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Water storage projects to improve per capita availability

LAHORE: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) is constructing a number of mega water storage projects, including Diamer-Bhasha Dam that will improve storage capacity and per capita availability of water in the country.

Wapda Member (Water) Shoaib Iqbal told a delegation of the Pakistan Air Force Air War College, Karachi, headed by College Commandant Air Vice Marshal Pirzada Kamaluddin Siddiqui, which visited Wapda House here on Monday.

Responding to a question regarding funds for construction of the water reservoirs, Iqbal apprised the delegation that $14 billion were needed to construct Diamer-Bhasha Dam. In view of financial constraints, the authority planned to construct it in stages.

Earlier, Small and Medium Dams Director Shahid Hamid and Engineer Muhammad Saleem, general manager (revenue and commercial operations) at the Pakistan Electric Power Company, made presentations on water and power sectors, respectively.

Briefing the delegation on the water sector, Hamid said per capita water availability in the country had decreased to 1,032 cubic metre in 2015 from 5,260 in 1951 due to rapid growth in population and depleting water storage capacity of reservoirs because of sedimentation. He said water security was a key component of national security as growth of the national economy largely depended on availability of sufficient amount of water. Since water requirements were increasing due to increasing population, there is a dire need to replenish scarce water resources through construction of water reservoirs in the country.

Regarding hydropower development, the delegation was informed that the authority was constructing various projects of 4,856MW cumulatively. The under-construction projects included 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, 106MW Golen Gol, 1,410MW Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project, 128MW Keyal Khwar, 2,160MW Dasu Hydropower Project (Stage-I) and 84MW Kurram Tangi Dam Project, he further explained.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2015