A third of Wapda’s telemetry instruments are not working – Pakistan

LAHORE: About a third of the Water and Electricity Development Authority (Wapda) telemetry instruments are out of service, posing problems in collecting rain-related data in river catchments, sources said.

According to the sources, some 14 out of 42 telemetry systems have not reported any data for a long time and affected personnel have no choice but to leave the relevant columns blank in their daily reports. They said Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) recently wrote a letter to Wapda officials explaining why a “dash” is marked in front of these 14 equipments as lack of data leads to wrong assessments related to water inflows. of rain in rivers and their tributaries.

It can be noted that Wapda deployed its staff permanently to the PMD office but none of them are able to explain why the data was not available from third-party auto-ranging equipment. Therefore, the PMD formally raised the matter with officials of the Hydropower Resource Management Division. Meanwhile, the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) sources pointed out that faults occurred in the telemetry system under Wapda’s control simply because it proceeded to install the equipment without consulting the other stakeholders. The system hadn’t worked up to the mark since 2005, they added.

Similarly, the irrigation department’s water gauges and meteorological department’s radars would be considered obsolete, leaving concerned authorities to rely on sketchy data on Pakistan available on international websites.

As a result, poor rainwater data collection in hill streams and river catchments has taken its toll in Balochistan and South Punjab.

PMD sources pointed out that the Indian side has also blocked access to its data for the past two years, which was previously used to measure the volume of rainwater in and around major rivers. Also, they said, no other data on the amount of water in the rivers is available on Radio Jammu, which was on the air regularly about two years ago. It can be noted that the federal government is finalizing a Rs 10 billion project with the World Bank for the installation of 300 automatic weather stations at tehsil level throughout the country at present. The objective of the exercise is to equip PMD with the latest data collection mechanism to avoid growing vulnerabilities to climate change in the region. Already, a series of deadly wildfires raged in more than 100 locations across the country from March to May this year due to an unprecedented heat wave.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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