Kalabagh Dam: consulting technocrats

Published Dec 29, 2012 12:49am

A TEAM of technical people drawn from all the provinces should see to the objections being raised against building the Kalabagh Dam (KBD) and satisfy the opposing parties.

If the KBD brings prosperity to the country, all the provinces would get equal benefits like we had from Mangla and Tarbela dams.

Sindh was able to cultivate 2.7 million additional acres because of the Tarbela Dam. The Sindh irrigation department of the pre-Mangla Dam (before 1967) and the post-Tarbela Dam (after 1977) tells the complete story.

The signing of the Water Apportionment Accord by all the four provinces in 1991 was a historical landmark on the issue of KBD.

In this accord many concessions were given to Sindh to remove its reservations. The river water distribution was taken away from Wapda and entrusted to Irsa, a federal body, with the representation from each province.

As an incentive, Sindh’s share in all future dams was increased by reducing Punjab’s share and both had 37 per cent each share of water despite the vast difference in population and the area under cultivation.

It may be known that Punjab carries about 80 per cent of the total agriculture burden of the country. This water accord was entered into specifically to develop consensus on KBD.

The misapprehensions of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa leaders have no solid reasons and these have already been sorted out by technical committees.

The time factor is most crucial for Pakistan. The alternative Bhasha Dam would take over 15 years to build and then it has many demerits vis-a-vis the Kalabagh Dam which would take just about five years as all its preliminaries have been completed.

I would request the opposing leaders of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain of the PML (Q), to give it second thoughts and consult their technical people and give consent for its construction lest the nation suffers for their stance.

M. AZHAR KHWAJA Lahore

Aquifers

THIS refers to Hassan Abbas’s article ‘Kalabagh: the other view’ (Dec 16) in which he has advocated the use of aquifers as an alternative to the Kalabagh Dam, suggesting to refill the aquifers under the city of Lahore and other places.

He says, “If only we refill the depleted aquifers under the city of Lahore, we can store more water than the Tarbela reservoir -- that too with the least social and environmental impact. Rachna, Thal and Bari Doabs all offer excellent aquifers which could be exploited for storage offering a potential storage capacity hundreds of times more than that of Tarbela, Mangla and Kalabagh combined. Although refilling an aquifer would be expensive, it would be much cheaper than building a large dam.”

Can he please explain how this water will be brought back into the system of rivers and canals for use in agriculture etc?

ARSHAD MAHBOOB Karachi


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