The recent catastrophic floods have severely damaged two canals of the Munda headworks on the Swat River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), which has reportedly forced their closure for three years.
As per a report by The News, officials from KP’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Department disclosed that shutting down the canals will deprive 160,000 acres of land of irrigation for three years and will impact those who rely on agriculture.
They detailed that the three bays of the headworks have been swept away by the floods after the self-destructive weir (a barrier to raise the water level) at the left bank did not breach itself, which resulted in increased floodwater pressure on the structure.
Meanwhile, official documents from the irrigation department also confirmed that the self-destructing weir had been malfunctioning and all the floodwaters were channeled to the barrage. Furthermore, three of the barrage’s eight bays were completely demolished, including the bridge deck, piers, and hoists, besides damage to the hoisting systems of Bay 3 and Bay 7.
Meanwhile, a detailed damage assessment is also underway.
It is pertinent to mention that the Doaba canal headworks and head reach of the Doaba canal are non-operational due to the flood damages, while the Lower Swat canal headworks and the main canal’s head reach are partially functioning.
Note that the self-destructing weir was designed to breach itself during massive scale floods and direct the water into the Swat River to save the headworks’ structure. Both the Lower Swat canal and the Doaba canal irrigate 125,000 and 35,000 acres of land respectively, and if both remain inoperable for three years, a total of 160,000 acres of land will be affected.