18 June 2004 Friday 29 Rabi-us-Saani 1425
Unjust distribution of water
A Dawn report (June 15) based on Indus River System Authority (Irsa) statistics has made the startling disclosure that seven million acre feet of water went missing from the distribution system between April 1 and June 10 this year.
It is a huge body of water that equals the total storage capacity of some of the planned mega dams. It is mind-boggling how such a massive water theft could have taken place under the eyes of Irsa, Wapda and irrigation department officials. It may be noted that these figures are only for 70 days. Who knows what has been going on during the rest of the year?
This revelation will certainly hamper any efforts aimed at confidence building among the provinces to agree on a 'national water policy' if there is ever going to be one. This has happened when the lower riparian province is facing a devastating water shortage for irrigation and drinking.
The Sindh finance minister during his budget speech said an acute drought in the province had reduced irrigated land by over 40 per cent. Earlier, the former irrigation secretary in his briefing to the parliamentary water committee had disclosed that Punjab and Sindh did not share the water shortage equitably as required under the 1991 Water Accord.
He said that during the first two and half months of the current Kharif season, Punjab had suffered a water shortage of up to 34 per cent while Sindh faced a water shortage of up to 57 per cent.
Another matter of grave concern is the mysterious 50 per cent transmission losses between Chashma and Guddu barrages. Historically losses have never been more than 20 per cent. Irsa, Wapda and the federal government have failed to determine the causes of this unprecedented loss. Would anybody please let the people know what is going on here?
Corpus Christi, Texas, USA