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Sunday April 21, 2024

Indus Basin Irrigation System: CDWP recommends Rs23.8bn for automated project

Vital projects related to energy, transport and communication and water resource sectors came under discussion

By Mehtab Haider
February 07, 2024
This image released on October 10, 2023, shows a general view of the River Indus. — Facebook/Living Indus
This image released on October 10, 2023, shows a general view of the River Indus. — Facebook/Living Indus

ISLAMABAD: With the general elections standing just a day away, the caretaker government Tuesday approved development projects adding more to the list of Public Sector Development Program (PSDP). However, the Centre has no resources to finance the projects.

According to an official statement issued by the planning ministry on Tuesday, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) was convened under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan.

Vital projects related to energy, transport and communication and water resource sectors came under discussion.

The forum recommended the revised PC-1 titled Installation of Telemetry System for Real-Time Discharge Monitoring at 27 key sites on the Indus Basin Irrigation System, presented by the Ministry of Water Resources with a total cost of Rs23,834.707 million to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for consideration.

The Indus Basin Irrigation System is proposed to be financed through the PSDP. An amount of Rs500 million would be sponsored by Irsa through its resources. Irsa owns the project, with the execution responsibilities given to Wapda.

After a two-year post-completion period, the Authority will take over the operation and maintenance of this transformative venture. Currently, the Indus Basin’s irrigation water management system operates on manual procedures. Decisions regarding water distribution rely on manual calculations at barrages and information obtained through traditional means like phone or fax.

Absence of automated monitoring systems has led to a situation where gate positions are unknown, causing control issues for provincial irrigation departments and potential inter-provincial disputes. To address these challenges, the Authority plans to install state-of-the-art telemetry equipment at 27 key locations.

This equipment, proven effective in similar environmental conditions worldwide, will replace manual operations and provide real-time data on water flow and gate positions. The project aims to eliminate mistrust, harmonize provincial relationships and ensure compliance with the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991.

The objectives of the project are multi-faceted ensuring online, accurate information on water availability and flow at key locations. The project includes the installation of cutting-edge equipment, establishment of a data center and client workstations at key locations. This, in turn, will foster confidence, transparency and equitable water sharing in line with government policies. Additionally, the project’s completion will contribute to an overall improvement of the country’s social, agricultural, and industrial systems, generating employment opportunities during both the project execution and subsequent maintenance phases.