ISLAMABAD - Power generation and water outflow came to halt from Mangla Dam on Monday as the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has reduced the indent from the reservoir to zero.

“With immediate effect, Mangla powerhouse indent is reduced to ‘Nil’ as demanded by the Punjab Irrigation Department,” said IRSA spokesman Khalid Rana. He said that this was the second time in history that Mangla powerhouse has been closed due to water scarcity.

Meanwhile, a source told The Nation that water releases from Mangla reservoir were, for the first time, shut down in 2010.

The source said that once again supply from the Mangla reservoir has been discontinued as the Punjab Irrigation Department has reduced the indent from Mangla to zero. Once the sowing season starts, in the province, water supply from the reservoir will be resumed, the source said.

Currently, Punjab is taking 6000 cusecs from Thal and 1000 cusecs from CRBC, while the rest of the canals are closed for the province. The stoppage of outflows from Mangla and reduction of outflows from Tarbela will negatively impact the hydel power generation and will reduce hydroelectricity to only 2000 megawatts (MW), the source said.

However, an official in the power division was of the view that the situation was under control as they have enough generation from IPPs and Gencos.

“The demand is low these days and is hovering around 15000 MW while the generation is around 13000 to 14000,” the official said.  The IPPs are generating 9000 MW, Gencos are adding another 3000 MW while the hydel generation is around 2000, the official said. The source in IRSA said that during the first 20 days of Rabi season (October 1 to 20) the flows in rivers were 21 per cent less than the average flows of the past 10 years. The average flows received, during past 10 years, were 3.7 MAF. However, this year the flows reduced to 2.94 MAF, the source said.

From October 1, the start of Rabi season, till 20th October, four main rivers received 20 percent, less inflows than the anticipated ones, the source said. The total average anticipation in Indus, Kabul, Jhelum, and Chenab was 3.675 MAF but the actual inflows of 2.943 MAF were received, the source said.

For example, the official said, that the average anticipated inflows of River Indus were 1.923 MAF, however, the inflows were 9 percent less or 1.747 MAF. It was anticipated that the average inflows in Kabul River will be 0.481 MAF but the actual inflows were 54 percent less or 0.22 MAF.

Officials in IRSA are worried about the water situation as the metrological department has forecast below than normal rain during the next three to four months. The IRSA has convened a meeting on October 31 to discuss the water situation in the country, the source said.

During last one week, the water releases from Mangla were reduced from 35000 cusecs to zero. First, the outflows were reduced from 35000 to 30000 cusecs, then to 10000, then to 5000 and now it has been completely stopped.

In a letter last week, the IRSA had asked the WAPDA that due to water shortage, from now on the execution time for the intent of water will not be 36 hours but all the directive regarding the water releases from reservoirs will be implemented immediately.

Under normal circumstances, the WAPDA was required to implement the IRSA’s decision, for the water releases, within 36 hours but now the procedure has been changed, the source said.