Diamer-Bhasha Dam work to be expedited

Diamer-Bhasha Dam work to be expedited

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday directed the Ministry of Water Resources to expedite efforts for construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

He also directed that financing strategy for Diamer-Bhasha dam should be brought before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for approval. The Prime Minister gave these directions during a briefing about water resources of the country held here at the PM’s office.

Minister for Water Resources Syed Javed Ali Shah, Chairman WAPDA Lt. Gen (R) Muzammil Hussain, Commissioner Indus Water Mirza Asif Baig, Chairman Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, Chairman Flood Commission Ahmad Kamal and senior officials were present during the meeting.

An overview of the annual surface water availability and distribution of western and eastern rivers was presented before the meeting along with water storage capacity available in the country.

Matters pertaining to trans-boundary water issues and the efforts being made for early resolution of the pending disputes also came under discussion.The meeting was informed that out of 137 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of available water flow at present approximately 93 MAF was being diverted to the canals for irrigation purposes while 22 MAF of water was flowing into the Arabian sea which was much greater than the required water-flow.

Taking note of significant increase in the unaccounted for water which has increased from 10 MAF to 22 MAF at present, the Prime Minister directed to put in place an effective mechanism for monitoring of discharge at all structures of Indus Basin Irrigation System.

The Prime Minister observed that in order to meet the challenges of water scarcity and to cater to irrigation needs of the country, there was an urgent need for undertaking water conservation measures including construction of much-needed water reservoirs.

He emphasized that water was a critical issue and it required an urgent response. Failure to add storage capacity during last four decades has created a situation of water scarcity, he said and observed, hence, there was no option other than pursuing all water storage projects.

The Prime Minister also directed that proposals for strengthening and capacity building of various organs of the Ministry of Water Resources be submitted for consideration.