Indus River System Authority (Irsa) on Thursday approved water share for provinces for Kharif season 2016 starting from April 1 projecting zero load shedding of water, due to which bumper crops are expected besides higher hydel power generation.
The water regulatory body advisory committee chaired by Irsa chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan approved water share for provinces. The meeting was attended by provincial representatives.
Kharif cropping season starts from April-June and lasts until October-December in different parts of the country. Rice, sugarcane, cotton, maize and mash are some of the key crops of the season. T
he zero water shortage has raised hopes for bumper crops. The regulator body projected that 112.85 MAF water would be available in rivers for Kharif season out of it, 16 MAF water would go down in Kotri barrage.
A senior government official said that the water regulatory body had projected that 74.4 Million Acre Feet (MAF) water would be available for distribution among provinces for Kharif season. Irsa body allocated 37.1 MAF water for Punjab, followed by Sindh at 33.9 MAF. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would get a share of 2.6 and 0.82 MAF water, respectively.
Irsa also estimated that 16 MAF water would go into the sea. “The consumption of one million acre feet has an impact of $1 billion on the economy and this means that Pakistan will be facing a loss of $16 billion due to wastage as water reservoirs were not enough,” an official said, adding that system losses would stand at 15 MAF.
Spokesman for Irsa, Khalid Rana said that provinces would face zero water shortage in Kharif season which would lead to bumper crops during kharif season, dams had been maintaining zero stock but this time dams had 3.5 MAF carry over stock for Kharif season.
He added that there have been enough rains during January to March which led to sufficient water availability for Kharif season.
He said that Meteorological department had forecast that the country would have 3 to 4 rain spells in April to boost water availability. He added that it also revealed that the country would have above normal rains in May and June.
“Irsa has asked provinces to get as much water releases as they desire in Kharif season,” he said, adding that it would also help generate more power in summer season. He said that Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) was working Terbela 4th Extension power project with 1450 MW generation capacity.
He said that Wapda had asked to maintain water level at 1490 feet, 20 feet low below normal level of 1510 feet in July. “We have informed Wapda to maintain this level till July 15,” he said.
Source: Business Recorder
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