ECONOMIC growth of Pakistan is not possible without resolving water and energy crisis. Implementation on the dam plan is inevitable for the survival of Pakistan.
These thoughts were shared by economic, water and agricultural experts during a brainstorming session at a club here on Wednesday. Dr Salman Shah, former finance minister, Bashir A Malik, former chief technical advisor of United Nations and World Bank, Abdul Majeed Khan, TECH Society president, Shafqat Masood, former IRSA chairman, Qayyum Nizami, former minister of state, Prof Abdul Qayyum Qureshi, former vice chancellor of Islamia University, Bahawalpur, Dr Muhammad Sadiq, agricultural scientist, M Saeed Khan, former GM of Kalabagh Dam Project, Mansoor Ahmed, former MD of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Foundation and Jameel Gishkori participated in this session. Dr Salman Shah said there was a need to educate the public as well as leaders regarding benefits of building dams, including Kalabagh dam, for which facts and figures were required from water and power experts.
Bashir Malik said eight percent of the total available water resources of Pakistan was used for domestic while 92 percent for irrigation. Speakers pinpointed that Pakistan had not been able to build even a single large dam after Tarbela dam project initiated in 1976 whereas India had built more than 33 large dams during this period. “If Kalabagh dam is not build there will be irreparable loss to the water and energy sector of Pakistan for which our new generation will not forgive us,” they said.
The participants of Save Water Save Pakistan Forum session demanded in their recommendations implementation on building five dams, including Munda dam, Kurram Tangi dam, Akhori dam and Kalabagh dam, at least by 2025 to store water and generate electricity to meet the demand. In order to work on war footing formation of Central Board of Irrigation and Power comprising patriotic and sincere professional senior engineers of Pakistan is necessary to start a national campaign in the field of water and energy. Central Board of Irrigation and Power can set engineering standards and criteria for design and practice besides helping the government to resolve many intricate and politically sensitive inter-provincial issues relating to water and power, etc. The Forum also recommended steps like demand management through population planning, irrigation demand control and water conservation for interim relief from food scarcity and loadshedding. Optimum efficiency in application of water by lining minor channels and field watercourses, increase in crop yields by several-fold in line with the axiom “Maximum crop per drop” through the use of genetic technology, advanced research in irrigation practices and crop technology and establishment of new industries with the help of cheap hydropower generated at new dams, were also recommended.