Work on mega dams project going on a fast pace

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By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: 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 billion 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.