Gilgit-Baltistan: Sufficient Water Available for Summer due to Heavy Snowfall in GB

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Gilgit (ET):Heavy snowfall this month which has covered the mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has ended a prolonged dry spell that would have otherwise affected agricultural crops this summer, according to experts.

“There is now sufficient water available for crops this summer,” said Maisoor Ahmed, an agriculturist.

According to the meteorological department, the sky will remain overcast during the next few days, causing the mercury to drop further. Another westerly wave entered Pakistan last Friday and brought a cold spell in the western parts of the country. Scattered rains with snowfall on mountains and hills are expected in Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) from Friday to Monday. Widespread rain and snow is also expected in G-B and Kashmir during these four days. Rain is forecast for the federal capital on Saturday which is expected to continue for the next three days.

The mountainous G-B is described as the largest source of water for the country, which enable farmers in arid areas to contribute significantly towards the growing food requirement of the country.

About 25 per cent of Pakistan’s total land area is under cultivation and is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. According to conservative estimates, agriculture comprises 21.2 per cent of the GDP and employs 43 per cent of the workforce.

Wheat and cotton are amongst the most popular crops, followed by rice and sugarcane,” said Ahmed. “A good winter is a prerequisite for a bumper crop.”

If there is still no snow by the beginning of February, chances of snowfall get slimmer due to rising temperatures.

Astore received more than two feet of snow, disrupting routine life in the town in the first week of this month. Reports reaching Gilgit from Skardu and Ghizer valley also suggest that they received heavy snowfall, blanketing the mountains with snow and causing temperatures to plummet below zero.

Agriculturists say heavy snowfall in G-B in winters guarantees a prosperous summer for the rest of country as agriculture land in Punjab, Sindh and K-P receive more water.

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