ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) is all set to consider a political solution of water dispute among provinces, besides settling Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG) after injecting RLNG in the system, and other gas-related issues on Thursday (today).
Sharing the details, sources said, the representatives of Sindh and Punjab are often seen fighting with each other over water distribution and availability, whereas Balochistan accuses Sindh of stealing water of its share.
The issue came under discussion at the CCI and pursuant to the CCI decision of 38th CCI meeting, the then Attorney General for Pakistan, Anwar Mansoor Khan, presented the following recommendations to the CCI: (i) in the present circumstances, the first thing is to determine the volume of water actually available. The 10 highest daily users were determined by the CCI on September 16, 1991 and the distribution, whether the water is short or surplus, should be on that basis; (ii) calculating the actual available water may be assigned to an independent body consisting of expert hydrologists. Thereafter, if the available water is found to be equal to 114.35 MAF, the Water Accord may be implemented as provided in the paras 2 and 4 of the Accord. In case, the water available is below 114.35 MAF, then till that volume is achieved through conservation measures and construction of additional storage capacity, the decision of September 16, 1991, being a part of the Accord, may be implemented for the apportionment which shall be read with 14(b) of the Accord;(iii) notwithstanding the above, given the depleting storage capacity of existing dams due to sedimentation, construction of more dams is essential. According to the experts, in order to ensure required “future storage” capacity, one mega dam needs to be added every 10 years. In addition, smaller storage facilities should be examined and built; and (iv) telemetry system should be immediately installed for the purpose of calculating the flow and volume of water at each stage. This will also remove doubts being created that there is theft of water.
According to official documents, the Office of Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), in its letter of April 5, 2021, intimated that the AGP, Khalid Jawed Khan, has examined the position papers submitted by the provinces. It appears that the issue is more political than legal and the safest course is to resolve it amicably through deliberations between the provinces rather than on the basis of a legal opinion which, as witnessed earlier from the opinion of former AGP, Anwar Mansoor Khan, could not resolve the issue given the different positions taken by the provinces.
The AGP, has, therefore recommended that the matter be placed before the CCI for further guidance and directions.
Other issues which will be considered by the CCI are as follows: (i) allocation of 1200 cusecs ( 650.5 MGD) additional water for Karachi city (K-IV) project; (ii) NOC- CJ hydro( Private) Limited;(iii) import of LNG and fixation of Weighted Average Cost of Gas (WACOG)as per implementation of Article 158 and Article 154(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan;(iv) Implementation of Article 154 of Constitution of Pakistan; and (v) future role and functioning of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and Basic Education Community School (BECS) to promote literacy in the country.