New Dams to Double Water Storage Capacity: PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Monday, said that the new under-construction mega-dams would double the water storage capacity of Pakistan and would help address the issues related to climate change.

Speaking at a seminar on hydropower development, he said that China had constructed 5000 dams, but Pakistan had only two dams built in the 1960s. “Due to this negligence, Pakistan suffered losses. As Pakistan is using imported fuel for electricity generation, whenever petrol prices go up in the international market, electricity prices also rise in Pakistan, and the burden increases on the public,” he said.

“If we had generated hydroelectricity, we would not have faced the present price hikes triggered by an increase in fuel prices,” he added. Pakistan had great potential for hydroelectricity, but it was producing half of its electricity from oil, Prime Minister Imran said. Further adding that unfortunately, due to lack of long-term planning, Pakistan was facing these problems. The Prime Minister noted that China was making rapid progress and its biggest strength was long-term planning.

“They do not think in terms of elections after every five years. I am proud that our government is making long-term planning rather than thinking about elections,” the premier said.

“Today, we are celebrating the decade of dams. We need water storage,” the premier said while observing that there were problems between provinces because of water issues. Imran Khan said, “As our population is increasing, we have to cultivate more land. If there is no storage, [then] how can we cultivate the land? We have fertile land in DI Khan, and we need only water. If we arrange water for land in DI Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will not need to get food or wheat from other provinces. Balochistan has millions of acres of uncultivated land and if we can arrange water we can export cotton and other crops. The land is also available in Thar.”

The use of tunnel technology for dams was necessary for Pakistan, he said. Further adding that mountains of Pakistan were incomparable in the world and could help generate huge revenue from tourism. The mountainous area of Switzerland was half in size of the northern areas of Pakistan, but it was generating revenue of $60-70 billion from tourism. Switzerland had the best tunnel technology, which made their mountainous areas very accessible, he continued.

The Prime Minister said that the proposed Kalabagh dam was at a good site, but people of Sindh would have to be convinced about the project, otherwise, anti-Pakistan forces would instigate them on the water issue. “We have to scientifically explain to the people of Sindh that the Kalabagh dam will be beneficial for them. We are a federation, and we should try to take provinces with us.” He appreciated Chairman Wapda, Lt. General (R) Muzammil Hussain, for his dedication to the construction of water reservoirs.

Chairman WAPDA, Muzammil Hussain, in his remarks, said the construction of dams is aimed at food security and human security. He said work on the dams is being carried out with speed and accuracy.

Faiz Paracha is a seasoned broadcast journalist with over 15 years’ experience in reporting and e...