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Water reservoirs will be depleted by beginning of February, predicts IRSA chairman

Indus River System Authority (Irsa) Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan said Wednesday the country’s reservoirs will be depleted of water by the end of February or beginning of March, according to a DawnNews report.

“As of today, the Tarbela and Mangla dams hold a total of 1.3 miillion acre-feet (MAF) of water,” the chairman said while speaking to DawnNews.

Lack of rain in the country has led to the drop in reservoir and underground water levels, and this is having a serious impact on the agriculture sector.

Experts fear that if there is no rain till February, the situation might worsen as reservoirs will have reached a dead level by then.

Due to the depleting reserves, Punjab could face problems during the harvesting season in March, Khan said.

He said the only way to avoid a full-blown water crisis in the future is to build more reservoirs, recalling that last year nearly 12MAF of water was lost to the sea.

Khan said Pakistan’s annual water requirement is around 102MAF. Annually, the country receives between 120 and 125MAF of water ─ a slight surplus.

However, the surplus cannot be stored because of a lack of storage facilities.

“Anything above 125MAF cannot be tapped till storage facilities are built,” Khan said.

According to Irsa, the dry spell will create a greater water shortage than the 17pc announced earlier for the Rabi season.

The country had faced a severe drought-like situation in 2001, when the drought had lasted for a year, and then again in 2009, which continued for three to six months.

The maximum water flow Pakistan has received is 183 MAf in the year 1979, while the minimum is 99 MAF.

courtesy : dawn news

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