U.S. Water News Online
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Water levels in Pakistan's two
largest dams have dropped dangerously low, forcing power officials in
this struggling South Asian nation to curtail or cut off supplies to
farmers in the midst of the spring planting season.
Farmers seeking to irrigate their crops have strained supplies at
the two dams, which were already low because of years of drought,
said Naeem Ahmed, a spokesman for the state-run Water and Power
The two dams affected are at Tarbela, 35 miles west of the
capital, Islamabad, and Mangla, 55 miles southwest of the capital.
Supplies from the Tarbela dam, Pakistan's biggest, had to be cut
off because hydroelectric power generators would be damaged if water
levels dropped further, Ahmed said during a telephone interview from
the eastern border city of Lahore.
Pakistan relies on hydroelectric power for 30 percent of its
The water shortage comes as farmers are one month into the
planting season for sugarcane and sunflower crops, said Mohammed
Aslam Gil, the director of the Pakistan's Agriculture Ministry.
Wheat crops are also expected to be hard hit, because the
shortages coincide with temperatures of as high as 91 degrees in most
parts of the country.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan's economy, contributing to
26 percent of the gross domestic product.
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