ISLAMABAD                 -                The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources was Thursday informed that Pakistan is annually throwing 29 MAF water into the sea due to shortage of storage capacity. The economic benefit of this wasted water is more than Rs 4500 billon.

Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources, which met here with Muhammad Yousaf Badini in the chair, recommended that till the installation of telemetry system, water inspectors be deputed at distributions points to keep a check on any irregularities that may occur.

The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources discussed in detail water distribution issues amongst provinces, non-payment of dues to contractors and extension of Pat Feeder Canal Project. Progress on construction of small dams in Balochistan was also discussed by the committee.

Member IRSA from Punjab Rao Irshad Ali Khan briefed the committee regarding distribution amongst provinces as per the Water Apportionment Accord 1991.

The committee was informed that as per the 1991 Water Accord a total of 114.35 MAF water is being distributed among the provinces, with the share of Punjab 55.94 MAF, Sindh 48.76 MAF, KP 8.78 MAf  and Balochistan 3.87 MAF. The mechanism of distribution entails estimation of water available before the crop, approval of technical/advisory committee as per Water Apportionment Accord 1991 and criteria for reservoirs operation. Provinces prepare their canal withdrawal plans as per their allocated shares. The provinces place their indents on 5 daily to 10 daily basis to IRSA and water is released by WAPDA on IRSA’s Regulation Message. Provinces supply their Water Account on 10 daily basis and statements are reviewed and circulated to all the provinces by IRSA for reconciliation and transparency.  The Committee enquired about the telemetry system that is to be installed to check water flows.  The Committee recommended until this process is completed, water inspectors be deputed at distributions points to keep a check on any irregularities that may occur.  The Committee was also informed that Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtukhawa are exempted from water shortages and that development of Karez and Dams must be expedited to conserve water in these two provinces.

Due to scarcity of storage capacity in the country, around 29 MAF water is going annually downstream Kotri to the sea, member Irsa Punjab said. He said that the economic value of 1MAF water is one billion dollars. With today’s conversion rate of Pakistani Rupee, the total value of the water going to sea is more than Rs 4500 billion.  

While discussing the Extension of Pat Feeder Canal Project and issues regarding non-payment of dues to contractors, the Committee questioned the need of a third party in the project. It directed Government of Balochistan, Irrigation Department to submit all documentation including court orders and the NDC Report. It instructed that all third party claims must be settled within a week so that contractors do not suffer. 

While being briefed about the progress on the construction of small dams in Balochistan, the Committee asserted that to expedite the process a letter will be sent to Secretary Irrigation.  Relevant officers will be summoned in the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Senator Brig, (R) John Kenneth Williams, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Walid Iqbal and senior officers from the Ministry of Water Resources, Planning Division, IRSA along with all concerned.