ISLAMABAD: Indus River System Authority (Irsa) Chairman Syed Mazhar Ali Shah on Tuesday refuted allegations that Sindh was not getting its due share of water. However, he hastened to add that “water takes 15 to 16 days to reach the province”.
Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, the Irsa chairman said the distribution of water was being done in accordance with the Water Accord 1991.
The committee, headed by Senator Sardar Yaqub Khan Nasir, took up the issue of water shortage in Sindh. The issue had been raised in the upper house on a point of order on April 12, 2017.
The committee was informed that water was currently being released to the provinces according to their April indents, and the complaints regarding supply shortage by any province was not based on facts.
The briefing by Irsa left the committee divided as PPP Senator Taj Haider claimed that during the Kharif season, Sindh faced water shortage of 52 per cent — from April 1 to April 10 — due to which it could not cultivate its crops.
Senator Mohsin Leghari, belonging to Dera Ghazi Khan, came to the rescue of Irsa and said: “It is not fair to malign Irsa for water shortage.” He added, “Sindh is not the only proving facing water shortage. It is recorded in Punjab as well.”
Senator Leghari also claimed that Sindh was getting twice as much water as Punjab was getting if calculated on the basis of per acre supply. “We use water very carelessly because it is free in Pakistan,” he said.
However, Senator Taj Haider insisted that Sindh was suffering water shortage. He said 2.2 million acres of land in the province had been rendered useless due to salinity in the wake of sea intrusion.
“If necessary steps are not taken, the sea will completely swallow Thatta in the near future,” the senator said, adding that 49 per cent water shortage was recorded from March 21 to March 31, 2017.
He stressed the need for constructing new water reservoirs and de-silting the existing ones to increase their capacity.
Officials from the Ministry of Water and Power informed the committee that with the construction of Basha and Dasu dams, the age of Tarbela dam would increase by 30 years.
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