Imran Aziz Tunio
Water is a precious resource and there is a growing importance of efficient and productive use of water in economic development. The construction of Sehwan Barrage and associated storage are very important in order to conserve the flood water in river flood plain.
The feasibility study of Sehwan Barrage Complex was conducted thrice in the last four decades. The first consultants hired were M/s Hunting Technical Services and Sir Moot MacDonald and partners who completed their assignment and submitted report in the year 1969. The second up-dating was carried out by M/s NESPAK, NDC, PACE (Joint Venture) and submitted their report in the year 1993. The third by M/s ZMRJ group in association with six other consulting firms and submitted feasibility report during 2006. The construction of Barrage was linked off taking channels; storage reservoir, besides the Barrage would have adequate surface storage area in its head pond, to meet the requirements.
It is the critical exigency of the time to construct Sehwan Barrage on war footing basis, which will not only provide opportunity for supplying water to agriculture and assure supplies for urban and industrial purposes but also will preserve the flood water and that will supplement southern Rohri Canal command, part of Nara Canal below Chotiari reservoir and supplement assured supply to Kotri Barrage system.
The planned Sehwan Barrage is located near old historical town of Sehwan Sharif at about 3 mile downstream in the Indus River. The local people, however, have apprehensions that location of barrage and its construction near Sehwan would water log the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. The Sindh government had also requested to the Federal government that barrage location will be more suitable at Rehmani Nagar rather than Sehwan, a city about 30 mile away from the planned location.
Unfortunately due to delay in implementation of the Project by more than four decades, the cost of project has increased by more than 400%. In this regard numerous modifications are needed in the plan either due to altered priorities or due to economic constraints. Various plans of the Federal and the Provincial governments must be critically studied and prioritized with respect to their technical and economic parameters.