ISLAMABAD -  The water shortage in the country has mounted to 55 percent and Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has informed the provinces that there will be no water available for the new Kharif crops till April 15.

On one hand the water shortage is touching its peak and, ironically, on the other hand around 6,000 to 7,000 cusec water missed from the Indus system in a matter of just 24 hours, official sources told The Nation here on Wednesday. The official said that the Sindh government, in a letter written to IRSA, has showed serious concern over the missing of such a huge quantity of water from the system and has demanded of the IRSA to conduct an inquiry to find out the reason and fix the responsibility.

Giving the details, the official said that on March 21, inflows at Tarbela were 16,400 cusecs and outflows 15,600 cusecs, the inflows of Kabul at Nowshera was 5,000 cusecs and outflows 5,000 cusecs, Jhelum at Mangla inflows were 17,400 cusecs and outflows 18,000 cusecs while inflows of Chenab at Marala is 11,700 cusecs and outflows were outflows 4,500 cusecs.

Similarly, Jinnah Barrage inflows were 17,600 cusecs and outflows 15,000 cusecs, Chashma inflows 23,000 cusecs and outflows 19,800 cusecs, Taunsa inflows 22,000 cusecs and outflows 21,000 cusecs, Panjnad inflows 3,000 cusecs, Guddu inflows 26,400 cusecs and outflows 24,000 cusecs, Sukkur inflows 22,200 cusecs and outflows 4,000 cusecs, Kotri inflows 4,100 cusecs.

However on March 22, in span of only 24 hours, the inflow in Chashma Barrage was reduced from by 10,000 cusecs from 23,600 cusecs to 13,600 cusecs, while outflows reduced from 19,800 cusecs to 10,400 cusecs. The official said that IRSA will conduct an inquiry on the demand of the Sindh province, the official said.

Similarly, according the IRSA estimates, the water shortage has increased and in the rim stations it will be 48 percent while at barrages and canals it will reach to 55 percent, the official said. In a letter, IRSA has asked the provinces that in view of the current water shortage there will be no water for the first 15 days of Kharif season. IRSA has advised the provinces to avoid sowing early Kharif crops.

The Water Accord 1991 empowered IRSA to determine water availability in the country and provincial share twice a year, once for Kharif season and the other for Rabi season. Rabi season starts from October 1 while Kharif starts from April 1.

The Wheat crop in Sindh and Punjab has already matured. However, the sowing of early Kharif in Sindh is about to start which will be affecting due to shortage of water, the official said. If they avoid the sowing of early kharif crops then the situation will be improved. “Onward April 15, there is forecast of hot weather which will help melting the snow and the water availability situation of rivers will be improved,” the official said.