Water shortage in canals may hamper wheat crop yield

While facing acute shortage of water in canals, Balochistan has blamed Sindh for water theft and asked the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) to intervene so that wheat crop yield may not be hampered at the crucial stage.

Balochistan has been experiencing an acute shortage of water in its Pat Feeder and Khirther canals since the commencement of Rabi season, and is persistently blaming Sindh for water theft. Farmers of Balochistan are consistently protesting against water shortage and demanding due water supplies for their crops. But, so far no resolve has surfaced to reduce the intensity of water shortage in two canals of the province despite the fact that wheat crop is at its crucial stage and needs water, sources told Pakistan Today on Sunday.

Taking cognizance of the situation, IRSA Chairman Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, on February 21, had written a letter to Sindh Irrigation Department secretary about the shortage of water in Balochistan canals. He asked to intervene and resolve the issue immediately.

“Keeping in view above situation, you are therefore requested to intervene and direct the concerned chief engineer to immediately visit the site and resolve the issue by restoring authorised supplies to Balochistan without further loss of time,” IRSA chairman advised the secretary.

Official documents show that IRSA member (Balochistan) has complained about a shortage of water in Balochistan canals to IRSA chairman. The member asked the chairman to kindly approach the Sindh Irrigation authorities to maintain supplies to Balochistan canals as per indent with Sindh so that wheat crop may not affect at its crucial stage. The member stated, “Water situation in Balochistan canals, as well as Garang Regulator, is alarming.”

According to official figures, Pat Feeder Canal’s approved share is 2,500 cusec feet (cfs) but on February 19 the canal received only 1,013 cfs and faced a shortfall of 1,487 cfs. Similarly, on February 20, the canal received shortfall of 847 cfs, while the canal on February 21 also experienced a shortfall of 789 cfs, and 731 cfs on February 22, 2017.

Pat Feeder Canal & Drainage superintendent engineer has accused that the Sindh Irrigation Department was not maintaining the rightful supplies to Balochistan canals (Pat Feeder and Khirthar) as per IRSA authorisation indent with Sindh. “Despite great deal of efforts, consistent approach at every forum there is no improvement in the situation, rather it is getting worse day-by-day,” said the SE in a letter to Quetta Canal Irrigation System chief engineer.

“Following the embarrassing situation the farmers of Pat Feeder and Khirthar canals are protesting against Irrigation Department which may create law and order situation,” the SE warned in the same letter.