$200m WB loan likely for construction of small dams in Sindh

Updated 21 Sep 2020

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The areas where the dams will be built are water-scarce regions.— AFP/File
The areas where the dams will be built are water-scarce regions.— AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank will give the Sindh government $200 million loan for construction of small rainwater-fed re­­charge dams to address drought and flash flooding risks in selected areas with a view to strengthening capacity to manage natural disasters.

Under the ‘Sindh Resili­ence’ project, the selection of sites for small dams will be based on the feasibility study which is currently under progress. These dams will be situated in Dadu, Thatta, Karachi, Jamshoro and Tharparkar districts.

The areas where the dams will be built are water-scarce regions. Some of the dams are planned in close proximity to each other. Under the project, emergency and rescue services will be operationalised at divisional headquarters in Karachi, Hyderabad, Suk­kur, Shaheed Benazir­abad, Mirpurkhas and Larkana.

Indus River is the main surface water source of the province. It has three major barrages in Sindh that divert approximately 48 million-acre feet (MAF) (or 59.0 billion cubic meters-BCM) of water annually to the 14 main canal commands in Sindh. More than 80 per cent of the irrigated land in Sindh is underlain with brackish water unfit for agriculture.

The shortage of irrigation water coupled with drought conditions in Sindh has increased the importance of groundwater exploitation wherever fresh water is available. Fresh groundwater is found mostly in a strip parallel to the left bank of Indus River and some pockets in other areas.

Sindh is predicted to be the most vulnerable “hotspot” in the country in terms of the impact of temperature and precipitation changes on living standards, with the four most vulnerable districts of Pakistan all lying in Sindh — Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana.

The province faces one of the most daunting climate challenges in the world.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2020