Author: Arfan Choudhary

The dam controversy

Opposition to Kalabagh Dam comes in political and nationalist guises, limiting the possibility of an informed and fruitful debate


In a post-colonial country like Pakistan, majority of the people have no option but to swing like a pendulum between two opposing poles — both defined by elite conflicts within the ruling classes. Debate on every issue gets stuck in binaries, so much so that there is no room for a third option.

On world water day last week, political analysts and some policy makers generated a pointless debate over the construction of new dams, specially Kalabagh Dam to conserve water and increasing the storage capacity of country for agriculture and other purposes. Every one presented own ambiguous figures to deny the opposing claim.

The Kalabagh Dam issue is made to appear so complicated that no one is willing to hear the opposite argument for healthy debate. The controversy regarding the Kalabagh Dam is a result of improper relevant information and distrust among the federating units. Adolf Hitler’s propaganda team once said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” One could apply this quote on the binaries within our debate, and the ruling class conflicts that dominate the understanding of various issues in Pakistan. Instead, we will consider the ways in which the issue has been misunderstood, and give a scientific and social context to each position.

The arguments forwarded for and against the construction of Kalabagh Dam are often non-serious and irrational to the point of disbelief. Some political forces seem to be opposing the dam because of their past grievances which have nothing to do with the pros or cons of the dam itself. This is the case with the views of political forces from Balochistan, and is evident in the resolutions passed by the Balochistan Assembly.

Some political actors proclaim that if the water is used to produce electricity, then it won’t have enough energy left in it for growing crops.

In order to understand the situation, we will list and analyse the usual arguments that are given for or against the construction of the dam. It is important to distinguish between the technical, environmental, and social aspects of these various arguments, so that there is no confusion.

What is a dam and reservoir?

A dam is basically a weir constructed against the flow of water so that a sufficient amount of water can be obtained and diverted for irrigation or power generation. Whereas reservoir are an artificial lake, produced by constructing physical barriers across flowing rivers, which allow the water to pool and be used for various purposes. The volume of water stored in reservoirs worldwide is estimated to be 4,286 km3 (Groom bridge and Jenkins, 1998). Generally dam and reservoir are suitably constructed in the hilly gorges and trenches because such areas are suitable due to the naturally constructed boundary walls for reservoirs.

The Kalabagh Dam site is a naturally feasible location for building a water reservoir on the Indus River — a few miles upstream from Mianwali district of Punjab. At this site, Indus comes down from the hilly areas to the Punjab plains. This is an old project which has been under serious consideration since the 1960s. The dam became controversial during the rule of General Ziaul Haq, and has been politicised ever since.

The typical arguments

Dams were a sign of a country’s progress in the 1950s and 1960s worldwide. Different developed countries constructed a large number of hydropower projects over the world’s largest river basin like Nile, Ganga, Amazon, Colorado and Indus etc. After the transboundry water distribution treaty between Pakistan and India known as Indus Water Treaty of 1960, Pakistan constructed several dams, barrages, and headworks. Irrigation projects linked with these mega construction projects were considered necessary to irrigate barren lands. The increasing energy demands were also met with hydropower.

Dam supporters argue that irrigation projects increase the capacity of our water reservoirs and irrigate thousands of acres of barren land. This in turn makes the country self-sufficient in agriculture and prevents future food crises. Supporters also argue that the dam will produce 3600 megawatts (MWs) of electricity, which will reduce the energy shortfall and consequently solve the energy crisis that we face today.

At first, this point of view seems entirely reasonable. However, many ask whether the construction of the dam is the only solution to these problems, or whether we need to restructure the irrigation and water system along modern designs. Water is a precious natural resource and it needs to be used efficiently for the good of humanity. When designing policies, we need to keep in mind that the availability of water for future generations depends on how we use this resource. We must model our irrigation system according to modern principles and focus on water saving as well. Similarly, we need to consider other sources of power generation while considering the cheap electricity production capability of hydropower.

The arguments against the construction of the dam usually come from two provinces: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Sindh. Objections from Sindh are based on fears that the dam will render Sindh barren. Objections from KPK are based on fears that certain districts of the province will be flooded if the dam is constructed. Nationalist forces which oppose the dam usually consider the issue a matter of national pride and oppression of nationalities. They also highlight the negative technical aspects of the dam.

If we list the technical criticisms of Kalabagh Dam, they read as follows:

The dam will flood Nowshera and areas in its vicinity.

The lower part of the Indus River will not have enough water, instead devastating the economic lives of the people living in these parts.

The Indus River does not have that much water, and if the dam is constructed then the lower half of the river will be negatively affected, and result in an environmental disaster.

The backwater pressure from the dam will affect the Ghazi Brotha hydro power project.

Thousands of acres of land around the dam will be affected by water logging and salinity.

The dam will displace a large number of people.

Similarly, there are other technical arguments that constitute the grounds for dam opposition. But, all these technical problems can be resolved, and alternatives can be imagined. The problem is that opposition to the dam comes in political and nationalist guises, which limits the possibility of an informed and fruitful debate. If the problems were only technical in nature then it wouldn’t have been difficult to make the correct decision on the issue.

From my point of view, climate change is the most serious objection to the construction of big dams — as a result, they have become controversial across the world. Their construction affects the natural flow of rivers and damages river ecology and affect natural habitat. Two responses dominate among environmental activists. One response challenges the whole project of human progress and wants us to abolish this project and live with nature (it is another thing that their own lives are incomplete without the fruits of modern development and technology). The second response is far healthier one, and speaks of protecting the environment alongside sustainable development and the positive aspects of human development (which provides comfort in the lives of humans).

This trend does not reject every project on the basis of environmental protection, but looks at the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, which allow us to determine the net positive and negative impacts of projects. So EIA of Kalabagh Dam and other such type of national level project is carried out by taking reputable expert specially from lower riparian of the Indus basin.

A way forward

Instead of constructing our own point of view, we often find it easier to choose from an available list of views. This is an unhealthy and non-scientific attitude.

We need to formulate an independent and scientific position to further our politics. I won’t discuss the technical arguments against the dam, as the average reader will find it esoteric and difficult. That is why we need to consider the issue of the construction of the dam in the context of the power crisis. In this regards, we need to build consensus among all provinces.

In any case, the technical aspects that we have discussed and which form the basis of the opposition to the construction of the dam have to do with the dam as a reservoir. That is why we believe that if the dam is built only for the sake of power generation as run of river hydropower station then hopefully Sindh and KPK will not have any objections.

Keeping in view the energy crisis in the country, we need to construct the Kalabagh Dam and other hydropower stations as soon as possible, so that we can increase our power generation capacity based on hydel power, and reduces the dependence on coal and oil-based energy production, which are more harmful to the environment as compared to the hydel power. Instead of spending our foreign exchange reserves on import of carbon-based fuels, we can redirect this money for the provision of basic facilities (education and health) in the country and to reduce the conveyance and distribution losses of water in the oldest ebb irrigation system.

The quantity of water which is lost during the conveyance and distribution and field application system of irrigation is almost 5-6 times more than the reservoir capacity of Kalabagh Dam. Kalabagh Dam must be presented as a hydropower project for the people. Similarly, we must build small dams to harvest fresh rain water locally instead of big reservoirs to irrigate barren lands. Irrigated agriculture land must be realigned along modern lines by promoting drip and sprinkler irrigation to save water and increase the acreage as well as crop productivity. For this the government must work with farmers by giving interest free loan to install drip and sprinkler irrigation system.

Small storage based irrigated agriculture does not damage the environment as badly as big dams. Furthermore, we won’t need to depend on loans from the World Bank and IMF because provincial and local governments can build these projects on their own. If we take the Kalabagh Dam as a hydropower project then the objections by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can be answered since these objections are related to the dam as a large reservoir. If the dam is not used as a water reservoir then there is neither any fear of drowning Khyber Pakhtunkhwa nor of Sindh becoming barren.



Author: Fiza Qureshi

Green Line Bus Service Project in Karachi-Citizen’s Hopes

Karachi is a metropolitan city, which is passing through an uncontrolled phase of urbanization and motorization because all the quality services of health and education as well as entertainment are accumulated in Karachi as compare to the rest of the Sindh province. Besides, it’s an economic hub due to the Arabian sea and other infrastructure facilities like air port , industrial zones etc. It also appears the attractive place for migrants from all over the world due to the requirement of cheap labor for the industrial zone and other economic activities.

These externalities have developed a big pressure over the very poor public transportation system of the city, run by private companies. The insufficient number of buses enhances the problem when the poorly maintained buses are driven by the untrained unprofessional drivers. They drive the buses speedy in rush hours, produce hustle bustle environment around in peak hours and in hot weathers and pollute the environment with noise and smoke. The drivers and the conductors of these public buses also harass their female passengers doing awful acts, which is the main reason of increase in wearing abayas and scarves even in hot summer and very congested conditions within the buses. Furthermore, due to such conditions, people prefer to ride their motor bikes and cars, which results in traffic congestion.

According to JICA Person Trip Study, 2005, “The city’s present public transport system constitutes a small percentage of total vehicle fleet (4.5 percent) and serves about 42 percent of passenger demand.”

The Karachi Metrobus is a 109 km (67.7 mi) bus rapid transit planned for Karachi, on behalf of the Federal Government of Pakistan. The expected daily ridership would be 350,000 and the project will be started by February 2017.

The Karachi Strategic Development Plan (KSDP) 2020 described 16 objectives for transport sector, among which following are linked with this project:

  • Provide safe and efficient mobility for people and goods, Improve public mass transportation system, targeting affordability and convenience,
  • Strengthen existing transportation infrastructure and services by considering various alternatives,
  • Evolving a comprehensive transportation plan development and modeling to address vehicular traffic, public mass transportation (bus line and rails based), parking to provide for development of roadway and public transport/mass transit infrastructure development priorities for long range,  and
  • Develop transport infrastructure to support planned land use changes, especially strengthening links between Central Business District (CBD) and polycentric commercial center nodes.

Thus the main benefit of this project to the citizens will be the  alleviation of the severe traffic congestion problems which are integrated with noise and air pollution. This will improve the quality of life of the daily commuters by reducing the travel time on one hand and addresthe monopoly of the transport mafia on the other.

Most of the mega infra structure projects in Pakistan tends to failure from one aspect or the other due to several reasons including the realistic approaches towards the sustainability of the projects and the political will and the vested interests of higher authorities. Hopefully this Green Line Bus Project, unlike Islamabad Metro Bus project will avoid using unnecessary expenditure of tax payers’ money on erecting the separate mega infrastructure in shape of mega stations and the separate road network and over bridges or under passes. It can be well managed by the existing sufficient road network by just allocating the proper stops to them and manage it well by develop a mobile phone app for the city that gathers real-time data on the quickest and easiest routes to increase the use of public transportation. The route maps can be installed on the bus stations as well. To run the project, the reasonable fare will be charged to the passengers to sustain the facility and avoid the unnecessary subsidy as is given in case of Islamabad Metro Bus Service.





Author: Fiza Qureshi

Sustainable Citie’s Development Goal & the Situation of Pakistan


According to UN Habitat- the United Nations agency responsible for sustainable human settlements- the 21st century is the Urban Century because over 50 percent of the global population out of 7 billion is now living in urban areas and the rest are tend towards the urban centers. In 2014, Climate Summit, Heads of 100 states including Pakistan unites before the UN General Assembly talk about the Climate Change. After giant Climate March in New York, 17 SDGs were adopted out of which goal 11 was about the cities and human settlements to make them inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Cities are playing a major role in global consumption, production GHG emission, waste and poverty. Cities are contributing 50 to 70 percent GHG emissions from different sectors. We are almost half way to the “critical decade”, when our planning and actions will decide about our success and the failures which could be at the cost of the coming generations.

We are about 7 billion people on the planet Earth and we are unable to supply all 7 billion with the electricity alone. About 2 billion people do not have access to the electricity at the moment. Urbanization has its own challenges but of course it has the opportunities at the same time. Such opportunities may be in the form of social innovations or in the technical innovations.

When we are talking about Sustainable Urban Transformation, it means we are considering cities as the potential source of knowledge transformation, taking the stake holders on one platform to talk about sustainability and innovations and can make the dreams into reality.  Thus there are three main areas lies under Sustainable Urban Development i.e, Innovation and Business, Planning and Governance and, Lifestyle and attitude/ behavior.

Pakistan remained at tenth position regarding the long run Climate Risk Index during last one and the half decade (Global Climate Risk Index 2015 published by German Watch). On the other hand the country ranks at third position regarding climate change vulnerability index. Thus, a big challenge is ahead!

All the above three areas of Sustainable Urban Development are inter linked and compliment and supplement each other.

Sustainable means the use of resources without exploiting the future generation needs. Thus, sustainable cities mean the cities which provide people high living standards without using more natural resources or involve high cost of natural resources. Sustainable cities means the places where people want to live in an efficient manner, with quality of life and with positive attitudes and considerations. There are several examples existing in the world for such cities. We have to learn how we can use energy more efficiently and more intelligently both at work and at homes. Innovation and Green Business is the call of this high time. We can save energy everywhere, from industries to the homes, from wash rooms to the big industrial plants. We can turn our cities into heaven if we do not let our industries throw their waste into our rivers or throw our towns without treatment, as we observed from Ansari Sugar Mill on way to Badin , which has turned the area into the most foul smelly area. The mill owners though are paying a chunk amount into charity and the Zakat every year which may be their priority or social obligation or a way to satisfy them at the cost of the lives of people surrounded and hence the ecology.

When we study the cities phenomenon all around the world, we came to know that cities are giving standard living to the people and in return the people are so considerate and positive so that they are giving back to their cities to grow them more efficient economically and environmentally. Amsterdam is a very good example in this regard. In 1970s, they decided to take out the solution of the traffic congestion and they promote cycling. People of Amsterdam have adopted it in a very innovative way. Now the local governments of several Scandinavian cities and the cities of Europe are promoting the same by giving easy access to the cycles so that they can reach the destination easier and earlier than the cars. The cycles are promoting health on one hand and don’t use any fossil fuel on the other. Similarly, promoting walking also needs to be followed by some people – friendly policies and traffic rules like the facilitation during the road crossings, the allocated pedestrian path ways etc.  The  issue of traffic congestion can also be resolved by giving easy access to the public and efficient transport by developing a people friendly infra structure of buses, bullet trains , trams and other efficient and cheaper means of transport which consume less fuel per mile as per passenger so that everyone can access it equally and efficiently, without any loss to the national economy. For example, in Islamabad if we do the cost benefit analysis of the Metro Bus service, then I am pretty sure that it is going in the deficit. The unnecessary mega infrastructure development and the subsidy given to the consumers are the steps needs to be revisited. This is simply unethical and uneconomical to use the tax payers’ money in such mega projects for few people. The promotion of such interventions also involve a political will because it is also the matter of how that society is taking the things and reacting about the specific culture and the phenomenon. In developing countries like Pakistan, to have a car is a status symbol. But like Amsterdam, if their president rides a cycle then the citizens feel proud to do the same. There is also need to work on behavioral change of drivers, which are mostly illiterate and are not educated for this specific issue, which are also a factor in increasing the noise pollution and smoke in the environment.

Similarly another issue is the use of energy in the buildings in urban centers is huge. In hot weather, everyone is looking for mega shopping and entertainment malls like in big city centers. In such scenario, the poor house hold level power supply gets short and the citizens suffer from shortage of electricity. Countries like Pakistan which is self sufficient in Sun light and in several parts with wind energy, if use innovative local technology to use it in a better way than the energy crises can be addressed.  Secondly, in hot countries, we need to revisit our architecture. In modern architecture, our architect has followed the western style blindly which is not environment friendly in our case. Our environment is totally different from the environment of Europe or cold countries. We have to follow the old Hindu style architect prevailing in many parts of the country, having high roofs, big ventilators, big doors and windows, some special kind of air ventilators in the roofs called badigars , so on and so, which promote passive housing. Furthermore, we can have options of Green Walls, Green Roofs and Green Buildings , low content of water and the renewable energy. This approach is called Virtual City Experimentation i.e., a design approach to catalyse action in the context of rapidly emerging disruptive challenges to the fabric and life of cities. We cannot follow any one blindly but we should adopt the things wisely. We have quit our several environment friendly practices and adopt blindly the Western practices like the use of foam in the furniture and quit the traditional charpai, which is more environment friendly in our case. Giving preference of foam chairs on fine knitted wooden chairs have introduced several diseases in such hot weather.

This is also the matter of attitude and behavior of using spaces in an efficient manner to make them greener inside and outside the homes. Rain water harvesting is also another superb idea. Urban agriculture is a fantastic idea but needs to be promoted and facilitated by the local government . Kitchen Gardening is very cheaper and fun activity which can give great results.

Solid waste management is another big problem of our cities. If we talk about Islamabad, which is considered as the most organized and planned cities of Pakistan, have also ample examples of failure in solid waste management. SWM also involves the sensitization and training of the citizens that how they can keep the paper, cans and other household waste separate, even our educated people really need this training. Though this is another question that if our people start doing segregation of the trash, whether our local government or CDA is enough capacitated to reuse it??  People are least bothered about the cleanliness of their streets, even of the space in front of their doors, though they and their children use it for playing and sitting in the evening. We are least bothered to put the trash into the waste bins at public places and never train our children to do so. Our kids also feel good to throw the trash out of the glass window of the car, following the parents and most of the elders. On the other hand, most of the public places lack the proper and required number and size of the installation of waste bins and their maintenance. We have a big force of energetic youth and they love to volunteer themselves in the positive image building of the nation and the community service. This big force can be utilized to make the country green and sustainable. Time to time, we have observed some college and university groups celebrate World Earth day, environment days or world water days by collecting the trash which people throw into the sea at our sea side in Karachi. By doing so the youth wants to deliver the message that still they are hopefull that we will be changed, secondly they want to urge you to get change now. They want to say that “It’s enough now! Please stop and don’t make our sea and our earth dirtier!” They are the real change agents!

Our research institutes like PARC/ NARC has done several successful experiments for sewerage treatment, waster water efficient management and biogas. There is need to reinvestigate that why the Biogas is failure when we apply in the field and what are the user friendly modes of all the above technologies, which can be adopted by people and industries quickly and effectively.

Urban infrastructure (which includes streets, sewers, roads, telecommunication, buildings, parks etc) can advance sustainability and green economies or other way round as well. If we take the example of Karachi, the poor designing or under passes fails to drain when it rains or the low quality material use in over head bridges fall over any time like Man-o-Salwa from the sky, which doesn’t provide the food but eat the lives of several poor people.

When we are talking about the Government, we should consider the four governing modes, which put the impact. Firstly, Self Governing means how municipalities govern its activities; Secondly, Governing by Enabling means that how municipality or local government is bringing the stakeholders together; Thirdly Governing by Provision means it has sufficient hard as well as soft infra structure and finally Governing by Authority means if they are not given powers then they wouldn’t be able to give the results and then all the resources and policies go into vein.

Talking more about Governing by Provision, although it is encouraging on federal level that Government of Pakistan ( GOP) is spending more than 6% of the budget on climate related indicators.[1]But thrust is still there when we look into the matter minutely at the provincial levels, which shows the considerable need in increase of the budgetary allocations at the provincial level. When we are analyzing the Annual Development Budget, we can observe that out of net annual development programme[2] (305,000 million), 9000 millions were spent on QA Solar Bahawalpur in FY 2014-15 and 11000 millions are decided to spend on saafpaniprogramme in FY 2015-16 (out of 333,000 millions of Net annual development programme) which is not substantial.

As far as the policies are concerned, the important aspect is to keep the policies ambitious but realistic politically and economically. We need quick policies on one hand and the adoptable or flexible on the other so address the day to day changes in the urban conditions. Most of the policies and laws still exercising in Pakistan in several very important sectors like revenue and irrigation are of British era.

There is need to combine Energy Planning and Urban Planning. Local Governments have played a decisive role in changing such conditions all over the world. Besides, civil society actors, media and the private sector can also make the difference by putting their due share in this regard. Smart Sharing is another innovative idea by the citizens, for the citizens and from the citizens. They can use sharing the knowledge with other people that how they are taking steps to make their cities greener and sustainable thorough mobile phones, internet and other communication means. We can develop fossil fuel free cities models for Karachi , Lahore and all other big cities. This is the time when we can start to take our cities as Urban Living Labs and try to convert them into Greener, Resilient, Safer and Sustainable, from household to the industry. But to responses the Climate Change as commitment in Climate Summit, Urbanization is not neutral. It is political. Some agendas may get priority over other and others may get marginalized. We find that several mainstream actors are involved including governments, civil society actors and international donors. Such priorities and matter of political will needs to be addressed through several ways because without a political will it is almost impossible in Pakistan.




[1] [1]


[2] “Annual Development Programme (ADP) is composed of public investments made in different sectors of the economy in a given year by the Government. These investments are not only instrumental in accelerating economic growth and development but also define and open up economic opportunities for the private sector and other stakeholders. ADP with its sectoral composition reflects the development priorities of the Government and thus, has a pivotal role in guiding the strategic direction of the provincial economy”

Author: Arfan Choudhary

Climate change and water pattern


The economic life of Pakistan highly depends on the flow of the Indus River basin which supports large areas of irrigated agriculture and plays a significant role in generating hydel power for the country. The Indus River alone contributes more than half of the total surface flow and has a controlling storage at Tarbela Dam as the river comes down from the mountains.
Tarbela was primarily designed for irrigation control, but it also has an installed hydropower capacity of 3700 MW providing roughly 13 per cent of Pakistan’s annual power output. Inflow to Tarbela is measured at Besham, which has a mean annual flow of 2425 m3 /s (1969–2001), varying annually from 80 to 130 per cent from the mean flow. This represents considerable variation in the potential for irrigation and hydropower production.
The world’s freshwater resources are depleting day by day. Pakistan has also reached the critical limit of per capita water availability. Pakistan’s storage capacity has reduced to 30 days per year which is well below the standard value of storage capacity. In Pakistan, the tensions are increasing daily on water distribution and allocation among provinces in the country.
The Indus River and its tributaries, the Jhelum, Chenab, and Sutlej rivers originate from the Karakoram, Hindukush, Himalayan mountain ranges, and the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) extends from the Tibetan Plateau to northeast Afghanistan. These mountains provide the major component of water for the Indus Basin Irrigation System, one of the largest integrated irrigation networks. An understanding of the annual variability in volume and timing of flows is therefore vital for water stewardship in the region.
Assessment of the impacts of trends or periodic variation in flows of the Indus River basin is necessary to build understanding about the erratic flow of the Indus River and its tributaries. Pakistan is an agrarian country with a quarter to half of the population dependent on the agricultural economy. Proper water stewardship for irrigation and agriculture requires proper evaluation of available water.
More than 80 per cent of the flow in the Indus as it emerges into the plains of Punjab is derived from the melting of seasonal and permanent snowfields and glaciers. The emission of green house gases and the subsequent global warming represent a major threat to this precious source of freshwater. Increased negative human activity due to border tensions between the neighbouring countries of Pakistan and India is also emerging as an environmental threat for this source of freshwater in the region.
The upper Indus basin consists of a series of mountain ranges of extreme rugged terrain at high elevations. Pakistan’s Indus River basin system consists of five major rivers, namely the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej. These five rivers supply water to the entire Indus basin irrigation system. These rivers have their origin in the higher altitudes and derive their flows mainly from snowmelt and monsoon rains.
Catchment of Indus is most unique in the sense that it contains seven of the world’s highest peaks after Mount Everest. The climate varies from tropical to temperate. Arid conditions exist in the coastal south, characterised by a monsoon season with adequate rainfall and a dry season with lesser rainfall, while abundant rainfall is experienced by the province of Punjab, and there are wide variations between extremes of temperature at given locations.
Rainfall varies from as little as less than 10 inches a year to over 150 inches a year, in various parts of the country. Climatic change will impact different hydrological parameters, including precipitation snowmelt etc. These changes are results of severe hydrological changes in river flows.
Proper water stewardship and planning demands a deep understanding of these hydrological changes in the river flows. The spatial and temporal changes in the flows of the Indus basin tributaries impact the Indus basin irrigation system (IBIS).
A recent academic study assessed the spatial and temporal changes in hydro availability over different time spans of the year using hydrological statistical analysis of the historic data of different rim stations along the Indus basin. Changes in flow quantity are likely to raise tensions among the provinces, in particular for the downstream areas (Sindh province), with regard to reduced water flows in the dry season and higher flows with flooding during the rainy season.
Estimating water resource under changing flow regimes is important for planning and the operation of water related project. Hydrological parameters are changing under the influence of climate change, which is resulting in the changing pattern of flow regimes. There is large variation of flow at different location in the Indus basin irrigation system. In a recent research study data was analyzed using hydrological software of different rim stations of the Indus River system from 1961-2011.
The monthly mean, maximum, and minimum discharge were computed based on the daily maximum, daily minimum and daily mean discharge. Average daily discharge was based on the arithmetic average of daily maximum and minimum discharge. The seasons were divided into three month and six month intervals. The six month seasons are winter (October to March) and summer (April to September). The three-month seasons are classified as winter (December, January, and February), spring (March, April and May i.e pre-monsoon), summer (June, July and August i.e monsoon) and autumn (September, October and November, post-monsoon). The annual mean is the average of January to December monthly means. Trends were investigated for temporal analysis of six river gauging stations with one station on each river of Indus River system for the period 1961-2010. The analysis was also done for 25, 15 and 10 years time increment.
For the spatial analysis, 6 gauging stations were considered — two stations on each River Indus, Jhelum and Ravi. Trends and variation were investigated by applying the Mann-Kendall test and Sen’s method. The overall analysis indicates that there is more flow variation on a seasonal basis as compared to the annual basis.
It was concluded that the discharge from Sutlej and Ravi rivers has shown a decreasing trend during the annual mean, minimum and maximum discharge as well as during all six and three month seasons. The Sutlej River’s showed a more rapidly decreasing trend in discharge between 1961-1985, while the Ravi River showed a more rapidly decreasing trend in discharge between 1986-2011. The Kabul River showed decreasing trends in annual mean and maximum discharge whereas its annual mean, minimum discharge showed an increasing trend, probably due to the greater snow and glacier melt in the catchment area of the Kabul River.
It was concluded that the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers’ annual mean, maximum and minimum discharge showed decreasing trends. The rate of decrease was higher during the 1986-2010 time span as compared to the 1961-1985 time span. Interestingly, during the winter seasons discharge is increasing whereas during summer season discharge is decreasing. It is again an indication that climate change is inducing more impacts in the upper Indus basin freshwater sources i.e in terms of snowpack and glaciers.
In spatial analyses of the Indus and Jhelum Rivers, summer season are showing decreasing discharge at higher elevation points, namely Kharmong and Chinari respectively, whereas the winter season is showing a greater increase in discharge at higher altitudes in the Indus River and greater decrease in discharge in the Jhelum River at higher altitudes for the time span 1986-2010.
During the spatial analysis of the Ravi River, it was concluded that summer seasons show less decreases in discharge at higher elevation points, namely Jassar, whereas winter seasons are showing increasing discharge at lower elevation point.
Period analysis during droughts and flooding suggests that every decade must experience one or two years as dry period as well as one or two years as wet period.

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