WITH the country expecting big water shortages in Kharif season, it was agreed at a meeting chaired by President Zardari that the shortfall would be shared jointly by Punjab and Sindh in accordance with the landmark 1991 Water Apportionment Accord (WAA). It was decided to stop further storage of water in Tarbela and reduce the river flow at Taunsa and Panjnad barrages, and if needed, to close the TP Link Canal. This would reportedly enhance the discharges to Sindh from the present 116,000 cusecs to 148,000 daily against the province's indent of 170,000 cusecs daily, with Punjab getting 101,000 cusecs a day against its 159,000 cusecs demand. Besides the relevant government leaders from Sindh, those who attended the meeting included all five IRSA members, the WAPDA Chairman and the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission. Somehow the Punjab government representative was not invited to the meeting though, reportedly, telephonic consent was obtained. The decision evoked grave concern across the political divide in the Punjab Assembly on Thursday, and some members wanted to move a resolution against it. The Punjab government decided to convene an urgent high-level meeting to examine the various aspects of the implications the decision carried and place its findings before the House today. It is important to note that enhancing the discharge to Sindh would have serious implications for Punjab. Nevertheless, it was decided to shelve the move for resolution till the government's views had been presented. Pakistan's agriculture heavily depends on the vagaries of nature and, as in the present case, an unexpected and prolonged clouding of a glacier can upset all calculations and play havoc with the economy. There is a need under the circumstances to get rid, as much as possible, of factors beyond man's control. This can be done in two ways. First, by constructing water reservoirs and second, by taking recourse to water conservation techniques. The sharing of scarce water between the upper and lower riparians continues to create problems all over the world while it has over decades assumed the form of a full-fledged dispute between Punjab and Sindh. Construction of big dams therefore requires consensus between the provinces. There is a need on the part of the two mainstream parties to work together towards this goal. Besides introducing in a big way the drip and sprinkle irrigation techniques recommended by President Zardari, there is a need to construct cemented watercourses to save water from evaporation and seepage. Both government and private sector need to cooperate to introduce water conservation schemes.