LAHORE  - The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has projected 20pc water shortage for the upcoming Rabi sowing season due to less rains during current months that has reduced 17 MAF water flow in the rivers, the sources in the authority disclosed.

They said that if the dry spell continued it would be hard for all the provinces to meet their water needs for the irrigation purposes as well as for hydel power generation. The provinces have already been complaining about shortage of water for the sowing of crops.

The Irsa technical committee had earlier estimated that during the Kharif season from Ist April to 30th of September this year, the maximum availability of water would be 1515.86 MAF, minimum flow of water 99.79 MAF thus an average of 107.74 MAF would be available during the current season.

The unusual season with less rain disturbed Irsa estimates and water flow remained low that was 91.64 MAF. As per other estimates of Irsa, in the Indus River water flow would be 43 MAF, in Jhelum 16.42 MAF, Chenab 16.2 MAF and Kabul River 16.11 MAF.

As per data from Irsa which regulates water releases, during the ongoing season the maximum flow in the western rivers including Indus River would be 55.85 MAF, minimum flow 49.2 MAF and availability of water would be 52.54 MAF, in Jhelum River the maximum flow 18.12 MAF, minimum 15 MAF and water availability 16.5 MAF, in Chenab the maximum flow 21.48 MAF, minimum 18.57 MAF and availability 20.02 MAF, in Kabul River the maximum would be 18.84 MAF, minimum 16.12 MAF and availability of water would be 17.48 MAF while in eastern rivers Ravi and Sutlej the maximum water would be 1.57 MAF, minimum 0.9 MAF and availability would remain 1.02 MAF.

As per sources, on the beginning of Rabi season, the water level at Tarbela would be 1495 ft that was 55 ft low than the maximum level and at Mangla the water level would be 1196 ft to 1199 ft water to be used for hydel power generation and sowing of winter crops. The Tarbela dam was filled during a couple of days back but chances of Mangla’s filling were little, the Irsa sources said.

The water experts have warned that if the situation continues the shortage of water would adversely affect the crops of Rabi season. The data of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) warns the provinces of about 20 percent less water for the Rabi crops. The dry spell would force the provinces to cut their share in the water resources from the Indus system. IRSA has not come out with any other solution except rationing of available water to the provinces.