Islamabad    -   IRSA advisory committee Tuesday anticipated 15 percent water shortage for the ongoing Rabi season and recommended construction of additional storages to save water from going waste into sea.

The IRSA’s Advisory committee in its meeting has anticipated the availability of 31.44 MAF water for Rabi season and approved the Basin-wide shortage of 15 percent, which was significantly less than previous Rabi season (2018-19) actual shortage of 32 percent, said spokesman IRSA in an interaction with media.

IRSA’s Advisory Committee meeting was held here under chairman Sher Zaman Khan to determine the Rabi season 2019-20 (1 October – 31 March) anticipated water availability. Besides chairman IRSA who is also member Balochistan, the meeting was attended by IRSA Punjab Member Engr. Rao Irshad Ali Khan, IRSA Sindh Member Engr. Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, IRSA Member KP Engr. Raqib Khan, officials from FFC, WAPDA, provincial irrigation and Agriculture departments.

The Committee discussed the recommendations of IRSA Technical Committee Meeting held on September 25, and approved the likely anticipated water availability for Rabi 2019-2020. Rim Station inflows as anticipated by the IRSA’s technical committee will be 24.14 MAF. Indus at Tarbela will have 8.79 MAF, Kabul at Nowshera 4.62 MAF,Jhelum at Mangla 5.27 MAF, Chenab at Marala 4.47 MAF and 1 MAF contribution from Eastern rivers.

The spokesman said that the advisory committee was of the view that availability of 31.44 MAF water was significantly higher than last year availability of 24.76 MAF and considerably higher than 10-year average of 29.80 MAF.

Based on the Rim Station Inflows plus available storage of 10.268 MAF minus the expected system losses of 2.38 MAF and minor unavoidable escapage downstream Kotri, the approved likely availability of 31.44 MAF, Punjab will get 16.93 MAF, Sindh 12.78 MAF, KP 0.71 MAF, and Balochistan 1.03 MAF.

It was agreed by the participants that the likely projected shortages were manageable and hopefully the cropping targets for Rabi 2019-20 would be achieved by applying efficient and best water management practices. It was also decided that remaining within the above indicated likely shares; the provinces would submit their withdrawal plans within 15 days.

The forum unanimously agreed that additional storages should be constructed wherever feasible on the rivers. If adequate storage capacity had been available, the surplus water of 11.65 MAF released downstream Kotri during Kharif 2019 could have been stored to eliminate the expected shortage of 15 percent in Rabi 2019-20, after meeting with ecological and sea intrusion needs.

Regarding recommendation of IRSA Technical Committee to discuss about studies related to system losses, lag-times and cropping patterns due to Climate Change, IRSA Advisory Committee decided that IRSA may get the studies carried out within a year. The ToRs would be prepared in consultation with the provinces.

IRSA Advisory Committee reviewed the Kharif 2019 and observed that the actual Rim Station inflows of 104.82 MAF were only 1 percent less than forecasted volume of 106.17 MAF. The Committee expressed satisfaction that the actual provincial withdrawals remained at 65.23 MAF against anticipated withdrawals of 66.80 MAF, i.e., only 2 percent less. The actual system losses were 14.10 MAF as compared to anticipation of 15.74 MAF and downstream Kotri releases were 11.65 MAF.