Govt devises strategy to enhance water storage capacity

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The government has devised a comprehensive strategy to conserve water, enhance water storage capacity and increase investment in water-related development projects to ensure energy security and overpower water scarcity.

Officials sources in Water Resources Ministry told media here that the government has expedited efforts to complete Diamer Basha, Mohmand dams, Dasu Hydropower, and other such mega projects in time to give maximum relief to the masses.

The sources said the completion of the first phase of Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme K-IV would provide 260 million gallons of water per day to the citizens of Karachi and the Tarbela 5th Extension Project to start generating electricity in 2025.

Completion of 10 mega projects being carried out by WAPDA would not only help store 11.7 million acre-feet water (MAF) but also add over 11,268 megawatts (MW) of clean and green energy to the national grid.

The sources said that since its inception the government prioritized the construction of new water reservoirs to meet the economic development and energy needs of the country.

They said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was personally monitoring the water projects while Minister for Water Resources Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and WAPDA officials were also making all-out efforts to complete the water projects on time. The PM recently visited Mohmand Dam and personally reviewed the progress of work on the project.

They said Mohmand Dam was being constructed jointly by Chinese and Pakistani companies, on the Swat River and it would irrigate over 18,237 acres of new land and help in flood prevention.

Mohmand Dam will have a total water storage capacity of 1.2 million acre-feet while the power generation capacity will be 800 MW. The project would be completed in 2026. The project would provide an average of 2.86 billion units of affordable and environment-friendly hydropower to the National Grid per annum.

The annual benefit of the project was estimated at Rs 51 billion, the sources said. They said the PM recently performed an inauguration ceremony for the refurbishment of Mangala Dam Units 5 and 4. For its refurbishment and up-gradation, USAID provided $150 million and France provided a €90 million loan, with an additional €65 million pledged, making this a $483 million project the epitome of partnership. WAPDA has also spent $175 million on the project so far.

They said soon after assuming the office of Minister for Water Resources. Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah visited the Diamer Bhasha Dam, Mohmand Dam, and Tarbela 5th extension projects and reviewed the progress of the construction work besides directing to expedite work on all these important projects. APP

Tarbela 5th Extension Project having 1,530 MW capacity would start generating electricity in 2024, they said. After the completion of the project, the power generation capacity of Tarbela would jump from 4888 MW to 6418 MW.

Tarbela 5ht Extension Project would provide over 1.34 billion affordable units to the national grid every year.

Meanwhile, with the efforts of the government and WAPDA officials, an agreement has been inked among WAPDA, the civil administration, and the Muttahida Kohistan Jirga consisting of local elders from the three districts of Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, and Kolai Pals Kohistan to ensure smooth completion of long-delayed 132 KV transmission line for Dasu hydropower project. The agreement was aimed at implementing a number of development schemes by WAPDA in the said district for socioeconomic uplift of the locals.

The Dasu Hydropower Project with an accumulative capacity of 4,320 MW was under construction on the Indus River in the Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the sources said.

They said the project would be completed in two phases. Currently, WAPDA was engaged in the construction of its first phase which has a capacity of 2,160 MW and would provide an average of 12 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly electricity to the National Grid every year.

The sources said that on the directives of PM Shehbaz Sharif, WAPDA has also awarded three more contracts worth Rs 98.5 billion for the construction of the first phase of the K-IV Project. The completion of the first phase K-IV project would provide 260 million gallons of drinking water per day to the citizens of Karachi. The K-IV project would be a lifeline for the city of Karachi and it would help solve the issue of drinking water supply to the port city. For speed and early completion, the first phase has been divided into eight packages, out of which contracts for two packages had already been awarded, they said. They said the first phase of K-IV would be completed in October 2023. APP