Sunday January 29, 2023

Wapda to add 11.7 MAF water, 9,000MW power by 2029: chairman

By Our Correspondent
October 16, 2021

FAISALABAD: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) is committed to water, food and energy security of the country and at present work on 10 projects of water and hydro power sectors is under way under ‘Decade of Dams’ and these will be completed in a phased manner from 2023 to 2029.

It was said by Wapda Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Muzammil Hussain while addressing the students and faculty members at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

The Wapda chairman said that the Wapda had been tremendously contributing as a vibrant organisation towards national development by harnessing the vital resource of water. The under construction Wapda projects include five dams, three hydropower projects, one canal and one water supply scheme, he told.

Diamer Bhasha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Dasu Hydropower Project, Nai Gaj Dam, Kachhi Canal Extension, Sindh Barrage and K-IV Project were among the projects, he added.

After completion of 10 under construction Wapda projects, the gross water storage capacity in Pakistan would increase from 13 million acre feet (MAF) to more than 24 MAF with an addition of 11.7 MAF, sufficient to irrigate another 1.6 million acres of land, he maintained. In addition, 950 million gallons water per day would also be made available for drinking purpose to Karachi and Peshawar, he informed.

The installed hydel generation capacity would be doubled to cross 18,000 MW with an addition of 9,000 MW on completion of these projects, he continued. The under construction Wapda projects would also provide about 35,000 job opportunities during the construction, he added.

Commenting on the grim water scenario, the Wapda chairman said the per capita water availability in Pakistan had 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 against the world average of 40 per cent, he told.

The live water storage capacity that used to be 16.26 MAF in 1976 had reduced to 13.68 MAF, which equals to only 30 days carry over capacity, he informed.

In order to tackle the impending water scarcity, we need to have more water storages besides practicing good water conservation and management strategies, the chairman said.

UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan welcomed the Wapda chairman and briefed him about the contribution to the university made for development of agriculture. He said that excessive usage of solar pumps had resulted in lowering down the groundwater which was not only causing problems to the domestic consumers but also posing a threat to agriculture.

Prof Dr Muhammad Jalal Arif, Principal Officer, Department of Public Relations and Publications, said that the UAF being the mother of all agriculture was well recognised at national and international levels. He suggested to make joint research and public awareness to fight the water issue.

Meanwhile, the University of Agriculture Faisalabad took out a rally to mark the World Food Day. The walk was taken out under the auspices of the Faculty of Food Nutrition and Home Sciences that commenced from Admin Block and ended at Expo Centre. The rally was led by Wapda Chairman Muzammil Hussain while UAF Vice Chancellor of Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan and others also participated.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that billions of people in the world were spending their lives in extreme hunger and poverty for which joint efforts at the global level and measures in the spirit of humanity were needed.