The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Water Resources on Monday endorsed a proposal of the Punjab government for appointment of independent inspectors at critical barrages for spot checking of water losses as the provinces complained about shortages.
The meeting of the panel was presided over PPP’s Nawab Yousaf Talpur. Besides members of the committee, the meeting was also attended by the Punjab minister for irrigation, secretaries of irrigation departments of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and chairman and members of the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) representing the provinces.
After listening to the views and complaints of the provincial representatives, the committee recommended that inspectors should be appointed for spot checking of water losses. The meeting also decided to constitute a committee comprising representatives of the irrigation departments of Punjab and Sindh and Irsa to examine the issue in a holistic manner and control water losses.
Sindh Irsa member Zahid Hussain Junejo said the province faced serious water shortage of about 44pc and the situation was particularly precarious at Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri Barrages. Balochistan member Abdul Hameed Mengal, on the other hand, reported that his province was facing 60pc shortage at present but overall it faced 75pc lower water than its share.
The Irsa chairman, who is also Punjab member, told the committee that both Sindh and Punjab were being supplied water with 23pc cut against their share at present. Sindh was getting about 84,000 cusecs while 90,600 cusecs water was being supplied to Punjab. The Irsa chief said the water regulator was releasing full water share of Balochistan and demanded that Sindh should ensure this allocated share to Balochistan.
The standing committee was also informed that the canal system in Punjab was the biggest system in the country but water losses in the province were only 15pc of total losses while 85pc losses took place downstream of Punjab and particularly between the areas of Punjnand and Kotri.