The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has warned that water shortage in the country could increase by 30 to 35 percent as national water supplies have decreased by more than half in the last week.
The official data shows that the national river flows on Monday dropped from 456,000 cusecs to 223,000 cusecs last week. The biggest plunge, from 225,000 cusecs to 97,800 cusecs, was witnessed in the River Indus.
IRSA spokesperson, Khalid Idrees Rana, said that the river system authority has started drawing additional water supplies from Tarbela and Mangla dams, compromising their filling prospects. He said that the IRSA has not yet passed on the shortage to provinces. However, if the situation does not improve in the next week or so, the entire country will feel the pinch.
IRSA has been supplying 273,100 cusecs nationally including 107,000 cusecs to Punjab, 149,000 to Sindh, 14,000 to Balochistan, and 3,100 to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without slashing the provincial share, Khalid noted.
To maintain the supply, the body has maintained the release of 155,000 cusecs from Tarbela and has doubled the release from Mangla to 55,000 cusecs.
“There is an overall drop. Not only Indus, but River Kabul also dropped from 80,000 cusecs to 42,000 cusecs, Chenab from 60,000 to 34,000 cusecs during the last week, and Jhelum from 78,400 to 48,400 cusecs.”
The Mangla drawdown will cause a water shortage in Punjab that could continue till the next year, he said, adding that the situation is already bad at the dam because of earlier additional releases.