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ISLAMABAD: The mystery of thousands of cusecs of “missing” water from Taunsa Barrage (Punjab) to Guddu Barrage (Sindh) is still unresolved as no concrete evidence has been found by a joint committee of Parliamentarians and technical experts, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Last week, National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources constituted a committee comprising MNAs Khalid Magsi and Riaz–ul-Haq. The members visited the sites of Guddu Barrage and Taunsa Barrage and witnessed water measurement by experts.

The team of Sindh Government led by Minister for Irrigation Jam Khan Shoro had accused Punjab of stealing its water share between Taunsa Barrage to Guddu Barrage through pumping. Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has approved losses of 28 percent for Sindh and Balochistan due to 300 kilometres of length from Taunsa Barrage to Guddu.

The sources said the visiting team which measured water at Guddu and Taunsa barrages has found substantial discrepancy in water released from Taunsa that reached Guddu. According to the measurement done by the technical experts in the presence of Parliamentarians and representatives of both provinces, 69,000 cusecs of water released from Taunsa Barrage was 37,000 cusecs when it reached Guddu Barrage.

River inflows, outflows register gains

The team also found that gadgets being used by Sindh Irrigation Department at Guddu Barrage to measure water were faulty.

“When, the team despatched from Islamabad reached Guddu and inquired from Sindh Irrigation team about water passing Guddu Barrage, they claimed it was 47,000 cusecs but when the team measured water, it was 37,000 cusecs, which created considerable panic amongst the officials of Irrigation Department of both Sindh and Punjab,” the sources maintained.

The officials of Irrigation Department of Punjab felt that perhaps an impression was being created that they were not releasing due quantity of water to Sindh from Taunsa Barrage. However, when the team visited Taunsa Barrage to measure the certified water it indicated that 69,000 cusecs of water was being released as per approval of IRSA.

Explaining reasons for less water at Guddu Barrage, the sources said, since length from Tausna Barrage to Guddu Barrage was about 300 kilometres, a substantial amount of water was absorbed in sand heaps and corners of both sides of the canals which was one reason for less water reaching Guddu.

The sources maintained that there was also no doubt that farmers of Punjab had also installed tube-wells on their own lands adjacent to canals, which certainly sucked water from the canal but they could not be barred from operation because they were not violating their boundary.

The team, sources said, had updated Minister for Water Resources Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah about amount of water released from Taunsa Barrage and reached Guddu.

Zahid Junejo, Chairman IRSA/ Member Sindh, accused the water regulator of failing to give due share of water to Sindh.

An official of Sindh government told this correspondent on condition of anonymity that the provincial government had conveyed its concerns at the highest level and hope that the province would be given fair treatment.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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