Sir, reference A H Khokar’s letter ‘Learning from history’ in the Nation of Feb 04, I can understand the concern of the assembly members who must have thought that since Mangla and Tarbela dams had already reduced the flow in the Indus river and water was not even reaching the Indus delta, they could not allow Kalabagh dam to further deprive Sindh of its due share of water.
If the assembly members had cared to check with the Sindh irrigation department, they would have found out that the supply to Sindh canals which was 35.6 million acre feet (maf) before Mangla dam was built, had increased to 44.5 maf after Tarbela dam was built, an increase of 8.9 maf thanks to the two dams, with which Sindh was able to cultivate 27 lakh additional acres.
Why water is not reaching the delta is because the 14 canals at the three barrages of Sindh are using up all the water and leaving nothing for the delta, the canals are using up all the water because the demand for irrigation water has increased in proportion to the increase in population from 8 to 19 crore over the 40 years since the supply was increased.
The acute shortage of water in the country generally and in Karachi particularly is because we have not built a reservoir for 40 years which could have increased the availability of water, and it appears that another one is not going to be built for another 12 years at least, 52 years of reliance on just two dams!
Kindly allow this dialogue to continue so that the factual position is arrived at for the benefit of the readers. The issue of water shortage is too serious to be allowed to become a victim of misinformation.
Lahore, February 4.