Difficult times for Pakistan’s agriculture ahead; Below normal rains predicted

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By Muhammad Luqman

There are little chances of any let up in the water scarcity in Pakistan as weather pundits have predicted less than average rainfall during the months of April and May.

“The less frequency of rains may lead to increase of  1 to 2 degree rise in temperature and acute water shortage,” according to weather advisory issued by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

Pakistan is already facing acute water shortage and due to less rainfall, the situation is likely to become worse in the coming days.

As the reports of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) suggest that  the country is likely to face water deficit for its agriculture sector during the upcoming Kharif season as the river system will receive 12MAF water less than the previous year.

Due to reduced water inflow in Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS) during early Kharif season1, the provinces would face around 40 percent irrigation water shortage that could impact crop sowing. Kharif crops include sugarcane, cotton, maize and rice.

Pakistan Meteorological Department  has also warned that  the frequency and intensity of dust storms is likely to remain higher disturbing the harvesting and threshing activities

Heat wave conditions will also affect the major cities occasionally, during the month of April to May.

During recently ended winter, snowfall remained 20-25% less than long term average in upper Indus Basin and most of that occurred in February or early March. Due to rise in temperature, water inflow will increase in the Indus and Jhelum Rivers. However, the water reservoir would remain under stress conditions and relevant agencies are advised for the better management of expected water resources during the period

“Deficient rainfall will intensify the drought conditions over south-west Balochistan and may transform into moderate, while the prevailing drought conditions over Thar-parker region of Sindh may exaggerate further, during the month of April –May.” Director Regional Meteorological Centre, Lahore, Mian Ajmal Shad said.

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