A high-profile team comprising federal and provincial ministers and the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) chairman on Tuesday informed the federal minister for water resources that authorities will soon start supplying Balochistan with the required water flows in a few days.
In order to review the situation of short supplies of water from Sindh to Balochistan, Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah along with the Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq chaired a meeting.
Irsa chairman Zahid Junejo, who is from Sindh, Federal Ministers Ayaz Sadiq, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Agha Hassan Baloch, and MNA Khalid Magsi were also present.
The water resources joint secretary informed the forum about the outcome of a high-profile team’s site visit to the Sukkar barrage.
On Saturday, a special team, which comprised federal and provincial ministers from Balochistan, the Irsa chairman, and other top officials, visited the Sukkur barrage and discussed the water flows threadbare, particularly from Balochistan’s point of view. They were briefed about water flows statistics and the percentage of shortage that Sindh province was bearing currently at its three barrages.
During the meeting on Tuesday, the forum appreciated the assurance given by the Sindh’s irrigation department regarding an increase in the water supplies of Balochistan in Pat Feeder’s Canal at RD 109 from 3,000 cusecs to 6,000 cusecs within a period of three to four days.
Furthermore, it was decided that short-medium- and long-term measures would be taken for addressing the issue of short supplies of water from Sindh to Balochistan considering the limitations conveyed by the irrigation department to the visiting team.
The officials informed that during the team's visit they were told that water supplies to Balochistan could not be immediately improved in Uch and Manuthi canals, whereas the increase in water supply in the Kirthar canal would also be dependent on an increase in river flows at Sukkar barrage, which may take almost a week time.
A report in this regard is being prepared by the ministry of water resources which will be submitted to a committee comprising the federal ministers for water resources and economic affairs.
Federal minister for water resources Syed Khursheed Shah is expected to forward the report to the premier.
Speaking during the meeting, Shah assessed that the recent monsoon rains are expected to reduce water scarcity, adding that the government was trying to provide an equal share of water to all provinces.
He reiterated that the provision of a timely and equal share of water to Balochistan and Sindh was among his top priorities and added a sub-committee entrusted with the task of resolving the water scarcity issue has visited the crucial barrages in the provinces.
“The leaders of Balochistan have seen it for themselves that Sindh is not depriving Balochistan of its rights. In the coming days, there will be no complaint regarding the supply of Balochistan water,” the federal minister stressed.
A detailed report will be submitted to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif soon in light of the report of the committee.