Since February 2022, storage levels in Tarbela and Mangla have been at zero. The Tarbela dam, built on the Indus River, is Sindh’s principal supply of water, but continuing work to remove a natural rock barrier in the T3 and T4 tunnels has depleted the dam’s storage capacity.
Since late February, Tarbela has been almost empty, and run-of-river flows have been discharged. The major cause for the present deficit, which was reported at 52% in Sukkur on March 17, at the Sukkur and Kotri barrages, is simply the depletion of the reservoir. The barrage’s Nara and Rohri canals, which supply lower Sindh’s districts where farmers resort for early sowing of summer crops, primarily cotton, also had a shortage.
Irrigation officials discovered a discrepancy in the water flow numbers. “As the Panjnad barrage reported flows of 72,000 to 73,000 cusecs on January 14 to 15 and 85,000 cusecs on January 16, Trimmu barrage upstream Panjnad recorded a decrease of roughly 62,000 cusecs downstream.”