Punjab, Sindh agree on enhanced water releases | Pakistan Today

Punjab, Sindh agree on enhanced water releases

ISLAMABAD: To limit the hydel power shortage to 1500MW from the estimated 3500MW, Punjab and Sindh on Tuesday agreed to increase water releases during the forthcoming canal closure period – December-January.
According to official sources, the agreement was reached during an inter-provincial meeting chaired by Minister for Water and Power Pervez Ashraf to review the current water availability, forthcoming annual canal closures and its impact on hydropower generation.
Punjab and Sindh agreed to empty Chashma reservoir till December 26, when the annual canal closure would start, and then 20,000 cusecs of water would be released daily from the Tarbela reservoir until January 31, the last day of canal closure. However, the provinces disagreed on the release of 14,000 cusecs of water from Mangla Dam during the canal closure period.
Sindh wanted Punjab to account for the enhanced water releases but Punjab did not commit. The meeting decided that the matter would be settled before the implementation of the canal closure schedule. The meeting asked Sindh to stop water releases below Kotri but the matter could not be decided as the representative from Sindh said he had to seek instructions from the provincial government.
The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) had proposed water releases of 11,000 cusecs from Mangla and 14,000 from Tarbela during the desilting of canals. This would have resulted in the decline of hydropower generation between 1500MW to 2000MW from the current level of 5300MW. However, under the new proposal, the shortfall would remain between 1000MW to 1500MW, sources said.
According to a press release issued by the Water and Power Ministry, the minister asked the provinces to remain strict on annual canal closures schedule and complete the desilting and repairs of canals and related infrastructure within 35 days, starting from December 26.
The minister asked the IRSA chairman to ensure judicious releases for meeting the crop water requirements while giving due consideration to generate maximum possible electricity from hydro resources during canal closures.

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