Pakistan is an agricultural country and its agriculture depends on irrigation. The irrigation system of Pakistan is the world’s largest irrigation source. It provides water to about 18 million hectares of arable land. About 71% of the world’s surface is made up of water. Of this, 97.5% is salty water and only 2.5% is sweet and about 68.9% of this sweet water freezes in ice. Thus water is a rare and precious resource in the world.
What does Irrigation Mean?
The replacement of rainfall with water by some artificial sources to grow crops is called irrigation.
What are the Main Sources of Irrigation in Pakistan?
There are various sources of Irrigation in Pakistan such as:
- Head Works
- Tube Well
More than 90% of the country’s agriculture, which is a large part of GPD (Gross Domestic Product), depends upon irrigation systems. 75% of Pakistan is irrigated and 25% is rain-fed. Even in rain-fed areas, rainwater is insufficient for irrigation.
Rainfall mostly happens in the northern areas of Pakistan and there is snowfall in winter which melts and brings water in the form of rivers in the plains. Water is also stored by tying dams on the rivers.
This not only generates electricity but also irrigates the agricultural lands of the entire country by constructing canals from dams.
In short, the irrigation system of Pakistan consists of:
3 Big reservoirs
12 Canal sources
40 Big canal system
And about 120,000 watercourses.
Role of Rivers in the Irrigation System of Pakistan
The most important source of water in Pakistan is the Indus River. Indus River is like a backbone of agriculture and it plays a vital role in food production in Pakistan.
The five major tributaries of the Indus Basin River include:
The other two aids which come out in Afghanistan include:
The average annual flow of the Indus River is 146 MAF million acre-feet which only 106 MAF flows into the canals.
Indus Basin Irrigation System
The total area of the Indus Basin (Sindh Taas) is 1.12 million square kilometres. It is divided into 47% in Pakistan, 39% in India, 8% in China, and 6% in Afghanistan. The Indus Basin flows from the Himalayan mountains in the north to the arid plains of Sindh in the South, and finally in the Arabian Sea near the Pakistani international port in the city of Karachi.
Indus Basin of Pakistan
In Pakistan, the Indus Basin covers an area of about 520,000 square kilometres. Most of which come from the entire province of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and most from the eastern region of Sindh and Baluchistan. Its drainage area is in India, which covers about 440,000 square km or about 14% of the country. These include various Indian states of
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Himachal Pradesh
Indus Basin Treaty
According to the Indus Basin Agreement, on September 19, 1960, East Rivers represented the World Bank. Beas River, Sutlej River, Ravi River had been given to India, and the control of western rivers, namely the Indus River, Chenab River, and Jhelum River had been given to Pakistan.
The agreement stated that Pakistan would divert Eastern rivers for agricultural use. India would take water from western rivers.