Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), has warned that drought-like conditions currently prevailing in southern half of the country may exacerbate and cause water stress in cultivated lands due to limited supply of irrigation water for Rabi crops.
According to a drought advisory issued by the department, the situation has emerged due to overall below than average rainfall in the country from October 2020 to January 2021. “The South Western province of Balochistan received below normal rains by 73 percent while Sindh remained deficient by 70 percent, ” it added.
According to the advisory, most of the central and southern districts of Balochistan are experiencing mild to moderate drought. These districts include Chagai, Gwader, Harnai, Kech, Kharan, Mastung, Nushki, Pishin, Panjgur, Kalat, Quetta and Washuk.
“Keeping in view the climatology and current seasonal forecast of PMD for these areas, drought conditions may exacerbate and affect agriculture and livestock. Dry conditions will cause water stress in the cultivated lands/areas of the country due to limited supply of irrigation water for Rabi crops,” the advisory said.
Most districts in the west to south-west Balochistan are winter rainfall dominant and rainfall amounts lie between 71mm and 231mm, it added.
In Sindh, drought conditions are prevailing in the south-eastern parts of the province.
“Though it’s not an alarming situation, the advisory is for stakeholders related to water management and agriculture. This would help them prepare, plan and take preemptive measures, particularly in disaster-prone areas, in case the situation aggravates,” said Sardar Sarfaraz, Karachi-based Chief Meteorologist of Pakistan Meteorological Department.
Explaining the prevalent drought conditions, he said Balochistan’s weather pattern showed that it received 60 to 70 per cent of its annual rainfall in winters, while Sindh remained dry from October to May. “Since, the dry spell this winter has led to mild to moderate drought conditions in most parts of Balochistan, the situation may go worse as the province normally doesn’t receive good rains in the monsoon season,” he said.