RAWALPINDI, June 20: The sub-committee of the Punjab cabinet on Wednesday revived hopes for construction of Daducha Dam when it recommended to the provincial government to go for the project to meet water shortage in the city.
Work on the dam had been initiated some 11 years back to provide 25 million gallon daily (MGD) water to the garrison city, although the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) had some reservation over the project.
The sub-committee met under the chairmanship of Senior Adviser to the Chief Minister Sardar Zulfiqar Ahmed Khosa to review the project which has been lying abandoned for the last more than six years.
The meeting was attended by Punjab Minister for Irrigation Malik Ahmad Ali Olakh, Adviser to the Chief Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar and senior officials of the irrigation department and the Small Dam Organisation.
The project was abandoned in 2005 when the DHA and Bahria Town acquired the land proposed for the dam around the Daducha village.
Officials said after the Supreme Court’s intervention in 2010, the provincial government held negotiations with the housing societies over the issue.
The Defence Housing Authority requested the provincial government to construct the dam three kilometres away from the original site otherwise it would disturb its housing project.
However, the sub-committee rejected the request of the housing authority and decided that the project would be launched at its original site. The officials said the city district government submitted the estimate of Rs7 billion for the purchase of land for the dam.
When contacted, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar, who attended the meeting at Lahore, admitted that the sub-committee had recommended to the provincial government to construct the dam at its proposed site and rejected DHA’s reservations and request.
Daducha Dam will be the second perennial surface water source for Rawalpindi after Rawal Dam, which was constructed in 1963 and has outlived its designed life.
At present, Rawal and Khanpur dams produce 16 MGD and 250 tubewells 22 MGD, totalling 38 MGD against 50 MGD water need of Rawalpindi. The water supply from Khanpur Dam fulfils the requirements of the cantonment areas and city’s nine union councils.
The sources said a water crisis was feared in the city if small dams were not built in three or four years. They said the city’s water demand would shoot up to 79 million gallon daily in the next 20 years while the underground water level was receding rapidly.
Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) and Small Dams Organisation (SDO) in 2001 proposed the building of Cherah and Daducha dams.
However, the Punjab government dropped the Daducha Dam project on the request of Defence Housing Authority (DHA).
The sources said Daducha Dam was more useful for the city and cantonment area as it was designed to supply 25 MGD for the next 50 years.