M Sial Khan keeps writing about the resolutions of the three assemblies but never tells us what their objections are. Are they worried only about the displacement of people and loss of land. In both cases Punjab will lose more than KP. Sindh will lose nothing. Do they have any understanding of the international benchmarks which need to be observed. For instance the percentage of river waters that must be stored to enhance availability of water for the people, we are storing only 9 percent against an optimum of 40 percent. This too is reducing every day; do they understand what is meant by water-stress and water-scarce; that our per capita per annum availability of water is 1200 cubic meters, barely above the water-scarce level; do they understand the importance of transfer from wet to dry period, from the surplus Kharif period to the lean Rabi period, without which sowing of wheat in the Rabi period will be badly affected; that without dams to regulate river flows, uniform supplies over the twelve months would not be available for agriculture, industry, town supplies, community services and even for power generation, hydel power will be available only for three months. Without regulation there would be floods for three months and draught for the remaining nine months. Do they know what is meant by ‘contingency reserve’, do they think our 30 day reserve is sufficient to guard against any contingency, natural or man-made i.e Indian designs on our rivers, we won’t have even this much reserve if a mega dam is not built at the earliest. Are we going to sit on our hands and wait 15 years for Bhasha dam while all the vital bench marks reach the critical level.

Any fears of the flow in the Indus being reduced are unfounded. The flow will actually increase when the shares of Sindh and Balochistan are released into the river. These shares will be drawn from the surplus flood water stored in the reservoir and not from the river which will continue to flow normally. The 2.2 million acre feet additional water will benefit both Sindh and the Indus delta. Punjab will get the same amount despite the vast difference in population and the area under cultivation. We should see that India has 4500 medium and large dams and thousands of small dams, many of them on our rivers.


Lahore, January 18.