LAHORE -  The Punjab Irrigation Department will start closing down canals from next month under the canal closure plan for de-silting for Rabi 2017-18 season.

The department has announced that 12 channels under Mangla command canal and nine channels under Tarbela command canals in Punjab will remain closed from December 26 to January 30 on periodic basis.

Electricity consumers will have to bear more load shedding during at least 30 days because of significant reduction in water outflows from two major dams resulting in considerable decrease of hydel generation.

Power distribution companies (Discos) are currently conducting average six hours load shedding in their rural and urban limits. It is predicted the load shedding duration will be doubled during the canals closure period—last week of December to end of January.

Hydel generation contributes around 30 to 40 per cent in total power production of the country.

According to Irrigation Department, Lowe Jehlum Canal will remain closed from December 26 to January 12, Rasul Qadirabad Link from December 12 to January 12, Qadirabad Balloki Link from December 27 to January 13, Lower Bari Doab Canal from December 29 to January 15, Balloki Sulemanki Link from December 29 to January 15, Upper Pakpattan Canal from December 13 to January 16, Eastren Sadqia Canal from December 30 to January 16, Upper Jehlum Canal January 12 to January 29, Lower Chenab Canal (except Jhang Branch which will remain closed from December 27 to January 30) January 13 to January 30, Upper Bhalwal Canal from January 13 to January 30, Upper Chenab Canal from December 26 to January 12 and Central Bari Doab Canal from December 27 to January 13. These channels flow under Mangla Command.

Nine canals flow under Tarbela Command will remain closed for de-silting during the following period: Thal Canal from January 13 to January 30, Trimmu Canals from January 10 to January 27, Trimmu Sidhnai Link from January 10 to January 27, Sidhnai Canal from January 11 to January 28, SMB Link from January 11 to January 28, Lower Pakpattan Canal from January 12 to January 29, Lower Bhalwal Canal from January 13 to January 30, Panjnad Canal from January 5 to January 22 and Taunsa Canal from December 31 to January 17.