Wed, 29 Jun 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 26 (ANI): Amid the ongoing water shortage in Pakistan and incessant rise in water theft, the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Water Resources was informed had that Sindh was being deprived of 46 per cent of its water share in Punjab province and Balochistan was losing almost 84 per cent of its share in Sindh province.

The standing committee's meeting was presided over by Member of National Assembly Muhammad Yousaf Talpur, who attributed the water loss in Punjab (between Taunsa and Guddu barrages) to theft and recommended that water distribution among the provinces should be in line with para-2 of the 1991 accord in all circumstances instead of a three-tier formula adopted by the water regulator to address the shortage, Dawn newspaper reported.

MNA Khalid Magsi, who headed a subcommittee appointed by the NA standing committee, reported after a field visit and measurement monitoring that the trust deficit among the provinces was the most critical issue at present when it came to the measurement of water discharges at different stations, particularly Taunsa, Guddu and Sukkur barrages.

Magsi said that despite the use of a state-of-the-art hydrological measurement system -- Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) -- trusted all over the world, the provinces, particularly Punjab and Sindh, were changing positions depending on their respective locations and raising suspicions and objections, as per the publication.

He particularly mentioned that the subcommittee measured 37,000 cusecs of water at Guddu while Sindh was reporting it at 47,000 cusecs. However, Punjab objected to these measurements.

Earlier in August 2019, an Indus River System Authority (IRSA) team claimed to have detected water theft at Guddu and Sukkur barrages as well.

While Sindh has proved missing flows, the small and medium-sized farmers have also been heavily affected. This puts them at disadvantage for they lack clout in water governance as the elite, regardless of political, bureaucratic, police, or law enforcement backgrounds.

Rangers' deployment to control water theft is a financial burden on Sindh's kitty as they charge for logistics however it is also indicative of the government's failure to check water theft.

The water situation in Sindh has worsened with little water flowing into its Indus-linked canals province from the upstream region of Punjab, sparking a small kerfuffle between the irrigation and water ministers of the two provinces.

The situation worsened this year with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah pointing out a water shortage of nearly 40 per cent. Highlighting how dire the situation has been in the province, he asked rice farmers to avoid cultivating the water-intensive crop this year, the report said. (ANI)

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