Islamabad  -  Senators from Sindh alleged Indus River System Authority of violating water accord 1991 and said that during Kharif season, the province was hit hard by water shortage which, they said, was resulting in low yields.

All necessary measures must be taken to ensure that water distribution amongst the provinces takes place strictly in accordance with the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord, senator Syed Muzzafar Hussain Shah said in a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources.

The committee met with Senator Shammim Afridi in the chair. Senator Sassui Palijo said that Punjab had multiple water resources, whereas Sindh had only one.

She said that the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 was being severely violated and that the regulatory bodies were responsible for this. “If you kill someone thirsty, then law and order situation would definitely emerge there,” she said.

In Kharif, Sindh faced acute water shortage which resulted in low yields as compared to Punjab, Palijo said.

Despite reservation of Sindh, Punjab was supplied water from flood water canal, she said, adding that on water distribution, mutual trust was eroding among the provinces.

Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah said that the Indus Water Apportionment Accord 1991 was not being followed for water distribution. Under this accord, 10 million acre feet water is supposed to be released downside of Kotri Barrage.

Had even 5 MAF water been released; the situation in Sindh would have been better, Shah said.

Chairman IRSA Sher Zaman Khan briefed the Committee on water situation in the country. He said that CJ Canal and Thal Canal were not flood canals but regular canals operated within the share of Punjab.

He also provided details of seepage below Kotri Barrage since 1991 to date and said that IRSA at the start of each cropping season prepared reservoir operation criteria with approval of the advisory committee with representation of all stakeholders.

The chairman IRSA said that in Rabi and Kharif seasons, water was distributed according to the availability in the system.

He said that no injustice was being done with anyone in water distribution. He said that for Rabi season (Oct-March), 23 MAF of water would be available, with a shortage of 1.41 MAF.

While discussing water shortage in Balochistan, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini recommended that the governments of Balochistan and Sindh must settle the water dispute initially amongst themselves.

He further stated that theft and infringement of water flows towards Balochistan must be stopped within a short span of time so that the province could get their appropriate share.

He said that Kacchi Canal must be completed soon and gate to check water flow must be installed immediately. While discussing Naulong Dam in District Jhal Magsi, the Committee took serious notice of delays in the project.

Senior officers of Planning Division, WAPDA and Irrigation Department of Government of Balochistan were called upon to remove bottlenecks in the construction of the Dam.

Provincial coordinator Balochistan Bashir Tareen said that Balochistan government would build Naulong Dam in district Jhal Magsi and they were preparing its PC-I. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to finance it, he said. The chairman of the committee directed that the PC1 must be submitted at the earliest. This, he asserted must be done before the meeting with the ADB.

Senator Muzaffar made some recommendations to the committee, saying that necessary steps must be taken to ensure that water distribution amongst the provinces takes place strictly in accordance of the 1991 Water Apportionment Accord.

He stressed the need to determine the status of Chashma Jehlum link Canal, the greater Thal Canal and the consent of the lower riparian before the two canals are made operational.

He said that through the Water Apportionment Accord, a minimum 10 MAF of water should flow downstream to protect the environment and check sea intrusion in the coastal belt of Thatta and Badin. International report of IPOE recommends 5 MAF of water downstream of Kotri so as to protect the environment and the coastal belt.

He recommended that instead of repeated complaints, the Telemetry System installed by WAPDA is defective and now steps are being taken to install a new Telemetry System by IRSA through the World Bank. This he said must be checked by all the four participants for accuracy.

The meeting was attended by senators Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Sana Jamali, Ahmed Khan, Usman Khan Kakar, Gianchand and senior officers of Ministry of Water Resources, Indus Rivers Systems Authority (IRSA) and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

Senator Sassui Palijo and Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah who were movers of the point of public importance regarding the alarming water situation in Sindh were also present.