Women plant rice in a field outside Lahore, Pakistan. — Reuters/File
Women plant rice in a field outside Lahore, Pakistan. — Reuters/File
  • Minister says Sindh has differences with federation over water.
  • Shoro adds there is up to 70% shortage of water in other canals.
  • “Sindh needs maximum water releases as per water accord,” he says.

Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro Thursday asked Islamabad to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the province, urging that there should be no water shortage for crop production.

The minister, when commenting on the issue, said there is a difference with the federation regarding water scarcity in Sindh.

“The Nara and Rohri canals are getting 7,200 cusecs of water, while there is up to 70% shortage of water in other canals,” he said.

Shoro added that the government is ensuring the supply of crops and drinking water under the rotation programme.

He said the government is making a separate scheme to drain rainwater from the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD), Dhoro Puran Outfall Drain (DPOD) and Hakro drain 

“Under the scheme, a big gate will be installed at RD 210,” he said, adding that a report has been sought from the concerned deputy commissioners of the aforementioned drains.

He directed DC Mirpurkhas to work on removing encroachments from Dhoro and Puran drains.

A day earlier, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) asked Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to release water from the Tarbela Dam beyond the storage level of 1,420 feet mark.

However, the initiative is likely to jeopardise the sowing of two main Kharif crops, cotton and rice, in Sindh, The News reported on Wednesday.

According to the publication, Wapda’s instructions for IRSA came in the backdrop of requirement of water for construction of tunnel project (T3) as water withdrawal from low-level outlets will hurt the construction work.

Sindh desperately needs water releases from Tarbela Dam at Indus during the early Kharif period from April 1 to June 10. In case the cotton crop production in 2024-25 is affected, the textile sector would have to import it for billions of dollars.

In the IRSA technical committee meeting, Sindh expressed its concerns over Wapda’s failure to complete its tunnel projects.

In the meeting, the provincial government stressed maximum water releases from the Tarbela reservoir from low-level outlets so that it could sow cotton and rice on time.

It clearly stated that there is no water available at the Kotri Barrage — the last barrage on the Indus — even for drinking purposes.

When contacted by The News, Shoro said the advisory committee meeting on April 2 would take up the issue. However, Sindh needs maximum water releases in early Kharif; otherwise, it will brave an unmatchable loss in Kharif crops’ production.

“We do not support the storing of water to the level Wapda has asked for. Sindh needs maximum water releases as per the water accord and if there is a shortage, it should be passed on to all the provinces,” the minister said.

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