Potohar region has the potential of over 6000 mini-dams, which can be constructed in addition to hundreds of small dams, to eventually change the fate of the farmers.
There is a dire need to construct a large number of mini-dams in the Potohar region as the average run-off is now estimated to be around 1.88 million acre-feet (MAF), with only around 12 per cent, or 0.22 MAF, conserved through small dams.
The dams can help in flood mitigation, soil conservation, curtailing rural migration to overburdened cities and reducing the time dependence on far-flung water sources.
A Diagnostic Analysis, conducted by a team of experts pointed out that rainfall pattern in the Potohar region demands water harvesting, storage and supplemental irrigation for crops during the months of April to June and October to December.
The runoff available in the Potohar Plateau is 3.5 MAF, of which 0.10 MAF is utilised by small dams, mini dams and ponds. The remaining 3.4 MAF is going to the Indus and Jhelum rivers.
According to Rawalpindi District Punjab Soil Protection Department, the Punjab government was making efforts to construct mini-dams in several areas.
The Potohar Region needs thousands of more mini-dams as it is losing most of its annual 3.5 million acre feet of water due to shortage of infrastructure, resulting in large scale soil erosion, the agriculture experts said.
The Punjab Government under ‘Kissan Package’ constructed 102 mini-dams in Potohar Region during the last two years with 174 water ponds, 39 water storage tanks, 81 gabion spur and 29 earthern bunds.
Talking to APP, Director Soil Conservation Department Malik Ghulam Akbar said 80 percent subsidy is given to the farmers for the construction of mini-dams. Due to the water reservoirs and soil erosion controlling structures nearly 32,190 acres land was made cultivable in the region, he informed.—APP