Tue, 28 Jun 2022

Karachi [Pakistan], May 16 (ANI): Water released from the Taunsa barrage in Pakistan's Punjab province for Sindh reportedly failed to reach its destination in Sindh in an interesting development hinting at the country's water struggle.

The Sindh province had claimed last week, that water from Punjab was somehow missing in Sindh, following which a team made measurements at Sindh's Guddu barrage and found the claim to be correct, Dawn reported.

A member of the team confided to Dawn that "water flows released from Taunsa barrage for Sindh didn't reach Guddu contrary to a claim by the Indus River System Authority (Irsa)".

"Either there is misreporting at Taunsa or the water is being drawn in Punjab," he said. He added that 28 per cent of the losses were allowed between Chashma and Guddu, the report said.

The official further said these missing flows varied between 13,000 and 16,000 cusecs and it was not being confirmed within Sindh's territory or at Guddu barrage, Sindh's first barrage over Indus, where water flows from Punjab are first received, the report said.

Citing sources in the provincial irrigation department of Punjab, the report said that Punjab's members insisted on a repeat of the exercise after the initial verification of flows. "He even objected to site selection of a river upstream Guddu as the team had to ride boats to measure flows. It caused displeasure to Mehar Ali Shah," a source reportedly told Dawn.

One official confirmed that "Sindh's reading of flows is correct as far as availability of water Taunsa barrage downstream is concerned. But this is to be rechecked and finally documented".

Acute water shortage along with a searing heatwave has sparked tensions between Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan over their share of the nation's water resources.

Recently, at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources, which met informally due to lack of quorum, an unpleasant scene was witnessed as both sides hurled accusations against each other on the current arrangement of water releases and water distribution mechanism, the report said.

Due to April 2022 being ranked as the second driest month since 1961, the inflow of water has been recorded as low. According to IRSA, actual inflows during this period were recorded at 5.350 million acre-feet (MAF) as compared to the projected 8.590 MAF, showing a shortage of 38 per cent. (ANI)

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