ISLAMABAD

Owing to improved water availability in the country, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has further revised downwards the anticipated water shortage for Rabi season from 8 percent to zero, it was learnt reliably here.
After reduction in the anticipated shortage, the water regulatory body is expecting the availability of additional 3-4 MAF of water for carrying forward for Kharif season, an official source told The Nation.
The decision was taken in the IRSA meeting held on February 1st and the provinces have been asked to withdraw as much water as they can, the source said. The water availability in the country has increased due to rains and the authority has decided to reduce the anticipated water shortage.
The Water Accord 1991 empowered IRSA to determine water availability in the country and provincial share twice a year, once for Kharif season, starting April 1st, and the other for Rabi season, starting from October 1st. In the first determination made by IRSA’s advisory committee in its meeting held on September 30, 14 per cent water shortage was forecasted for the Rabi season, which was later reduced to 8 percent and now to zero.
The water flow is so uncertain that during the first month of Rabi, IRSA was pondering over the upward revision of the anticipated water shortage from 14 to 20 percent for the season, but later in view of the improve flows the authority has twice revised the water shortage.
It is also pertinent to mention here that due to climate change and unpredictable rains, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has decided to review the water availability situation on monthly basis instead of bi-annual basis.
Climate change has made Pakistan more vulnerable to weather fluctuations including; severe rain, droughts etc, and in such a situation it is becoming hard to determine accurate water availability for six months duration in advance, the source said.
Meanwhile, IRSA has also decided to increase the outflow from Mangla dam to 60000 cusecs, the source said. About 70 percent of the water from Mangla will be used by Punjab while the remaining 30 percent will be used by Sindh and Baluchistan. The outflow has been increased for reducing the water level of Mangla to 1120 feet, the source said.
There is some repair work on the retaining wall of the dam therefore the water level has to be decreased by February 29. Due to increase supply from Mangla it was decided to reduce the flow from Tarbela water reservoir to 23000 cusecs, the source added.