per capita availability of water in Pakistan has gradually dwindled from 5,260-cubic metres in 1951 to about 1000-cubic metres in recent years and if this trend continued, it could go as low as 550-cubic metres by 2025, which shows the gravity of the situation.
He said the water shortage issue has not been given the level of attention it needed and cautioned that if appropriate steps are not taken country could face a water & food crisis even worse than the current power crisis.
He said in addition to the urgent construction of new water reservoirs and small dams, government should launch serious water conservation initiatives to improve the efficiency of water use, particularly in agriculture sector,which claims more than 90 percent of the available fresh water resources.
Mian Shaukat said Pakistan can save enough water by adopting latest technology and making a partial shift from lower-value, water-intensive crops to high-value and more water-efficient crops.
He said Pakistan is mostly using flood irrigation in agriculture while it should explore the use of drip or spray irrigation, which makes better and efficient use of water resources.
The Nation: June 27, 2009
Go To Top
Water crisis in Pakistan agriculture
How to manage scientificially?
By DR. S. M. ALAM, M. A. KHAN AND DR. R. ANSARI.
Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam, Pakistan
Jul 03 - 09, 2000
Water is an important component of life. Allah has created every moving (living) creature from water (Surah 24, An-Nur, Ayet 45). We need about 15 glasses of water daily and human body contains about 60% of water. Without food we can survive for nearly 80 days, but only a few days without water. Fresh water for human and agriculture use is only 0.008 % on the earth. A shortage of fresh water is probably going to be most serious resource problem the world will face after a few years from now. As with food, the problem of water is not one of the global shortage, but one of uneven distribution. Three-quarters of the fresh water on the planet is held in the polar icecaps and glaciers and so is unavailable for use. Where water is plentiful, people are frequently few, and vice versa. The most water- rich country in terms of the run-off from rain-fall to population is Iceland, with more than 500,000 cubic meters per person per year; the most water- poor is Egypt, with just 0.02 cubic meters. Water is absolutely essential for plant life. Plants use more water than any other substances they absorb. The function of soil moisture in plant growth is very important. Excessive quantity of water in soil inhibits plant growth and makes drainage essential. When soil moisture is not enough drought, condition prevails leading to ultimate death of plants.
Many parts of the world are confronted with water scarcity, for both irrigation and human needs. Some 70 per cent of the water, people use goes to irrigation. Since 1950, the amount of irrigated land has tripled, and one-third of the world's food is grown on it. Without that increase, the world might now be starving. The great controversies over distribution of river water and construction of reservoirs, dams, barrages and link canals are very common among the various countries of the world. Providing water for irrigation and for cities will require damming more rivers, flooding more valleys, carrying out more giant water engineering schemes. Such projects are often hugely expensive and not only in economic terms. Large dams frequently involve massive changes in the use of land. That means not only the displacement of people from their homes but the loss of farm land, disturbance to water tables, build-up of silt, and other environmental costs. Of course dams also produce water for irrigation and for generating hydroelectricity, controlling floods, producing fish and even providing recreational facilities but serious attempts to measure the benefits from dams suggest that the gains are often smaller than the costs.
The disputes over the distribution of river waters are very common in the human society . Water resources often cross national boundaries, making it very easy for one country to 'steal' the water that should be delivered to another. No-one can predict which of several points of tension will result in armed conflict, but it is easy to list some candidates. They include, Threats to dam the upper Blue and White Nile; The diversion of water from the Sea of Galilee into Israel's National Water Carriers the Gabcikovo dam on the Danube in Slovakia; the damming of the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates by Turkey and the Euphrates by Syria, distribution of water of river Ganges between Bangladesh and India, construction of dam on river Kavari between two southern provinces of India. The distribution of water's shares of Indus had been a source of conflict between India and Pakistan, but in 1959 an agreement was reached whereby the waters would be shared. These are the few examples of this scenario. All over the world, the lower riparians on rivers are usually complaining against the upper riparians for not giving their due share of water, but human nature prevails every where and results in disturbed situation. While there is no way of predicting whether these pressure points—or any of the other dozen situations around the world—will erupt into war, it is easy to see that control over water will come to be seen as a much more important strategic issue both between countries and within them.
The arid and semi-arid regions of the world have to depend on river water sources for their agriculture i.e. mainly on artificial canal irrigation system. The source of main water in Pakistan is canal irrigation system. The Indus valley, comprising the planes of Punjab and Sindh is mainly dependent on the water of river Indus and its tributaries, as the area is mostly arid on the basis of annual precipitation. The river Indus is the life line for Pakistan's agriculture. The nearly 450,000 sq.m. Himalayan watershed of Indus and its tributaries includes the world's biggest glaciers outside the polar regions. The Indus river rises from a lake named Manasarowar in southwestern Tibet at an altitude of 16,000 ft or 4,900 m and flows in a north westerly direction along the slopes of the Himalayas, travelling a distance of about 1500 miles) and crossing at north -west Jammu and Kashmir from the southwest. In west Kashmir it flows through a defile 13,000 ft deep. The river Indus is a great trans-Himalayan river of south Asia and one of the longest rivers of the world having a length of 18,00 miles( 2,900 km).The glaciers of Siachin (75 km), Baltro (62 km), Hispar (53), Biafo (50km), Shyok, Shingar, Hunza, Gilgit, Astor. These mighty glaciers and other streams with 30 tributaries constitutes a surface area of 1220 sq kms (471 sq miles ) carry snow melt waters to the Indus from the main Hamalayan range, the Karakoram range, the Nanga Parbat, the Kohistan ranges etc mostly in summer season . The river crosses the western Kashmir border and then turns south and southwest to enter Pakistan. In Pakistan, it emerges from the mountain highlands flows as a rapid stream between the Swat and Hunza regions and proceeds onwards through North- West Frontier region and crosses the salt range to enter semi-arid Punjab plains where it is joined by the Panjnad (near Mithankot). The Indus receives its most notable tributaries from the Punjab to the eastern sides, including Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlaj rivers. After receiving the waters of the Punjab rivers . Shifting to the south-west, the Indus becomes much wider and enters into the Sindh region near Kashmoor and then flows to a slow speed, depositing large quantities of silt along its course. Indus begins its deltaic stage (3,000 sq.m ) and breaks into distributaries that reach the Arabian sea at various points southeast of Karachi.
Water resources system is the life line for Pakistan. It is a source of life and energy. It is the most critical factor of production in Pakistan's agriculture. To increase agricultural production, land is not a limiting factor as there is more cultivable land available that can ever be properly irrigated. It is a universal solvent and cleanser. It has a very economic value, which is at a constant rise with population. Pakistan is arid to semi-arid country, located between the longitude 61° east to 76° east and between latitude 23° north to 37° north. Total area of Pakistan is 79.61 million hectares. Population of the country is about 150 million and nearly 75 percent it lives in the rural areas. Agriculture is the main stay of Pakistan's economy, contributing 35 percent to the gross domestic product and providing 60 percent of the labour force. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of the total export of the country originates from agriculture. Total annual cropped is about 19.72 million hectares. Out of which, 15.3 million hectares are irrigated areas, about 75 % (11.4 mha.) is irrigated through canals, l9 % (2.9 mha.) through tube wells 2 % (0.3 mha.) through wells and remaining 4 %(0.4 mha.) through tanks and other sources. Major crops grown are wheat, rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane which together make about 63 percent of the total cropped area. Production of three important crops. namely rice, cotton and sugarcane as well as 90 percent of wheat and most of maize is virtually confined to irrigated areas. The climate of the country is favourable for two crop's season under irrigated during the year.
In Pakistan, the total water supplies available to agriculture come from three sources rainfall, surface water from the River Indus and its tributaries, and the ground water, and also from sewage water and sea water. The mean annual rainfall varies from less than 100 mm in Sindh to more than 1000 mm in the foot-hills and northern mountains with an average of about 400 mm. About 60% of this rain comes during the monsoon season (July through September). Much of the summer rains are not available for crop production due to rapid run-off because of torrential showers. At other occasions, rain may be so light that the precipitation evaporates before the water can penetrate into the root zone. However, the contribution of rain to crops in the irrigated areas of Indus Basin is estimated at about 1650 thousand hectares meter. Thus 10 mm of rain water provides 100 cubic meter of water per hectare. Rainfall alone is inadequate to sustain more than a very low level of agricultural production in the semi-arid conditions which prevail over most of Pakistan. Ground water is the second major source for irrigation. The seepage through rainfall, rivers and vast canal network has created a large and readily manageable acquirer underlying the Indus basin. The total recharge to the groundwater system of the Indus Basin has been estimated at 56 MAF per annum. Presently, the ground water is being developed canal commands of Indus plain for the purpose of irrigation on the large scale and is of the order of 44 MAF per annum . There is a huge source of highly saline sea water along the 1,050 km coast of Pakistan along the Arabian sea, but it cannot be used either for drinking or irrigation unless desalinized. Some palm and coconut trees can be grown in coastal belt using saline water. With the extension of big cities and towns the quality of sewage water is increasing considerably. It is mostly used for the production of high value crops like vegetables, fodder, oil palm, coconut etc in the vicinity of cities and towns. However, there is a common belief that the vegetables raised from sewage water are not safe for consumption from hygienic point of view. Nevertheless, there is potential for treating the sewage water for recycling or using it for irrigation purposes as is being done in many other countries.
Irrigation system of Pakistan has been developed from the Indus waters more than hundred years ago and is now the largest integrated irrigation system in the world. The flow of Indus river system is the prime source of surface water resources of the country. It covers gross area of 16 million hectares of which 88 per cent is culturable. It has 48 principle canals, emerging out of 20 river diversion structures. Many of the canals are even large by world standard; 15 of them having capacities of over 280 cubic meter per second. The cumulative operating capacity of these canals is 7323 cubic meters per second and their annual conveyance capacity is 331 billion cubic meter. These canals traverse about 61,000 kilometers to command the 15.50 million hectares of culturable area through 90000 watercourses and filled channels numbering 1,07,000. Each watercourse serves about 160 hectares of land on the average. In addition, there are 23 barrages, 45 main canals, 12 huge inter river link canals transferring bulk water supplies from the western rivers to the eastern rivers.
Presently, Pakistan irrigation system encompasses two major dams such as (I) Mangla - The main technical features of this dam is as: World's third largest earth filled dam, built on river Jhelum; Height-380 ft. above river bed; Length 10300 ft. Gross water storage capicity-5.88 MAF, also used for Power generation; Live storage capacity -538 MAF; .Main spillway capacity -870,000 cusecs; Emergency spillway capacity 230,000 cusecs; Lake area- l00sq.miles, (II) Terbela- The main feature of this is as: The world largest earth and rock - filled dam on one of the world's most important river the Indus; Height- 485ft. above river bed; Length 9000 ft; gross storage capicity ,11.3 MAF; Live storage capacity- 9.4 MAF; service spillway capacity 6,50000 cusecs; Auxiliary spillway capicity- 840,000 cusecs; Lake area- 100 sq. miles. ,The Terbela dam is known as the best hydel power station in Pakistan having a capacity of generating 3,478 MW of electricity. The Chashma is the biggest reservoir which help in the irrigation of millions of hectares of agricultural lands.
In addition to the grand canal system, there are about 185,000 private tube wells with average capacity of 30 liters per second and about l5000 public tube wells of capacity of 60 to 120 liters per second. At present these tube wells pump about 41 billion cubic meters water and provide 30 per cent of the total irrigation water to exclusively more than two million hectares in addition to supplementing some canal fed areas. Water available at the farm gate after accounting farm losses and run-offs estimated that about 60% of water which comes to 35 MAF is lost during conveyance through canals, distributaries and water courses and also goes to Arabian sea at Karachi annually which is a huge national waste. This water must be harnessed if our posterity have to be saved from feminine like situation.
Total available water resources of the country from the rivers as well as fresh ground water come to 160 million acre feet (136 MAF from rivers i.e 94 MAF from Indus; 20 MAF from Jhelum and 26 MAF from Chenab ;and 24 MAF from fresh ground water sources). Out of this, 101.4 MAF reaches at the modules or the starting points of the watercourses, after deducting losses of the system, i. e seepage from the canal and distributaries, 35 MAF water was being wasted into the sea during flood season every year. Another available water 45 per cent is lost due to seepage from the water courses, which in absolute terms is 45.6 MAF, thus total water reaching at the farm gate remains about 56 MAF. About 15 percent additional water is lost due to improper irrigation applications, which in absolute terms is 8.4 MAF. The total requirement of the country in the year 2000 is estimated to be 78.7 MAF, which means that there is a shortage of 22.9 MAF at the farm gate for which there seems to be no supplementary source at present. Pakistan needed 170 million acre feet of additional water in future to meet irrigation and other requirements of the people. This was not possible unless new storage dams were built. India was planning to build Salal dam on the Chenab river and diverting the Indus river water from the Wooler lake in occupied Kashmir.
To overcome water shortage crisis, the solution lies in the proper water management at watershed, reservoirs, conveyance system i. e, at canals and distributaries level as well as watercourses and farm application levelling of open channels and use of pipes to transport water for reducing seepage losses. To prepare cemented water beds at the bottom of the base. Building of more dams in the country is also good solution to solve the problem of water shortage. Million of acre feet of valuable water which was flowing into the sea every year could be stored for irrigation at a time when it was needed the most. We should build the Kalabagh dam for the betterment of the country from acute water shortage in future. However, officials of each province should be consulted for the construction as well as for equal share and distribution of water. It is also suggested that if any province was prepared some water out of his own share to other provinces it should be accepted as a gesture of good will and not as a matter of right . The Kalabagh dam project should be supplemented with supportive irrigation projects in Balochistan, Sindh, Cholistan and the NWFP to take the benefits of additional water available from the Kalabagh reservoirs to take their respective areas. Experts say that it was the most researched and investigated project of the world approved by the world top irrigation and dam experts on which Rs.1 billion had been spent so far on investigation. Recently, parts of Balochistan, Cholistan and some parts of Sindh had experienced drought and famine like condition a few months back where a number of casualties had been taken place besides the loss of 40% of cattle. The politicians have to use their wisdom rather than emotion to come to a decision in the country's national interest and the people in the issue of building as many as reservoirs as possible in the minimum possible time, making real and actual policy involving the water crisis, collection of rainwater in depression. Water source development needs to be accorded due priority in the rain- fed areas where small or mini dams can be constructed in proximity to the commended area.
The crisis of water shortage for irrigation can only be over come and proper individual farmer for water management practices. Some of the points to be kept in mind are as: evaluation of available water resources, development and improvement of existing irrigation systems, judicious and efficient use of available irrigation water, control of evaporation from water surface in reservoirs and canals conjunctive use of surface and ground water, evaluation of water requirement of various crops, knowledge of modern techniques of crop and water management, active participation of farmers in water users association, better understanding between government and farmers community. The tail end farmers on a watercourse do not receive their due share. This is due to prevailing technological and socio- political conditions. This unreliability of water supply at the tail ends of canals and watercourses due to the situation and distribuatries and the presence of influential people at the head of canals seriously affects the morale and production of the tail end farmers. Reliability and equity of water distribution is imperative to provide opportunities to all farmers in a canal command area to increase crop production. Massive education in proper use of water along with modern techniques of land leveling can save substantial quantum of water. To obtain the best results, effective co-ordinations between the departments of irrigation and agriculture is the cardinal point for success. Let we Pakistani pray to Almighty Allah in a true sense for the betterment of Agriculture and for the rainfall to submerge our valuable dried lands for the cause of human remedy.