Tarbela Dam touches dead level
ISLAMABAD – After more than a decade Tarbela Dam has touched its dead level in the month of May and making the situation further alarming and it is likely that the shortage of water may reach to 55 percent.
“As the water flows decreased in the rivers Balochistan has once again complaint to Indus River System Authority (IRSA) about Sindh stealing its share of water,” official source told The Nation. “It is abnormal that Tarbela has touched dead level in the month of May, which is real alarming” the source said.
“We have seen such an unusual situation in 2004 when Tarbela Dam had reached to its dead level and then during the entire season the reservoir had not reached to its peak level during monsoon season,” the source said. Due to less water discharge from Tarbela Dam nine out of fourteen units were already stopped and it was producing less than 600 MW electricity. The reaching of dead level will further decrease the hydropower generation.
The main reason for the dam to reach to its dead level is cloudy weather without any rain and low temperature in the catchment areas. Pakistan Metrological Department has predicted that temperature of April and May will be higher than the normal one but as against the forecast it is in minus which has decreased the snow melting and thus affecting the dam level, the source added.
The source said that currently out of total releases from Indus Punjab is taking only 9 percent while the remaining 91 percent is being provided to Sindh and Balochistan. However Balochistan has registered complaint with Irsa that Sindh is stealing their share of water.
Irsa has increased Mangla outflows to 45000 cusecs where 35000 cusecs is being released through power plants while 10000 cusecs through spell ways. However the spell way releases cannot be continuing for long and as soon as the water level will reduce the discharge will be stopped from spell ways. It means the water release from the dam will be reduced.
Meanwhile the spokesman for the Irsa, Khalid Rana, told the media that Tarbela Dam has reached to its dead level as the Indus River inflows have declined from about 39000 cusecs to 36000 cusecs. The water flows in four major rivers have declined by almost 17000 cusecs, including River Indus from 39000 cusecs to 36000 cusecs. Kabul, Jhelum and Chenab have declined from 24000 cusecs, 33000 cusecs and 23000 cusecs to 19000 cusecs, 30000 cusecs and 17000 cusecs respectively.
The total releases to the provinces is 121500 cusecs with a shortage is -35 percent. Currently Punjab is getting 67500 cusecs (-37%), Sindh 45000 cusecs (-37%), Balochistan 5900 cusecs, KP 3100 cusecs, the spokesman said. On Sunday River inflows were 1O3900 cusecs, River outflows 121800 cusecs.
The spokesman said that shortages to provinces is 37 percent at rim station but situation is alarming and declining river inflows may increase shortages ranging 50 to 55 percent.
Rivers: Indus at Tarbela: inflows 36500 cusecs and outflows 40000 cusecs, Kabul at Nowshera: inflows 19800 cusecs and outflows 19800 cusecs, Jhelum at Mangla: inflows 30600 cusecs and outflows 45000 cusecs, Chenab at Marala: inflows 17000 cusecs and outflows 7100 cusecs.
Barrages: Jinnah: inflows 62300 cusecs and outflows 58800 cusecs, Chashma: inflows 62300 cusecs and outflows 54000 cusecs, Taunsa: inflows 54700 cusecs and outflows 44900 cusecs, Panjnad: inflows 4400 cusecs and outflows nil cusecs Guddu: inflows 34000 cusecs and outflows 34000 cusecs, Sukkur: inflows 30200 cusecs and outflows 9200, Kotri: inflows 5500 cusecs and outflows nil.
The position of the reservoirs is follow; Tarbela present level is 1386.15 feet against the minimum operating level of 1386 feet and the maximum conservation level of 1550 feet,
Mangla minimum operating level 1050 feet and the present level 1102.20 feet. The maximum conservation level of Mangla is 1242 feet. Chashma against the minimum operating level of 638.15 feet is present level 639.30 feet while the maximum conservation level 649 feet.