A delegation of PAF Air War College Karachi, visited WAPDA House today. Headed by Air Vice Marshal Hussain Ahmed Siddiqui, the delegation was comprised of Pakistani and allied officers from Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. A briefing was arranged for the delegation about water and hydropower sectors in Pakistan.
Chairman WAPDA Lt Gen Sajjad Ghani (Retd) also participated in the briefing. Following the briefing, the Chairman while responding to the questions, said that water situation in Pakistan can only be improved by constructing more dams, conserving water, adopting modern irrigation techniques and minimizing water evaporation losses.
Economic rejuvenation is possible through development of agro-based economy in Pakistan. One more mega water reservoir after Diamer Basha Dam can bring a landmass, through which we can get economic benefit equivalent to US$ 10 billion per annum.
Earlier, the delegation was briefed about challenges for water and energy security of Pakistan. The delegation was informed that per capita water availability in the country has come down from 5650 cubic meter in 1951 to an alarming level of 908 cubic meter per annum, pushing us to the stage of water-scarce country.
Pakistan can store only 10% of its annual river flows against the world average of 40%. We have merely 30 days carry over capacity of water in comparison to India with 170 days, Egypt with 700 days and USA with 900 days.
The carry over water storage capacity will have to be increased from 30 days to 120 days. Likewise, the low-cost hydel electricity, which stands at 9406 MW at present, also needs to be improved from the existing 28% to at least 50% in the National Grid.
The delegation was also informed about prospects and plans in water and hydropower sectors. The delegation was apprised that WAPDA is executing biggest-ever portfolio of development projects in water and hydropower sectors worth Rs.2500 billion for water, food and energy security of Pakistan.
Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam, Nai Gaj Dam, Dasu and Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project are to name a few. The under-construction projects are scheduled to be completed from 2023 to 2029 in a phased manner.
On completion of these projects, gross water storage capacity in the country will increase by 9.7 MAF, sufficient to irrigate 3.5 million acres of land. In addition, hydel power generation capacity of WAPDA will also be doubled with an increase of 9043 MW.