ISLAMABAD: The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has so far declined the government’s request to release additional water from the reservoirs for power generation.
“To meet the country’s water needs, IRSA is already faced with difficulties in filling Tarbela and Mangla dams till August due to additional releases of water and reduced rains in the country,” a senior official of IRSA, who wished not to be named, said. “Additional release of water from Tarbela Dam has already continued on the request of the Water and Power Ministry, while more releases from the two dams are not possible at this crucial time,” he added.
Official sources at the Ministry of Water and Power told Daily Times that release of water from the tunnel five of Tarbela Dam is already continuing for power generation, and the government should rely on other sources for increased power generation. They added that it would be a Herculean task for IRSA to completely fill both the reservoirs till August to meet the country’s water needs of the future. Officials at the Power Ministry, on the condition of anonymity, said that the incumbent government is interested in generating 500MW of hydropower instead of producing power with furnace oil.
It is noteworthy that the Tarbela Dam is currently facing acute water shortage of four hundred thousand acre feet. However, 50,000 acre feet of water, which is above the demands of provinces, is being released. Giving details of water release from both reservoirs, the sources said that one hundred and ninety thousand acre feet of water is being released to Sindh, one hundred and twenty four thousand to Punjab, twelve thousand and five hundred acre feet to Balochistan and three thousand acre feet of water to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The total water demand of the provinces stands at two hundred and eighty thousand acre feet, while over sixteen thousand acre feet of water is wasted at Kotri, Sindh, as it is directly going to sea due to additional releases, they added.
Official sources at IRSA say that water release from Mangla Dam is being decreased due to improved flow of water from River Chenab, while there is a likelihood of increase in water in Tarbela Dam, as temperature is expected to go up in Skardu in near future. They added that if water is not released to Punjab from Chashma-Jhelum (CJ) Link Canal and Taunsa Panjnad (TP) Link Canal situated on the River Indus then it would be more difficult to completely fill the Mangla Dam till August. It is worth mentioning here the masses are bearing the heavy brunt of power shortfall coupled with skyrocketing power tariff for a long time
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