Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah has directed the irrigation department to devise a plan of action for counteracting the water shortage that occurs during Kharif crop season.
It is estimated that 10-60% of water shortage will hit the province. CM Sindh has also ordered that the water shortage should not affect the drinking water supplies available to consumers.
The orders came during the meeting at the Chief Minister House, headed by the CM himself to review reports detailing the upcoming water shortages.
The Minister directed the secretary of the irrigation department to hold meetings with chief engineers of Nara, Rohri and Ghotki barrages and discuss ways to deal with the looming emergency.
Late Sowing of Cotton
Mr. Shah said that the farming community and agriculturists irrigating their crops from the Nara and Rohri canals should be informed about the late sowing of cotton from May 1st. The farmers using water from the Ghotki Canal are now expected to sow cotton from May 15th as per new directives.
The adjustment of the discharge from these canals should be made on the advice of the chief engineers of the above mentioned canals.
For the paddy/rice cultivation, a fresh strategy may be evolved to facilitate farmers and tillers getting water through the Rice Canal sources. Kotri barrage would receive water proportionately but priority should be assigned to drinking water needs through the canals off-taking from the barrage.
The Reason for Water Shortage
Irrigation department secretary, Jamal Shah, told the CM Sindh about the water deficiency problem earlier. He conveyed the fact that the water was way below the allocated level of discharge since March 9th.
He explained the reason for the water deficiency, stating that,
‘The situation has worsened with the new spell of snowfall in the northern areas and a reduction in the temperatures. The run-off from the catchments has reduced which resulted in an alarming depletion of Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs.’
The water shortage started on March 18th and would amount to 10-60% in the first 10 days of April, with the level of the deficiency expected to increase till the end of the month.