ISLAMABAD - Bumper Kharif crops are expected this year as the Advisory Committee of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Thursday concluded that there was no likely shortage of irrigation water during the April 1 to September 30 period and total water availability would remain around 118 million acre feet (MAF).
Briefing reporters, IRSA Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan said provinces would get water releases as per the water accord, as the season was to start with a carry forward stock of 0.8MAF. The average storage limit this Kharif was assessed at 10MAF as compared to last Kharif's storage of 11.6MAF.
The meeting assessed that the system losses would be 13MAF and total availability during the season would be around 95MAF, of which canal availability would remain around 72MAF. Kotri downstream releases would be 22.6MAF. He said the meeting agreed on 15 percent losses on Indus, while it rejected the losses claims of Punjab on Jhelum-Chasma zone and kept it at zero percent. Punjab would get withdrawals of 36MAF, as compared to 29MAF last Kharif, Sindh 32.8MAF compared to 22.6MAF last season, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1MAF and Balochistan 2.5MAF. KP and Balochistan utilize less than their share due to lack of irrigation infrastructure, Khan said.
The average supplies during the last 10 years have remained limited at 63.5MAF. The meeting decided to approach the federal government on resolution of the payment and settlement issues of people affected by Mangla Dam's raising within the next few weeks. WAPDA informed the meeting that without an early resolution of payment to affected people, it would not be possible to fill the dam beyond 2,010 feet.