PM okays Indus river barrage to mitigate water woes

Updated August 08, 2019

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The project located about 45km upstream of Indus' outfall into sea. — Dawn/File
The project located about 45km upstream of Indus' outfall into sea. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan has formally accorded approval to Wapda to develop a water reservoir by constructing a barrage on the river Indus so as to address the long-standing water-related issues in Sindh (areas downstream Kotri Barrage and cosmopolitan city of Karachi).

The project located about 45km upstream of River’s outfall into sea, 65km south of Thatha and 130km east of Karachi city, has been named “Sindh Barrage” that is being dubbed a phenomenal mega scheme to address almost all water issues in downstream Kotri Barrage starting from sea intrusion to land erosion in delta, from adverse impact of climate change to loss of wetland habitats, mangroves and marine life, and from non-availability of freshwater for both irrigation and domestic use to mass exodus.

“It is really a unique project that will not only help the government finally end the water-related issues but also bring back the life in the area, which is no more due to sea intrusion, land erosion and migration of a huge population,” Wapda chairman retired Lt Gen Muzammil explained to Dawn on Wednesday.

“The PM, in a recent briefing, has also allowed us to start carrying out project’s feasibility study with immediate effect,” he added.

The Sindh Barrage Project was conceived and proposed by Wapda keeping in view the sea intrusion (Kotri due to non-availability or erratic / irregular availability of water, non-availability of freshwater for both irrigation and domestic use, exodus / migration of population, land erosion in delta and serious climate change impact and loss of wetland habitats, mangroves and marine life.

“Project objectives include water storage of 2.0 to 3.0 MAF to utilize 4.1 MAF of valuable resources, reduction in sea water intrusion and improvement in mangrove growth / marine life, irrigation water supply (5000 cusecs) to surrounding areas, improvement of ecology of Indus river downstream of Kotri, flood mitigation for surrounding 75,000 acres land and domestic water supply to Karachi and other towns (1000 MGD),” reads a presentation given to PM Khan by the Wapda chairman a couple of days ago.

It states that PC-II for feasibility study of the project would cost Rs350 million approximately.

The proposed project is scheduled to be completed in December 2024 by adopting a fast-track strategy. Wapda plans to commence the feasibility study next month followed by its vetting by international consultants by December 2020 and completion of detailed engineering design by December 2021.

Subsequently, construction of the project will start in January 2022 and complete in December 2024.

“We appreciate the PM for giving us a go-ahead to execute this important project that is aimed at resolving the long-standing water issues in Sindh,” the Wapda chairman said.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2019