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Senate body discusses alarming water situation in Sindh

ISLAMABAD: The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources on Thursday highlighted the alarming water situation in Sindh.

The meeting was chaired by Senator Shamim Afridi. Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Gian Chand and senior officers of the Ministry of Water Resources, Indus Rivers Systems Authority (IRSA) and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) were also present on this occasion.

Senator Sassui Palijo and Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah who were movers of the point of public importance about the appalling water situation in Sindh were also present.

While discussing the predicament of Sindh, Sassui Palijo said that Punjab had multiple water resources, whereas Sindh had just one.

Read More: Quetta going dry, faces intense shortage of water

She asked that why was Mangla Dam being filled and the gates of CJ Canal were being left open. She asserted that the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 was being severely violated and that the regulatory bodies were responsible for this.

Chairman Indus Rivers Systems Authority (IRSA) Sher Zaman Khan briefed the committee about the water situation in Pakistan.

He clarified that CJ Canal and Thal Canal were not flood canals and it was regular canal that was operated within the share of Punjab.

Sher Zaman also provided details of escapage below Kotri Barrage since 1991 to-date.  He said that the IRSA at the start of each cropping season prepared reservoir operation criteria with the approval of the advisory committee with representation of the all stakeholders.

Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah made some recommendation to committee. He said that necessary measures must be taken to ensure that water distribution amongst provinces takes place strictly in accordance of the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord.

He stressed the need to determine the status of the Chashma Jehlum link Canal, the greater Thal Canal and the consent of the Lower Riparian before the two canals are made operational.

He stated that through the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord a minimum quantity of 10 MAF should flow downstream to protect the environment and check sea intrusion in the coastal belt of Thatta and Badin and through international consultation the international report of IPOE recommending 5 MAF downstream of Kotri so as to protect the environment and the coastal belt whether this has been implemented or not.

He further recommended that in spite of repeated complaints the Telemetry System installed by WAPDA is defective and now steps are being taken to install a new Telemetry System by IRSA through the World Bank. This he said must be checked by all four participants for accuracy.

While discussing water shortage in Balochistan, Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini recommended that the Governments of Balochistan and Sindh must settle the water dispute initially amongst themselves.

He further stated that theft and infringement of water flows towards Balochistan must be stopped within a short span of time so that the province could get their appropriate share. He said that Kacchi Canal must be completed within a short span of time and the gate to check water flow must be installed immediately.

While discussing Naulong Dam in District Jhal Magsi the Committee took serious notice of delays in the project. Senior officers of Ministry of Planning Division, WAPDA and Irrigation Department of Government of Balochistan were called upon to remove the bottlenecks in the construction of the dam. Chairman Committee directed that PC1 must be submitted at the earliest. This, he asserted must be done before the meeting with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

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