Islamabad    -   IRSA Advisory Committee has approved Anticipated Water Availability Criteria and forecasted 10 per cent water shortage during Rabi season (October 1st to March 30). IRSA Advisory Committee met here to approve the Rabi 2020-21 Anticipated Water Availability Criteria (AWC) from October 1st, 2020 to March 31st, 2021 under the Chairmanship of Engr. Syed Zahid Abbas and was attended by provincial members and Wapda representatives. IRSA Advisory Committee reviewed the Kharif 2020 system operation and observed that the actual Rim-Station inflows of 97.80 MAF remained 10 per cent less than forecasted volume of 108.24 MAF. Despite reduction in inflows, the Committee expressed satisfaction that the actual provincial withdrawals remained at 65.106 MAF and provinces got indented supplies. The actual system losses were 12.374 MAF as compared to anticipation of 17.633 MAF and downstream Kotri releases remained 14.698 MAF. 

The Committee appreciated the efforts of Chashma Barrage Chief Engineer regarding the flushing of sediments from the reservoir carried out in last ten days of August. It was expected that this flushing operation would reclaim considerable lost storage volume. The Committee also valued the facilitation of IRSA and the role of Flood Mitigation Committee (FMC) of Mangla Reservoir in mitigating of flood peaks in late August 2020, successfully. IRSA Advisory Committee discussed the recommendations of IRSA Technical Committee Meeting held on 25.09.2020 and approved likely Anticipated Water Availability  of 23.444 MAF at rim stations for Rabi 2020-21. Based on the Rim Station Inflows plus storage release of 12.054 MAF minus the expected system losses of 2.487 MAF and minor involuntary escapage downstream Kotri of 0.044 MAF, the approved likely availability at respective provincial canal heads will be 32.968 MAF, with Punjab have 17.813 MAF, Sindh 13.433 MAF, KP(CRBC) 0.701 MAF and  Balochistan 1.022 MAF.

Water availability at canal heads was 13 per cent higher than last year’s availability of 29.20 MAF and 9 per cent higher than 10-year’s average of 30.22 MAF. The Basin-wide shortage was approved as 10 per cent which was less than previous Rabi 2019-20’s forecasted shortage of 15 per cent and actual shortage of 20 per cent. It was agreed by the participants that projected shortages were manageable and hopefully the cropping targets for Rabi 2020-21 would be achieved be applying efficient and best water management practices. It was also decided that remaining within the above indicated likely shares, the provinces would submit their withdrawal plans within 15 days. The IRSA Advisory Committee also approved additional allocation of 0.149 MAF for Kachhi Canal of Balochistan. However, carry-over storage of 0.5 MAF for Early Kharif 2021 was linked with mid-season-review of the anticipated Rabi Criteria 2020-21 and in case of better inflows carry-over storage provision would be revisited.

The Committee was apprised that Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) - within the umbrella of Australian Aid and under supervision of IRSA, MoWR, WAPDA and focal persons of the provinces had prepared a software named as Water Apportionment (WAA) Tool, which forecasted Rim-Station inflows and performed system operation by running the reservoirs on set rules, routing the flows in the river network with accompanying losses/gains, allocating shares to the provinces on different sharing options and releasing excess water downstream Kotri, if available. It followed the same statistical and analytical techniques as manually adopted by IRSA and thus saved a lot of time by calculating system operation in a matter of seconds. With this ease of fast computing, the Tool had the capacity to calculate and present with different system operation scenarios, which previously consumed a lot of time. The Committee was informed that calculations of the Tool for Anticipated Criteria Rabi 2020-21 matched exactly with the assessments of IRSA and that the shortage predicted by the Tool was also 10 per cent.