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LAHORE: The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) will meet today to get an outlook of water availability during the months of February and March, the remaining two months of Rabi season.

Sources said the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) will give a detailed briefing on water availability during the remaining part of the Rabi season. Meanwhile, it would also share its forecast for the Kharif season which starts from April and continues until the month of September.

According to the PMD sources, the present availability of water in Tarbela has been recorded as 2.4 million acre feet (MAF), followed by 2.6 MAF in Mangla and 1.9 MAF at Head Marala.

The sources have further pointed out that rains during the month of February and March are likely to be less than the normal range. The below normal range rains would lead to increase in maximum temperature, which would improve the water flow in the rivers.

Accordingly, said the sources, water availability for the Rabi crops would be sufficient. There is also a chance of snowfall in the northern areas during the month of March which would start melting once maximum temperatures register an increase, the sources added.

It may be noted that healthy rains during the month of January, followed by some more impressing spells during the current month of February, would reduce the factor of water stress for crops.

Instead, said the PMD sources, the intermittent rains during the month of January as well as the ongoing month of February would be ideal for the two major crops of wheat and gram.

The sources said the PMD officials would advise the IRSA members to retain water in Mangla and Tarbela dams, as the rains out of westerly waves would be enough to meet the water need of crops. However, water can be released from Head Marala as there is no dam available there, they added.

IRSA has already released 42931 cusecs water from various rim stations with inflow of 46482 cusecs water.

The sources said wheat harvesting would start in the province of Sindh by the middle of March, followed by cotton sowing by the middle of April and the water available in dams would be ideal to be released at time in the absence of rains, they added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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