Due to no rainfall and snow melting in the catchment areas this month and the previous months, water levels in Tarbela and Mangla dams have continued to decline.
There may be 30% to 40% of water shortage in the country if the situation persists till April.
Spokesperson for the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) Muhammad Khalid Rana told media on Thursday,
“The situation is very alarming as the water storage in Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs has considerably dropped due to below normal rains in the catchment areas and snow melting,”
“And if this situation persists till April, it will definitely disturb agriculture and power generation/distribution sectors. We’re already facing a 10% water shortage; this is what we had predicted in October last due to below normal rain forecast.”
According to statistics by the Water and Power Development Authority, the water storage and levels in Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs and western rivers’ inflows massively dropped this year. The data also reflects a big increase in the water storage in Mangla on the basis of the average of the last five to 10 years.
The figures also show 1,409.52 feet water level in Tarbela, 1130.95 feet in Mangla and 644.00 feet in Chashma as recorded at 6am on Thursday.
Similarly, the water level average in the last five and 10 years recorded in the aforementioned reservoirs remained as 1415.48 feet and 1415.66 feet, 1107.09 feet and 1102.85 feet and 641.50 feet and 642.20 feet respectively.
Likewise, rivers’ inflows also show a massive decline this year when compared with the last year data. The data shows 168,000 cusecs inflow in the River Indus at Tarbela, 4,100 cusecs in the River Kabul at Nowshera, 174,000 cusecs in the River Jhelum at Mangla and 6,500 cusecs in the River Chenab at Marala as recorded on Thursday at 6am.
“KP and Balochistan are exempted from the shortage, as Irsa always fulfills their requirement. But Punjab and Sindh are facing a 10 % water shortage,” Mr. Rana, Irsa official said.
He also said the authority’s advisory committee meeting will soon be held wherein the overall water situation will be discussed.
“In this meeting, the participants will assess the situation and forecast the exact shortage and availability of water,” he maintained.
He said the water shortage forced growers to use tube wells for extracting water for irrigation purposes. But on the other hand, this lowers the underground water table.
“So there should be rainfalls and rise in temperature for snow melting, otherwise the situation would be very problematic,” Rana warned.