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Status of water level in dams ‘highly critical’

The status of water level in five major dams is ‘highly critical’ with meteorological department indicating no dramatic improvement due to low rain forecast in the coming days, sources told “The News” here on Saturday.

The sources in the Climate Change Ministry said the impact of fast changing climate situation has started showing its dire consequences and the office of the president has been informed about looming water crisis resulting in little likelihood of the country’s reservoirs being filled to capacity and generating extreme irrigation water shortages particularly for the winter crops.

Top officials of the Climate Change Ministry have also held an emergency meeting on Friday in which a report was also reviewed that showed that status of water level in Tarbela Dam is ‘highly critical’ while the situation of other dams is also very alarming with Mangla Dam carrying ‘highly critical’ status, Simly Dam ‘extremely critical’, Khanpur Dam also ‘extremely critical’ and Rawal Dam ‘unsatisfactory’ status.

According to the report water level in Tarbela Dam is just 3.63 million acre feet (m.a.f); Mangla Dam 2.66 m.a.f; Simly Dam 58 feet; Khanpur Dam 10 feet and Rawal Dam 28 feet.

The official said President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the relevant ministries to take appropriate measures to cope with the emerging situation including Ministry of Water and Power, Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of Food and Security, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination.

An official letter also received by the Ministry of Defence revealed that low to moderate drought conditions prevail along the coastal regions and in southwest Balochistan. “Pakistan is experiencing low monsoon rains and water level in its reservoirs is lowest as compared to that in last many years so it may affect water availability for next winter wheat crop.

National Weather Forecast Centre of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted monsoon current of light to moderate intensity during next week that would likely to penetrate over northeastern parts of Pakistan.

When contacted, Federal Advisor on Climate Change Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry told “The News” that the present water levels in the reservoirs are the lowest in the last many years, an alarming situation resulting from abnormally low temperatures during April, May and part of June this year.

“The current reservoir situation, coupled with climate outlook and underground water levels going down, cannot only cause extreme irrigation water shortages, particularly for the winter crops, but also lead, in some areas in the country, to drinking water shortage,” he said.

Dr Qamaruz Zaman said the critical situation demands an extraordinary response at all levels of water management to avoid any disastrous situation with regard to water availability in the country.

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