Report on the Water Situation in Pakistan April 05, 2011

by Khurshed Anwar

Please see brief excerpts from a news report which is attached – KA

Tarbela Dam has only 10 days water to meet the current irrigation requirements

Abmormal drop in Indus River flows caused by slow meltdown of glacier (climate change).

Tarbela dam level is dropping daily.

Inflow – 29,700 cusecs.  Outflow – 43,000 cusecs

Total generation – 10,487 MW. Hydropower share – 3,194 MW 
This will plunge heavily if the current state of water inflows persists in the days to come

Enough water for the provinces only for another week or so.

Total storage is less than one MAF …. (KBD – 6.1 maf)

Tarbela dam level – 1,388 feet …. Dead level – 1,378 feet

i.e. 10 feet of water = 0.15 maf

Mangla dam = 0.6 maf.   Others – 0.5 maf

Not received additional water from our major source, the Glaciers.

Rainfall took place only in upper areas like Islamabad,

not in the catchments areas of the rivers,

or directly at the canal irrigation lands.

Irsa might face an abnormal situation for a small while if the current water availability position continues to exist for more than 10 days.

Despite all above, chairman Irsa has claimed there was no panic or a disturbing situation in the country as far as water is concerned !!!

Water good for 10 days left at Tarbela

Dilshad Azeem
Tuesday, April 05, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The country’s largest reservoir at Tarbela Dam has been left with just 10 days water to meet the current irrigation requirements and to maintain already dropped down hydropower generation, The News has learnt.
“An abnormal drop in Indus River flows has been caused by slow meltdown of glaciers, the main source of water for Pakistan,” says Indus River System Authority (Irsa) here on Monday.

In a compelling situation, Tarbela Dam’s level is falling down with 12,000 cusecs daily as its outflow is being maintained at 43,000 cusecs against 29,700 cusecs per day inflow.
Overall, out of 10,487MW of electricity generation on Monday, the hydropower share was 3,194MW including from Tarbela and Mangla dams besides barrages and small units.
“It would plunge heavily if the current state of water inflows persists in the days to come,” say Wapda officials. The Punjab Irrigation Department is being provided 70,000 and Sindh 45,000 cusecs daily as the situation is fast heading towards an alarming stage in next 7-10 days.

“We have enough water to provide full indents to the provinces for another week or so amid abnormal water availability in Indus River,” Irsa chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan said, while confirming the current water picture.
As the country’s total storage stands at less than one MAF, Tarbela has merely 10 feet or 0.15MAF of water available for discharge as its current level stands at 1,388 feet against 1,378 feet dead level. Merely 0.6MAF is in Mangla Dam and 0.5MAF at barrages and small reservoirs.

Irsa chairman Rao Irshad said the additional water should have been available in Indus in current Kharif month. He disagreed that a dangerous situation was about to come, saying: “One cannot describe it an alarming situation as we would re-plan water releases after waiting at least for a week or 10 days”.

Rao was hopeful that Mangla Dam had enough availability and is safe as far as available storage is concerned. “We, Irsa, is giving water to Sindh province in accordance with its indent with 45,000 cusecs at Chashma downstream discharge.”
“The Indus influx and inflows from Kabul River, contributing 21,000 cusecs, enable us to ensure the provision also to Punjab having demand of 70,000 cusecs. Punjab gets water from Mangla as well as from other sources.”

“Yes this is change of global weather and we have not received additional water from our major source, the Glacier, due to insufficient temperature,” he said. Rao said the recent rains left pleasant weather in Islamabad on the one hand but adversely affected Indus flows. “The rainfall took place only in upper areas like Islamabad, not in the catchments areas of the rivers or directly at the canal fed irrigation lands.”

“Tarbela Dam often touches the dead level in early March, but our planning to counter any abnormal situation has enabled us to take and ensure the supplies as per provincial demands.”
Rao admitted that Irsa might face an abnormal situation for a small while if the current water availability position continues to exist for more than 10 days. “And definitely we would chalk out a fresh strategy in that case.”

The Irsa chairman claimed that there was no panic or a disturbing situation in the country as far as water is concerned. “Things will improve with availability of water in the system,” he added.

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