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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,777
1024hr
Pakistan Cases
1,287,161
33624hr
0.78% positivity
Sindh
476,830
Punjab
443,519
Balochistan
33,507
Islamabad
107,930
KPK
180,383

ISLAMABAD: Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has submitted PC-1 of the long-awaited telemetry system to Indus River System Authority (Irsa) which will be made part of the PSDP 2021-22.

This was stated by Secretary Ministry of Water Resources, Munir Azam to Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources, headed by Senator Shamim Afridi.

The telemetry system, the committee was informed, will be installed on a number of points on reservoirs, barrages and even some canals to measure water to be released to the provinces as Sindh and Balochistan have serious water disputes. “Wapda has submitted the PC-1 to Irsa, which will go through it and point out if there is any deficiency in the scope of the project. As it is cleared from Irsa, Ministry of Water Resources will submit it for approval to the CDWP as its cost is over Rs 2 billion,” Secretary Water Resources added.

The project is expected to be completed by June 2023 but the Ministry sought six months additional time to complete installation of telemetry system on all the already decided points.

The committee also discussed different aspects of water losses especially in lower riparian points. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, Mehar Ali Shah maintained that water quantity was accurate at the four rim stations, adding if the quantity of water below Kotri was less, then that issue needed to be investigated.

The committee was informed that around 6 MAF water is wasted every year, which can be saved by construction of a mega reservoir.

According to the report presented to the committee, lack of storage capacity caused a financial loss of $600 billion during the last 44 years. The country’s total water storage capacity was 15.7 MAF in 1976, which has declined to 13.6 MAF and 70 percent of it comes in the rivers during the monsoon season with a major portion going to waste due to no construction of water storage in the country.

Senator Walid Iqbal, who raised a number of questions on water issues being faced by the country, said there was a need to construct more dams to stop wastage of water.

Joint Secretary Water Resources said there would be improvement in the water system with the construction of Diamer Basha Dam; Chairman IRSA said it would just store the water which was not being stored in Tarbella reservoir due to silting.

Chairman Standing Committee commented that since required funds were not provided to the Ministry, how the ongoing projects could be completed in time.

The committee also deliberated on imposition of water charge of Rs 1500 per acre, through which an amount of Rs 80 billion could be collected and later on used for improvement of water distribution system. Chairman Irsa noted that in 70s, collection from Abiana (water charge) in Punjab was enough to cover the O&M cost but in 2019, collection was just Rs 1 billion whereas O&M cost of water distribution system was Rs 20 billion.

The committee was further informed that PC-1s of five small dams i.e. (i) Sharan Dam (District Shirani), (ii) Zama Khulgai Dam (District Killa Saifullah); (iii) Baratka Dam (District Killa Saifullah; (iv) Urgus Dam (District Killa Saifullah) and; (v) Khurram Dam (District Killa Saifullah) have been submitted to the provincial Planning and Development Department which will be sent to Cabinet for approval. The cost of the dams to be filled with flood water/rains is Rs 550 million.

The committee also adopted different reports of the committee to be tabled in the next session of Senate. Beside others, the meeting was attended by Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Usman Kakar and Senator Yousaf Badini.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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