Lies,lies and more lies Chenab shrinks further as India diverts water ISLAMABAD: In an alarming situation, the Chenab water influx has dropped by 7 million acre feet (maf) in the last three years following India’s Baglihar Dam construction and its huge water use. “The Chenab water inflows plunged from 21 maf to 14 maf in three years and the same situation is projected to exist in the current calendar,” sources privy to the developments reveal while sharing the latest statistics with The News here on Saturday. The water quantum of 7 maf is more than Pakistan’s any existing reservoir and even under-construction Basha storage or controversial Kalabagh Dam. “This substantial reduction is badly hitting the Kharif crops, particularly in the Punjab and generally all over Pakistan.” “In comparison with 2007, Pakistan is presently suffering a 30 per cent slash in Chenab water availability, and it is a direct consequence of the Baglihar project and massive ground water usage by India through subsidised tubewells installed in its territory around the river,” the sources said. The sources explained that the ground water pumping was also a source of reduction in river flows. “Besides, there are dozens of Indian projects in the pipeline on its Chenab River side.” They maintained that the situation would be worse for Pakistan as the neighboring country was planning huge hydropower projects around the Chenab River in its territory. Five-year water statistics provide that Pakistan continued to obtain 21 maf water from Chenab till 2007 Kharif. The flows reduced from 21 maf to 16 maf in 2008 Kharif, and just 14 maf in 2009 Kharif, according to the data. The official spokesman of the Irsa confirmed that Chenab flows substantially went down from 21 maf in 2008 to merely 7 maf in 2009. “Yes, we, all participants, deeply expressed concerns over the decline in Chenab waters.” The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) and four provinces jointly expressed great concern over the water data collected for the last five years on Chenab flows.The issue was discussed on the platform of Irsa’s Technical Committee, also consisting of provincial representatives and water and power sector officials, when it met last Wednesday with Irsa Chief Engineer Aurangzeb Khattak in the chair. To a query, the sources said neither the provinces nor the Irsa presented Rabi flows of Chenab River. “The 7 maf slash is noted only in Kharif seasons and the figure may be up to 8 or 9 maf if the Rabi flows are also compiled.” The sources categorically said that water inflows from other rivers of the country were normal in the last five years as not only the Irsa but the provinces also presented their own data in the last technical committee.