Mr. Moonis Elahi, Federal Minister for Water Resources, said that he will soon present before the cabinet a proposal for the construction of the Kalabagh dam.
“Kalabagh Dam is a must because in the next few years while we complete Karrot, Azad Pattan & Suki Kinnari and other dams will lose potential due to silting”, added the federal minister.
In his tweet, Moonis Elahi writes, “Construction of Kalabagh Dam is inevitable. Due to the siltation of existing dams, Kalabagh Dam will meet the severe shortage of water storage capacity in the shortest possible time. We will take everyone along. Kalabagh Dam’s feasibility proposal will be presented in the cabinet soon. #BuildKalaBaghDam.”
In his speech, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated the essence of new dams for Pakistan & how successive governments in the past have neglected them.
“We just have one problem: unless we can persuade our Sindhi brothers, anti-Pakistan elements will continue to use them by claiming that their water would be taken,” the PM mentioned.
The premier stated that a campaign would be needed to persuade Sindh’s people from a scientific standpoint that the dam would not cause them any loss.
Why Kalabagh dam is important for Pakistan?
The Kalabagh dam, if built, could generate 3,600 MW of energy. It is also proposed and marketed as a possible solution to the country’s persistent flooding problem and related water concerns. Understanding of the environmental implications of dam projects has improved over the years, and Pakistan Economy Watch has called for a public debate on the Kalabagh dam.
According to research conducted by NUST University in 2014, constructing Kalabagh will provide the following benefits:
- $4 billion in annual energy cost reductions
- Irrigation advantages have resulted in a saving of Rs. 132 billion.
- Prevent flood-related losses, such as the $45 billion in recent flood losses at the time the paper was released.
- According to the analysis, Kalabagh’s overall benefits would be worth Rs. 20 billion per year and the cost of construction would be returned in 8–9 years.
Furthermore, according to the report, the following are the detrimental implications of not developing Kalabagh:
- Food scarcity has thrown the economy into disarray. A “significant reduction” in agricultural output has been reported.
- Water disputes between provinces.
- Importing energy adds to the expense. Electricity is too expensive for the average customer.
- Effects of increased power costs on business and agriculture.
“Sindh and Pakhtunkhwah will become drought areas in the years to come if Kalabagh Dam is not completed,” stated Bashir A. Malik, a former UN, and World Bank top technical advisor.
Former KP Chief Minister Shamsul Mulk claimed that the “Kalabagh Dam will be useful in eradicating poverty from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa since it would irrigate 800,000 acres of cultivable land positioned 100–150 feet above the level of the Indus River.
In addition to the 3,600 megawatts (4,800,000 hp) of energy, the Kalabagh Dam would provide 6.5 million acre-feet of water to irrigate seven million acres of now barren land.
‘Decade of Dams’
According to the government of Pakistan, WAPDA(Water And Power Development Authority) is currently working on a variety of major projects under the ‘Decade of Dams’ program. It will generate 35,000 job opportunities, contributing considerably to the socio-economic development of underdeveloped areas.
From 2018 to 2028, ten additional dams will be built, adding 4,543 MW to the National Grid by 2026 and another 6,853 MW by 2028-29.
Work has already been started on the construction of ten, including two major dams, Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand, which will generate cheap and environmentally friendly electricity and make 8 million acres of cultivable land.
The 10 under construction dams will boost the amount of water that can be stored to 11.7 million acre-feet.