The Indus River System Authority (IRSA), has warned that water shortage could plummet by 30 to 35 percent as national water supplies decreased by more than half last week.

According to Irsa’s data, national river flows on Monday dropped to 223,000 cusecs from 456,000 cusecs. The biggest plunge was recorded in River Indus, from 225,000 cusecs to 97,800 cusecs.

“IRSA has started drawing additional water from both Tarbela and Mangla dams, compromising their filling prospects, but has not started passing on the shortage to the provinces,” said Irsa spokesman Khalid Idrees Rana. But it can only hold this additional supply for the next 10 days. If the situation does not improve by then, the entire country would feel the pinch.

Against these inflows, Irsa is supplying 273,100 cusecs nationally (107,000 cusecs to Punjab, 149,000 to Sindh, 14,000 to Balochistan and 3,100 to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) without slashing the provincial share. For this purpose, it is maintaining 155,000 cusecs release from Tarbela and has increased Mangla release from 25,000 cusecs to 55,000 cusecs.

“There is an overall drop. Not only Indus, but River Kabul also dropped from 80,000 cusecs to 42,000 cusecs, Chenab from 60,000 to 34,000 cusecs during the last week and Jhelum from 78,400 to 48,400 cusecs,” laments an official of the irrigation department.

He added that the Mangla drawdown meant that water shortage in Punjab would continue till next year. “The situation is already bad at the dam because of earlier additional releases.”

Against a planned level of 1,208.65 feet (4.895 million acre feet [MAF]), the lake is standing at 1,153.5 feet (1.922 MAF). “With additional drawdown at the end of June, the falling levels could amount to a real disaster for provincial agriculture,” he says.

“Trouble is that Tarbela lake cannot be emptied more than four feet a day (or 155,000 cusecs) without risking its banks caving in, so naturally additional water has to come from Mangla Dam,” explains Khalid Rana.

“All meteorological predictions warn that low temperature trends will hold for next week, which means meagre flows. If this trend extends by even a few days beyond the current forecast, the country will be in for a nightmarish scenario,” Khalid Rana concludes.

From : pk.mashable.com

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