As more water reservoirs are needed to bring green revolution in the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) led government attaches due importance to build mega dams to thwart water looming water scarcity and enhance storage.
The alarming situation can be gauged through a data of Population Census Organization Pakistan which indicates that per capita water availability was 5,260 cubic meters in 1951, 4159 cubic meters in 1961, 2838 cubic meters in 1971, 2129 cubic meter in 1981, 1611 cubic meters in 1991, 1259 cubic meters in 2001 and 908 cubic meters in 2016, respectively.
In such scenario, it is a high time to pay special heed for constructing more and more water reservoirs in the country to save the future of coming generation.
Sensing the gravity of water scarcity, the incumbent government decided to start work on mega dams on war footing and formally kicked off physical work on much awaited multi-purpose Mohmand dam in May.
Contract for civil and electro-mechanical works of Mohmand Dam Project had already been awarded to a Joint Venture comprising the China Gezhouba Group of Companies (CGGC) of China and DESCON of Pakistan.
The Modmand dam will not only generate 800 megawatt cheap hydel electricity but also store over 1.2million acres feet (MAF), which will directly benefit people of Charsadda, Mohmand and adjoining areas of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
The dam will generate an estimated annual energy of about 2862GWh besides an active waterstorage reservoir of about 1.2MAF in addition to bringing about 17,000 acres barren land under cultivation directly.
Mohmand dam is being constructed on River Swat about 48 kilometers from Peshawar at confluence of Mohmand and Charsadda district and the dam’s reservoir area extends upstream to Mohmand, Bajaur and other northern districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Moreover, the project will supply 13.32 million cubic meter water from Mohmand Dam reservoir toPeshawar City for drinking purposes.
The dam will also address the long awaited problem of water scarcity in Mohmand district and will save Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera and other districts from floods in future. The project is scheduled to be completed in five years i.e. 2024 with an estimated cost of Rs 293billion.
It will alleviate poverty by providing job opportunities to thousands of people besides locals in the project area and its annual benefits are estimated about Rs51.6 billion for the country.
Its construction will help national power policy achieve the dual goals of meeting Pakistan’s energy needs in a sustainable manner and ensuring generation of affordable electricity, while helping to reduce existing energy’s demand and supply gap.
Construction of 213 meters high Mohmand Dam will alleviate risk of flood damages to great extend in future. The water reservoir will also control river flow and minimize intensity of floods downstream, therefore, the reservoir will be a great source of flood’s protection and save fertile land from erosion.
Efforts are being made to launch work on Diamer Bhasha dam by end of this year.
Diamer Bhasha Dam is also a multi-purpose project aiming at water storage, flood mitigation and power generation. The project will be constructed across River Indus about 40-kilometer downstream of Chillas City.
A total 272-meter high Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Dam would have a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and will generate 4500 MW of electricity with annual energy generation of more than 18 billion units of low-cost.
With the construction of Diamer Basha Dam Project, the life of Tarbela Dam will be enhanced for another 35 years.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan receives around 142MAF water annually through western rivers of which 104MAF used for irrigation purposes.