ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party leader in Senate Senator Sherry Rehman has said that she has submitted a ‘calling attention’ notice in the upper house of the parliament on the ‘water crisis’ in Sindh. “It is alarming that the government has reopened the Taunsa-Panjnad link canal despite a vote-based (3-1) decision against its opening during recent IRSA meeting,” she said, adding that Sindh was already facing water shortages of around 20 percent. She said that depriving Sindh of its water share was unconstitutional and against all protocols. According to reports, she said that Pakistan’s water storage capacity was now only enough for 33 days as water inflows from northern areas have dropped by a massive 22 percent. Quoting UNDP, she said that Pakistan will dry up by 2025 if no urgent action was taken today. In this period of extreme water scarcity in downstream provinces, she said that the federal government has failed to ensure fair distribution of water and has ‘deprived’ three provinces of their due share. ‘DEVASTATING IMPACT’ “Depriving Sindh of its water share, especially in the crop season, will have a devastating impact on Pakistan’s economy. Not only is the economy at stake but also lives and livelihoods of countless farmers. Today, the burden of water shortage is being born by Sindh alone,” she said, adding that this water shortage means that farmers have not been able to sow kharif crops. “Along with rice crops being affected, our textile industry is also suffering,” she said, and added that no wonder exports were declining on an alarming rate. In a recent meeting, she said that IRSA’s chairman ‘insulted’ a Sindh member only because he asked why the TP canal was opened despite a majority decision against its opening. The PPP leader said that IRSA should also refrain from misusing its authority and stop depriving Sindh of its due share. Using illegal NOCs to construct power plants on the Panjnad and Chasng, Chashma-Jhelum link canals, and opening up the Chashma-Jehlum (CJ) and Taunsa-Punjnad (TP) link canals by IRSA has resulted into 43 percent shortages at the Kotari Barrage. She said that the government’s ‘lack of concern’ was shocking. She said that the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991 was an agreement on the water sharing between the provinces. She said that it was one of the most important water legislations and not distributing water according to it was extremely unfair. She said that Sindh was getting 59,000 cusecs or so against its allocation of 77,400 cusecs at Guddu. WATER MANAGEMENT She said that not only was this against the Water Accord of 1991 but also violates the constitution. “Sindh is asking for its fair share of water which is in the country’s larger interest. The 1991 Accord promised a separate share of water for Karachi, yet it is being robbed of it. All provinces should get water under the agreed formula and the government should be held accountable for denying Sindh its due right,” she said. Sherry Rehman said that violating both the Accord and IRSA Act, an archaic illegal three tier system was used to distribute water which deprives Sindh of at least 7MAF of its share. “We reject this as it is unconstitutional and anti-federation. Any formula other than the WAA-1991 is beyond the jurisdiction of the IRSA, and unconstitutional,” she said. She said that it was decided by majority that TP link canal will not be opened until water shortage persists. Yet in a blatant violation, the link canal has been opened, which is illegal and a further blatant violation of WAA 1991, she said. “All three provinces have objected to reopening the TP canal but instead, the government is hell bent on cutting our water supply,” she said, adding they have even failed to call Council of Common Interests (CCI) meetings to discuss looming water crisis, or hear grievances of provinces. Sherry Rehman said that proper water management policies should be at the top of government’s priority list. “We demand immediate release of share at Guddu according to the Water Accord 1991. Violation of the Water Accord 1991 will threaten the internal security and will harm the federation.” Without national unity, she said that Pakistan cannot mitigate intensifying water woes.