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Federal Minister Moonis Elahi launches efforts to end water disputes among provinces once for all

Federal Minister Moonis Elahi launches efforts to end water disputes among provinces once for all

By Irum Saleem

Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi after assuming the charge is taking all provinces on board to end water disputes once for all.

Sindh more often raises concerns over water distribution among the provinces and to mitigate this, is the main job of the water ministry under the new minister.

“I have initiated efforts to resolve water problems by taking all provinces on board and I hope provinces including Sindh will have no issues be left unaddressed,” Mr Moonis says.

The federal minister has also expedited work on installation of telemetry on seven important points that will help end dispute among the provinces with regard to water distribution. “To end false reporting of water wastage and equal distribution of water among provinces the federal government has planned to install telemetry system at seven important points,” Moonis says.

The minister will have to make the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) more efficient under his rule. Currently, the authority is facing a dire situation — it has resigned itself to the fact that Mangla will gounfilled this season, but the Tarbela Lake faces the same danger — spelling a disastrous scenario.

moonis elahi water issues discussed with sindh

“The water stress is already reflected in the national distribution — Irsa has already fallen back on the Actual Average System (AAS) used from 1977-82, termed 14-B in the Water Accord. It is faced with a double jeopardy: exceptional drop in rains has increased demand and drop in temperatures in catchment areas squeezed sullies. On an average, Pakistan gets 83-million-acre feet water between April 1 and Aug 20. This year, it got only 72MAF.”

Along with this shortfall of 11MAF came scarcity of rain, he explains, fearing for the Rabi season — Against the total storage capacity of 13.50MAF, the reservoirs now hold only 9.9MAF and depletion has already started. Tarbela Lake touched the 1,545 feet level a few days ago, and it stands at 1,543 feet today. Mangla Lake is 38 feet below what it was last year on the same day, and keep in mind that it’s the top 38 feet where the major portion is held.

The minister will have to make the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) more efficient under his rule. Currently, the authority is facing a dire situation

The Federal Minister has pointed out that because of less rains and delay in melting ice in northern areas of the country this year, there was a shortage of 10.94MAF in the beginning of early Kharif, causing less availability of water for the agriculture in Punjab and Singh till June last. “But for the last three months, there has been improvement in water resources, thus there is a zero shortage of water for Sindh. However, Punjab is still facing 4 per cent water shortage,” Mr Moonis says.

Pakistan is facing water scarcity and it will be a challenging job for Mr Moonis to bring improvement in the water reservoirs. PAK DESTINY

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