Raziq Ali Shah
ISLAMABAD, Oct 29 (APP): Cognizant of future generations’ needs and to enhance depleting water capacity the incumbent government has not only launched mega dams projects including Mohmand and Diamer Basha after a lapse of over five decades but also hundreds of small dams across the country.
About 29 million acre feet (MAF) water on average is going downstream to Kotri and falling into the Arabian Sea every year. Unfortunately, it cannot be stored due to lack of water storage capacity in the country.
According to former WAPDA Chairman Shams ul Mulk, Pakistan was facing about $29 billions as economic losses every year on account of unutilised flow of river waters into the sea due to limited water storage capacity.
One million acre feet (MAF) water on average irrigates four million acres of land and the economic value of 1MAF water was estimated at $1bn.
“We can save this water by increasing storage capacity and bring virgin land under cultivation, said Indus River System Authority Chairman Rao Irshad Ali Khan.
He was of the view that construction of mega dams including Diamer Basha and Mohmand would enable Pakistan to streamline its off-set water induced variations in water flow.
The Diamer Bhasha dam would add 35 years to the life of Tarbela dam by reducing sedimentation, he said.
According to Chairman WAPDA Gen retired Muzammil Hussain both the dams would be with cumulative gross water storage capacity of 9.3 million acre feet (MAF) and electricity generation capacity of 5300 mega watts (MW).
He said that Diamer Bhasha Dam was a multi-purpose project aimed at water storage, flood mitigation and power generation.
The project would be constructed across River Indus about 40-kilometer downstream of Chillas town. The 272-meter high Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Dam would have a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF).
The project will generate 4500 MW of electricity with annual energy generation of more than 18 billion units of low-cost and environment friendly electricity.With construction of Diamer Basha Dam Project, the life of Tarbela Dam will be enhanced to another 35 years.
It will also have a positive impact on the annual energy generation of the projects in the downstream areas.Regarding Mohmand Dam, the WAPDA chairman said that the work on the construction of the dam was going on fast track and would be completed by 2024.
“The project is of immense importance and it will store 1.2 million acre feet (MAF) of water for irrigated agriculture, help mitigate floods in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera and generate 800 mega watt (MW) of green and clean energy.
The Spokesperson WAPDA told APP that Diamer Bhasha Dam Project would stimulate economic activities in the far-flung and backward areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, providing as many as 16550 job opportunities to the locals and Pakistani engineers, he added.
He said that construction of the dam would help bring as many as 1.23 million acres of additional land under cultivation, following which annual agricultural benefits of the project had been estimated at Rs. 279 billion.Meanwhile, the Federal government is also providing funds for construction of 60 small, medium, large and delayed action/recharge dam projects in the country through the Federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) aimed at providing water for irrigation/ agriculture, and drinking purposes.
The accumulative live storage capacity of these dams is about 8,683,699 Acre-feet. As many as 17 dams projects are likely to be completed during the current fiscal year and they are small dams in Tehsil Dobandi, Gulistan Killa, Bhundaro storage dam, Dosi dam Pasni, Darah dam Khuzadar, Mangi dam Quetta, Mara Tangi dam Loralai, Tuk dam Tehsil Wadh, Anjeeri dam Nushko, Azdhakhoi dam, Baghi dam Naushki, delay actions dams in Siaro Hazar Ganji Nal, small dam at Sardari Goz Darkhalo, small dam Kunji Ferzabad, and Sukleji dam etc.
During last decade, WAPDA had completed Mangla Dam Raising(2.88 MAF), Gomal Zam Dam (0.892 MAF), Satpara Dam(0.053 MAF) and Darawat Dam (0.089 MAF) to store water.
WAPDA is also planning to construct Kurram Tangi Dam Stage-II (0.90 MAF), Chiniot Dam (0.85 MAF), Shyok Dam (5.0 MAF), Akhori Dam (6.0 MAF), Dudhnial Dam (1.00 MAF), Skardu Dam (3.20 MAF) and Sindh Barrage (2.00 MAF) to cope with the issues of water shortage in the country.