ISLAMABAD - Terming the water situation in the country alarming, the Indus River System Authority has on Sunday said that despite the fact that the temperature at Skardu is almost 4°C higher than it was during the corresponding period last year, the process of snow melting is not accelerating and the river flows have decreased by almost 78,600 cusecs.

The shortage on the first day of Kharif has reached 60 per cent and the Irsa has decided to close down Chasma Canal with immediate effect, while releases from Taunsa-Panjnad Link Canal will be terminated on April 4, said Khalid Rana, IRSA spokesman in an interaction with the media.

Last year on April 1st, temperature at Skardu was 16.7°C and water discharge from snow melting was 27,600 cusecs, while Sunday the temperature reached 20.6°C but discharge was only 17,000 cusecs, he said.

However, Rana said that the situation would clear in the next 48 hours.

The situation of water availability is alarming, and despite the hot weather the flows in the rivers are 44,400 cusecs against the flows of 123,000 cusecs during the same period last year, he said.

Keeping in view the shortages in the system, the Irsa has decided to close downstream Chashma releases for the Punjab with immediate effect and from 4th April TP Link Canal will be closed.

Chashma-Jhelum canal is still running with discharge of 2,000 cusecs and the Irsa will decide on on it on Monday, Rana said.

The reduction in water releases will definitely have a bad impact on Hydel generation as Tarbela and Mangla are still on dead level, he said in reply to a question.

Owing to 50 per cent less snow fall in the catchments and worsening water availability situation in the country, the Irsa has predicted 31 per cent water shortage during the early Kharif season, starting April 1 to June 10.

However on the first day of the Kharif the shortages to Punjab and Sindh have increased to 60 per cent at rim station.

The Punjab’s share reduced to 26,000 cusecs from 29,000 cusecs, while Sindh’s share has reduced to 17,000 cusecs from 20,000 cusecs.

Meanwhile, a source told The Nation that Sindh’s share was 13,000 cusecs less than its intend of 30,000 cusecs.

The Sindh Irrigation Department had earlier requested that it would require 30,000 cusecs after 26th March for sowing of Kharif crop, the source said.

However, the Irsa agreed that it would make sure that the province would get 25,000 cusecs.

Instead of enhanced supply, the province’s share was decreased due to reduction in flows, the source said.

As per the position of the river inflows and outflows at Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma along with the reservoirs levels released by the Irsa are as follows; inflow in Indus at Tarbela were  17,600 cusecs and outflows 16,800 cusecs, inflows in Kabul at Nowshera were 5,000 cusecs and outflows 5,000 cusecs, inflows in Jhelum at Mangla were 14,400 cusecs and outflows 15,500  cusecs, inflow in Chenab at Marala were 7,400 cusecs, while outflows are 2,000 cusecs.

Against the minimum operating level of 1,386 feet Tarbela’s present level is 1,386 feet.

The maximum conservation level of the reservoir is 1,550 feet.

Similarly, in Mangla against the minimum operating level of 1,050 feet the present level is 1,050 feet.

The maximum conservation level of Mangla is 1,242 feet. 

At Chashma reservoir against the minimum operating level of 638.15 feet, the present level is 638.15 feet.

The maximum conservation level of Chashma is 649 feet.