He was addressing a seminar by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to mark the completion of 57 years since its inception in 1958. Chairman WAPDA Zafar Mahmood, former WAPDA Chairmen Lieutenant General Zulifkar Ali Khan(R), Tariq Hamid and Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, renowned columnist Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi, and intellectuals, senior media persons and former WAPDA officers attended the seminar.
The Minister for Water and Power said that hydel generation is the preferred source of electricity generation requiring huge capital investment for which different financing models are being considered and WAPDA would engage with the private sector for financing of hydropower projects in the country. China has shown a great deal of interest in Diamer Basha Dam Project and Dasu Hydropower Project on the Indus Cascade, he added. He highlighted the imperative of addressing the water challenge, adding that in addition to constructing new water reservoirs to store water, the government is also taking steps to apprise people about the need for water conservation.
He said that people should learn to make judicious use of scarce energy resources. He said that cutting down on extravagant use of water, electricity and gas should become a part of our national character, which can save up to 1500 MW. He further said that efforts are being made to minimise the line losses by upgrading the transmission infrastructure.
The Chairman WAPDA, in his welcome address, said that WAPDA has played an important role in socio-economic development of the country for last 57 years. He said that water storage capacity of the country increased from 0.15 million acre feet (MAF) in 1958 to 18 MAF in 2015 thanks to the role played by WAPDA, adding likewise the electricity generation capacity registered an increase from 119 MW in 1958 to 17,000 MW till 2007 when WAPDA was unbundled and its mandate now limited to operation and maintenance of existing hydel power stations and construction of new water and hydropower projects.
The Chairman WAPDA said that it also goes to credit of WAPDA that it developed integrated National Grid system and inducted all electricity generated from various sources into it. He informed the participants that three under-construction WAPDA projects namely 969 MW-Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, 1410 MW-Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project and 106 MW-Golen Gol Hydropower Project will come online in two to three years. He vowed to make WAPDA transparent and corruption-free national institution of the country.
Earlier, renowned columnist Atta-ul-Haq Qasmi presented a set of recommendations in the seminar aimed at expanding the scope of social corporate responsibility (CSR) of WAPDA, that were formulated in consultative meeting of renowned intellectuals, opinion makers, writers and senior media person of the country in the Lahore Arts Council one day ago. WAPDA Member (Power), Member (Finance) and Advisor to WAPDA on Diamer Basha Dam gave comprehensive presentations on the performance of their wings.