Water from Manchar Lake suspended as scale of toxicity rises

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As the scale of toxicity rises in the Manchar Lake, one of the biggest lakes in Asia located near Sehwan in Jamshoro district, the water discharge from the lake to Indus river has been stopped.

Dr Ahsan Siddiqui, the water technologist who has been assigned the task of regularly monitoring the lake’s water quality by the Sindh High Court, told APP that the release from the lake to the river would remain suspended for at least three weeks.

“The river flows from downstream Sukkur barrage have dropped owing to which the lake is getting less fresh river water which was causing an increase of toxic elements in the lake,” he said.

The lake is filled with fresh water from Indus river from one point and from another point at Arahl Wah the lake’s water is released again into the Indus which flows towards Matiari, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Badin and Thatta districts from that location.

According to Dr Ahsan, the lake’s level had dropped to 110.5 feet from the peak of 114 to 115 feet that was attained after the monsoon rains and during the recent flood season.

He told that the contaminants like total dissolved solids (TDS) were measured on January 6 at 2320 against the permissible limit of 500 TDS and PH, which specifies acidity and alkalinity at 8.1 against the permissible limit of just 6.5 to 7 PH.

Similarly, he added, salinity was also measured at 2.5 in the lake which should not be higher than 0.6. “However, due to closure of release in the river, the readings taken from Indus around 5 kilometers away from the point of discharge at Arahl Wah appeared normal.”

“It means the river water is unaffected by the lake’s contamination,” he added. Dr Siddiqui’s team measured TDS at 278, PH at 7 and salinity at 0.3 all of which are within the normal ranges. The Manchar Lake spreads over between 200 to 250 square kilometers. It is inhabited by around 20,000 people mainly of the fishermen community.