Altaf Hamid Rao,
MIRPUR [AJK] A delegation of National Security Workshop, National Defence University (NDU) Islamabad led by Major General Muhammad Samrez Salik, Friday visited WAPDA House, WAPDA said.
WAPDA Chairman, Lieutenant General Muzammil Hussain (Retd) briefed the delegation about the water scenario and development projects of WAPDA in water and hydropower sectors. Member (Finance), Member (Power) and other senior officers were also present on the occasion, the WAPDA sources told our AJK Correspondent Altaf Hamid Rao Friday evening said.
Giving a run-down of the challenges and issues faced by Pakistan in water sector, WAPDA Chairman apprised the delegation 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 per cent of its annual river flows, whereas the average water storage capacity world over stands at 40 per cent. Instead of increasing our storage capacity, we have lost more than one-fourth of the storage capacity of our dams. The live water storage capacity that was 16.26 million acre feet (MAF) in 1976 has decreased to 13.68 MAF, which equals to a meager 30 days carry over capacity, while India has carry over capacity of 170 days, Egypt 700 days and America 900 days, he added.
The Chairman said that sustainable long-term plan is required to tackle
the looming water crisis in Pakistan. “Mechanism in vogue for implementing development projects in Pakistan will take us nowhere. Concept of paradigm shift is required to improve water situation and handle the monster of circular debt. The carry over water storage capacity has to be increased from 30 days to 120 days.
Likewise, the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity also needs to be drastically improved”, said the Chairman.
Dilating upon the vision for construction of dams and hydropower projects, the Chairman briefed the delegation that WAPDA plans to add 2 MAF to water storage capacity upto 2023 in short term, 18 MAF upto 2030 in medium term and another 23 MAF upto 2050 in long term. WAPDA has already added 2487 megawatt (MW) hydel electricity to the National Grid by completing Golen Gol, Neelum Jhelum, and Tarbela 4th Extension hydropower projects. It plans to add 4582 MW upto 2023 and another 16180 MW upto 2030. He said that the challenges can be overcome provided there is a will and there are robust institutions. The Chairman further said that construction work on two multi-purpose mega projects namely Mohmand Dam and Diamer Basha Dam will start in 2019. Both projects have cumulative live water storage capacity of 7.07 MAF and power generation capacity of 5300 MW.
WAPDA Chairman also responded to the queries raised by members of
the delegation during question-answer session. Later, NDU delegation head and WAPDA Chairman exchanged souvenirs as memento to the visit.