Parliamentary Secretary for Water Resources told National Assembly that government has priortised the construction of big storage dams to overcome the water shortages. He assured the house that construction work on Mohanand Dam on the River Sawat is in progress and shall be completed within the stipulated time. Total cost of dam is Rs.309 billion, having an active water storage capacity of 1.594 million cubic meters. The electricity generation potential is 800 megawatts. Two canals shall be extracted to provide irrigation to 15,100 acres of cultivable land.
Next in line for construction is Diymer Basha Dam on the River Indus upstream Tarbella. The estimated cost of the dam is Rs.525 billion. Live water storage capacity of dam’s reservoir is 8.1 million acre feet and electricity generation potential is 4500 megawatts. The construction of this dam will de-accelerate the silting process in the reservoir of downstream Tarbella dam, prolonging its estimated life. Hopefully, foreign funding shall be obtained to start construction work in the near future.
The most beneficial water conservation project for both irrigation and power generation is Kalabagh dam. But unfortunately it has been made politically controversial. The political leadership has lost interest in building consensus on this dam, which will bring green revolution by boosting agriculture production both Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. It merits mention that feasibility studies for the construction of Kurran Tangi Dam on the River Kurram have been completed. Like the Mohammand Dam, it can be completed within five to six years’ time and federal government may not face much difficulty to acquire foreign funding, preferably from multilateral donors such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank in the shape soft loans. Pakistan has already become a water scarce country and will certainly face unmanageable water shortages by 2025 if big and medium storage dams are not built. The present government is cognizant of this looming threat of water starvation. It seems worthwhile that +sufficient financial resources have to be arranged for the construction of storage dams before the country lands into acute water shortages. The deliberate policy of neglecting water conservation by the past elected governments had accrued losses of billions of dollars to the economy in the shape wasting precious water resources and declining production of agriculture.