Short supply of water causes $0.824 billion loss to Sindh’s economy
Sindh faces 824,000 AF water shortages during Kharif season; CM Murad urges fed govt. to intervene for fair water distribution
Murad Shah terms distribution on Historic Uses as violation of the Water Accord; demands compensation for water shortages
Karachi: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah strongly protesting against unjust distribution of water by Indus River System Authority (IRSA) demanded the federal government to intervene in the matter and ensure distribution of water as per 10-daily allocations and termed distribution on Historic Uses as violation of the Water Accord.
“Sindh has faced 35 percent water shortage in early Kharif therefore people of Sindh should be compensated by releasing more water to enable them to water their drying crops”.
This he said while addressing a crowded press conference here at CM House on Friday. He was accompanied by Senior Advisor on Agriculture Manzoor Wassan, Minister Information Saeed Ghani, Minister Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro and Advisor law Murtaza Wahab.
The chief minister said that on April 8, 2021 IRSA Advisory Committee had anticipated a 10 percent shortage during Early Kharif starting from 1st April to 10th June with respect to a three tier formula that was opposed by the Sindh government. “The water share of Sindh was fixed at 6.345 MAF during early Kharif Season against an allocation of 8.292 MAF in the Water Accord which anticipated a shortage of 23.5 percent for Sindh.
Shah said that the share of Punjab was fixed at 10.535 MAF against its 12.424 MAF share in Water Accord for Early Kharif that showed an anticipated shortage of 15.2 percent with respect to Water Accord allocation. He added that the shortage of Sindh was anticipated at 23.5 percent while the shortage of the Punjab for the same period was 15.2 per cent.
Murad Ali Shah said that about 51,700 Acre feet of less water was earmarked for Sindh due to three tier distributions at the start of the Kharif Season.
“Sowing season of cotton in Sindh starts from April, whereas in Punjab it begins during May,” the CM said and added, therefore Sindh utilized water keeping in view the anticipated shortage and faced about 22 percent shortage in the month of April – but soon after opening of Punjab canals, the shortage to Sindh Province increased tremendously in the month of May at 38 percent, in June 27 percent and in July nine percent.”
Whereas shortage faced by Punjab in the month of May was 17 percent, in June 12 percent and in July 2 percent, Shah said and added “it is depicted that from May to July Sindh faced more than double shortage with respect to Punjab in every month,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah said that it was pertinent to mention here that against the anticipated share of 6.345 MAF for Early Kharif, Sindh utilized 5.385 MAF and faced 15 percent shortage with respect to three tier shares fixed by IRSA. “On the other hand, Punjab utilized 9.533 MAF against a share of 10.535 MAF, and faced only 9.5 percent shortages,” he pointed out.
The chief minister said that it showed that during the Early Kharif Season Sindh faced more shortages even compared with IRSA’s so called three tier formulae. “It is the responsibility of IRSA to balance the shortages at the end of Early Kharif Season – but it (IRSA) has failed in this regard,” he lamented.
Shah said that due to unfair distribution of water by IRSA, Sindh was deprived of 824000-acre feet of water from 1st April to 31st July. “Consequently, there remains an acute shortage of water in Sindh and sowing of cotton and rice crops has been badly affected and there is great hue and cry in the farmer community,” he disclosed.
To a question, Murad Ali Shah said that as per study of IRSA Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan the economic value of 1 MAF was equivalent to $ 1 billion, so due to less supply of about 824,000-acre feet, Sindh economy would suffer about $ 0.824 billion during current Kharif Season.
He said that due to late arrival of water, the demand has accumulated. “Even today Sindh is receiving water as per (Para-2) Water Accord but many tail areas are still without water due to unjust distribution of water by IRSA,” he said.
According to the CM, on the one hand when indent of Sindh is not being fulfilled, the IRSA is allowing transfer of water from Indus System to Jhelum-Chenab System through C-J and T-P Link Canals on the other hand. He said that there was a great resentment among the people of Sindh for operating the link canals.
Shah said that Para-7 of the accord recognized certain minimum escapades of water to the sea, below the Kotri Barrage, just to check sea intrusion. “We believe that at least 10 MAF should be provided to downstream Kotri Barrage,” he said and added the International Panel of experts in their report of 2005 recommended 5000 cusecs should be escaped downstream Kotri daily and 25 MAF accumulated in 5 years. “The average figure is about 8.6 MAF annually but during the current Kharif Season only a meagre quantum of 1.74 MAF has passed downstream of Kotri Barrage,” he lamented.
Also read: Sindh Faces Acute Water Shortage
“Sindh Government strongly protest against this unjust distribution of water and demands that Federal Government shall intervene in the matter and direct to IRSA that water shall be distributed as per 10-daily allocations, which were made part and parcel of the Accord by Council of Common interest (CCI) in 1991, Murad Ali Shah said and added “the Law Division has already interpreted Para 14(a) & 14(b) of the Accord and termed distribution on Historic Uses as violation of the Water Accord”.
Educational Institutions closed for one more week
Replying to a question, the chief minister said that the educational institutions such as schools, colleges and universities would remain closed for another week just to enable the teaching and non-teaching staff to get them vaccinated. He also told the parents that their children would have to show their vaccination cards for their entry in the school. “Therefore, it became mandatory for the parents to get them vaccinated within a week and now the school will reopen on August 30,” he said.
Reinstatement Ordinance annulment
Replying to a question about the struck down the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act of 2010 by the Supreme Court, the chief minister said that over 10,000 employees of 11 ministries/departments would suffer.
Shah said that the apex court has struck down the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act-2010 under which employees of Intelligence Bureau, Commissioner Afghan Refugees, National Highway Authority, PTCL, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation, State Life Insurance, Civil Aviation Authority, WAPDA, SSGC Ltd, Education department and Trading Corporation of Pakistan would be affected.
The CM urged the Supreme Court to review its decisions because it was affecting over 10,000 families. He recalled that the act was passed by the National assembly and Senate and a massive exercise was made to enact the law. He added that most of the employees being rendered jobless belonged to Sindh.
To another question, the chief minister said that a federal minister has claimed that not a single Afghani has crossed the border during the on-going Afghan crisis. He deplored that the federal government did not take the provinces into confidence during such a crisis and situation, but it was the responsibility of the federal government to plug the exodus of the refugees.