Tarbela silting: capacity fast declining Tarbela Dam is losing 100 000 cusecs storage capacity every year and with that pace there will be no water available for wheat maturing and cotton sowing after five years. 100 000 cusecs water forms the irrigation supply of 10 days, which means that every year Tarbela will hit the dead level 10 days earlier. The calculation has already proved correct, as the dam had exhausted on March 26 in 2000, on March 15 last year, and on March 6 this year. Increasing water shortages during the Rabi season also substantiate the point; 19% during 2000, 41% in 2001, and 51% this year. "Tarbela Dam was designed to store 9.5 MAF," says an official of Wapda's water wing. Out of it, around 2 MAF was meant to supplement the Kharif sowing during March and April. With silt inflow, the dam's capacity has been reduced to 7.2 MAF - a loss of 2.3 MAF - during the last 26 years. The loss is 0.3 MAF more than of what was kept for the Kharif sowing. A hydrologist said that Pakistan was losing 1% water storage capacity every year while its population was growing by 2.5%.