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Agricultural Economy of Skardu is Based on Glaciers and Snow Melting –A Case Study of Burgay Watershed

Agricultural Economy of Skardu is Based on Glaciers and Snow Melting –A Case Study of Burgay Watershed

Muhammad Zulfiqar1*, Irshad Abbasi2, Himayatullah Khan1, Arjumand Nizami3, Abdul Hakeem4, Jawad Ali3 and Muhammad Jamal Khan

1The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan; 2Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan; 3Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation Pakistan; 4Aga Khan Rural Support Program Skardu, Pakistan.  


About two-third of the annual precipitation in Skardu occurs during the winter months (December to April). In general, monsoon period is dry, and only 18% of total annual precipitation occurs during the months of July-October. Burgay watershed is situated upstream of Satpara Dam. Water from this watershed is distributed among the communities according to historically agreed distribution patterns. Water availability vary from season to season. The objective of the instant study was to assess the glaciers/snow water dependence of agriculture activities which have implications for livelihood of the communities. The data collection including flow discharge measurement out of the watershed was regularly measured during September 2015 to November 2015 and March 2016 to September 2016. The results show that during the winter months (November, December, January, February, March and April) flow discharge was relatively low that ranged from 0.76 to 0.82 cfs. In summer months (May, June, July and August) the major flow is generated by snow/glacier melt. The glacier melt increases with increase in air temperature and maximum flow discharge of 31.25cfs was observed during the month of June and then decreases with decrease in air temperature. In general, the snow/glacier melt was the major contributor (79%) during the summer months and spring water contribution was 21%. However, in winter months only spring water is available for drinking and domestic use and hardly any water is available to meet irrigation needs. Based on crop water requirement; severe water shortage estimated during the months of March and April to the extent of 3.12 and 6.87 cfs respectively for irrigating the existing cultivated area. These results show that agriculture in Burgay watershed is highly dependent on snow/glacier melt. The study concludes that agrarian economy of the Burgay watershed is highly dependent on glacier/snow and farmers face sever water shortage at the time of crops sowing in March/April when glacier/snow water is not available. It is therefore recommended to construct water storages at community as well as at farm level as well considering lifting of ground water or river water to meet irrigation water requirements at the crops sowing period. 


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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture


Vol. 35, Iss. 4, Pages 1020-1356


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