The Province of Sindh forms the lower Indus basin is about 579 kms in length from South to North and nearly 442 kms in its extreme breadth (281 kms average). It covers 140915 square kms out which about 5% under coastal line, 15% hilly terrain, 30% Thar Desert and 50% under command of Indus River System where most of the economic activities take place.

Unfortunately the desert region is without any surface water infrastructure. During 1960s the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan gave India the right to use waters of three rivers of Punjab Satluj, Beas and Ravi, consequently India diverted water of 7.6 million acre feet of these river into the eastern part of the Thar Desert, in old time these river seasonal flooded the Thar desert region from Guddu Barrage command to eastern Nara region by forming a large number of lakes extended to Khairpur, these water bodies historically maintained the desert ecology, now the area have been deprived from its natural water flow share and about 4.5 million people are forced to living in miserable condition. Due to this scenario there is dire need for the construction of Thar Canal off taking from Guddu Barrage in order to address the surface water issue of Thar Desert Sindh.

The WAPDA under Rainee Canal ongoing project has already constructed the feeding regulator for the future Thar Canal at RD 188 with the provision of 5000 cusec discharge additional, this 60 km lined canal segment carrying discharge of 10,000 cusec from the Guddu Barrage, the remaining 400 km partly earthen and CC lined section should be constructed with provision of intermediate reservoirs for the sufficient storage and raising the head for the gravity flow. The connectivity of this arrangement will also ensure the safety of the Barrage in time of floods by diverting flood water into Desert and also increases the efficiency of irrigation system. The contours are favourable in the entire reach and there are no land acquisitions, social, environmental or other related resettlement issues.

Thar Canal should be constructed at the earliest so water could reach the Thar areas, which will be benefited not only to anticipating drought and famine but also, recharging the ground water resources and improving the quality of the existing system. Certainly construction of Thar canal will also be create a favourable habitat for the wildlife and increase vegetation canopy and forest wealth, ensure the food security and production of fodder, saving human and livestock losses, restricting the migration of indigenous peoples, and will restore the historical cultural trends.

ENGINEER IMRAN AZIZ TUNIO,

Hyderabad, October 5.