Last month, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) — the body that decides the formula of water sharing between the four provinces — projected a 35 per cent water shortage for Kharif season.
This season starts from April 1 every year and the demand for water rises for sowing of crops like cotton and rice.
In case of water shortage, the most affected provinces are Punjab and Sindh that are more dependent on Indus water than KP and Balochistan.
Prior to the announcement, Sindh had raised the issue of reduced water availability in Kharif season.
“Water is most useful when it is actually needed and the focus must be on ensuring its supply at that moment.” Khan says a similar situation arises every year between March 20 and April 10 when there is limited rainfall and weather is not hot enough to melt the glaciers.
Sindh, he says, feels more stressed because the crops there mature almost a month earlier than in Punjab because of its much hotter weather.
For the same reason, he says, the crops in Sindh are sowed earlier and therefore it needs more water than Punjab around this time.
“The existing varieties of Bt cotton cannot afford stress, caused by the scarcity of water during the start of the cropping cycle.
He says if there is no consensus on building of large dams, several small reservoirs can be made by different provinces according to their own water demands.
“The provinces with higher demand can have more reservoirs than those with lesser demand.” He laments the research budget for agriculture sector remains unused.