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Govt kicks off Mohmand, Diamer Basha dams projects to ensure water security

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Aug 18, 2020: The incumbent government launched mega projects including Mohmand and Diamer Basha dams to ensure water security and enhancing storage capacity in the country.

According report launched on two year performance of PTI government here Tuesday, Pakistan is heading towards a situation of water shortage and by corollary, a threat of food insecurity.

Per capita surface water availability has declined from 5,260 cubic meters per year in 1951 to around 1,000 cubic meters in 2016.

This quantity is likely to further drop to about 860 cubic meters by 2025 marking our transition from a “water stressed” to a “water scarce” country.

No major reservoir was constructed in the country since 1970s and the storage capacity of major reservoirs (Tarbela, Mangla and Chasma) has reduced from 15.89 MAF in 1992 to 13.69 MAF to date which is sufficient for 30 days’ average demand of the country, as compared to 1,000 days of Egypt and 220 days of India.

Every year about 29 MAF (Average from 1976-77 to 2017-18) water goes downstream Kotri into sea against the ecological and environmental requirement of 8.6 MAF.

To put it in perspective, a fair estimate suggests that 1 MAF of water has come the economic value of US $ 500 million. Further, cost of electricity was increasing due to lesser share of low-cost hydroelectric power in the energy basket.

The situation warranted start of construction of water storage structures such as Diamer Basha Dam and Mohmand Dam etc., on war footing basis, due to their long gestation periods.

Water security is an area of high priority for the present government.

As many as 97 water and hydropower sector projects costing Rs.2.5 trillion are being sponsored/executed by the Ministry of Water Resources.

A sum of Rs. 183 billion has been allocated to Water Sector projects in FY 2020-21 out of which Rs. 101 billion are being arranged by WAPDA and remaining funds will be provided through Federal PSDP.

After completion of ongoing mega projects, the storage capacity of the country will be increased by more than 8 MAF.

After Tarbela Dam, Mohmand Dam is the first mega dam which was kicked-off after a disastrous hiatus of more than five decades in the country.

Prime Minister, Imran Khan, performed groundbreaking of the project on May 2, 2019.

The project is likely to be completed in 2025, with a cost of Rs. 309 billion. Besides augmenting water supplies for 160,000 acres of existing land, 16,700 acres of new land will be irrigated.

In addition, 300 million gallons water per day will also be provided to Peshawar for drinking purpose.

The project will reduce flooding hazard of Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera cities from the devastating floods of Swat River.

Annual benefits of the project in terms of flood mitigation have been estimated at Rs 1.5 billion. The project will provide almost three billion units of electricity per annum.

Mohmand Dam Project will provide as many as 6,100 job opportunities. The present Government placed Diamer Basha dam project on its priority and construction activities have been started.

It has a financial outlay of Rs. 648 billion and is likely to be completed in April 2028. It will generate as many as 16550 job opportunities to the locals and Pakistani engineers (15500 labourer/staff and 1050 engineers).

Construction of the project will also boost cement and steel industries in the country. The project will add usable water storage of 6.4 MAF in the system and, resultantly, will reduce the current shortage of irrigation water at an average from 17 MAF to 10 MAF per annum.

It will also add clean and affordable electricity of 18 billion units every year through renewable resource to the National Grid. Additional electricity from the existing and future planned hydropower projects downstream of Diamer-Basha dam will be 2.5 and 7.5 billion units, respectively.

Life of Tarbela reservoir will also increase by 35 years due to reduced sediment deposition.

The land acquisition process of Dasu HPP was stalled since 2014, due to the unrest among the locals over cost of the land. Therefore, physical work on the project could not be started despite the approval of the PC-I and award of the contract on 28-03-2014 and 29-12-2016 respectively.

WAPDA estimated that delay of a single day translates into a loss of Rs. 350 million per day to the national exchequer on account of the project being not ready to generate electricity.

Now the ECNEC has approved revision in cost of land acquisition and built up property of Dasu Hydropower Project, on 02-10-2019, which has paved way for smooth implementation of the project.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan principally approved in August 2019, development of a water reservoir by constructing a barrage across River Indus namely ‘Sindh Barrage’.

The project will help to mitigate issues created due to seawater intrusion having devastating effects on Indus delta, mangroves and marine/aquatic life in the area. Feasibility study of the Sindh Barrage Project has been initiated.

The Project will be completed in about five years by implementing the project on fast-track.

Longstanding issues pertaining to Naulong Dam (Balochistan) have been resolved and revised PC-I of the project has been approved by the ECNEC.

The outgoing year 2019-20 proved to be a historic for hydel power generation in Pakistan, as WAPDA provided highest ever number of hydel electricity i.e. 37.4 billion units to the National Grid.

Previous record of hydel generation in a fiscal year was 33.15 billion units that was set way back in 2015-16. The surge in hydel generation in 2019-20 not only helped the country overcome power shortages but also contributed in stabilization of power tariff.


Posted on: 2020-08-18T15:55:00+05:00