THE differences over the sharing of water between the provinces should be resolved immediately because the deadlock does not bode well for the federation. The Indus River System Authority's argued that Punjab has already consumed its supply of water and hence rejected its request of 2.5 million acre feet of water. But Punjab claims that this amount of water is still pending and should be released. Of late, IRSA also reduced the supply of water flowing into the important tributary of Chashma-Jhelum canal without taking Punjab into confidence. There appears to be some sort of ethnic tinge to the issue. There are reports that certain pro-Sindh elements are at the forefront of IRSA's decision-making and are causing the present crisis. But whatever the reason, we cannot ignore the fact that the teamwork, which should have been there, is clearly missing. Generally speaking, the issue is a sad reflection on the state of our unity. Punjab's demand is genuine because it badly needs water for the Rabi season to sustain the next years' wheat crop. According to estimates, the current water shortage would affect 10 million acres in southern Punjab. The people, who rely on canal water for domestic use since the underground water is unfit for human consumption, would also suffer. Given the situation, when the Rabi crops are in a dire need of water, the Punjab government ought to voice its concern in a firm manner. One would expect IRSA to ensure that the provinces get their share of water and that its decisions are not made under pressure from any quarter. It must show complete impartiality. What is most important is that we must realise the importance of building big reservoirs such as Kalabagh dam. In a situation where the Indian machinations are turning the country into an agricultural wasteland, our dithering based on parochial considerations could cost us a lot.