ISLAMABAD: Finally, the Chirrah Dam project caught the attention of National Assembly Standing Committee on Water Resources on Thursday, which directed the Small Dam Organization (SDO) and Punjab Government to complete the survey and prepare revised PC-I of the project.

The dam will supply water to twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The proposed Dam is supposed to be built in Chirrah area of Islamabad with shared funding by SDO and the Capital Development Authority (CDA). The SDO is the executing agency of the project.

The standing committee, which met here on Thursday with its Chairman Nawab Mohammad Yousuf Talpur in the chair, besides other agenda items, got briefing on the said proposed dam project.

Dam will supply water to Rawalpindi, Islamabad

During the meeting, the officials of SDO informed the committee that the consultant of the project and survey teams needed security cover for carrying out survey, as local landlords were resisting the construction of the dam.

To this, the committee directed the interior ministry to provide security cover to consultant and SDO teams for doing survey.

The committee was told by SDO officials that after survey, a revised PC-I will be finalised by December. The committee directed the Punjab government and the SDO to complete both the tasks by December.

CDA officials were also present in the meeting, however, being executing agency, the officials of Punjab government briefed the committee about the said project.

The project was approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) in 2009, but the construction work was yet to be started.

The dam was supposed to be built on Soan River near Chirrah village with a capacity to supply the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad 15 million gallon daily (mgd) water. However, work on the project worth Rs5.3 billion could not be started which otherwise was supposed to be ready in 2103, according to its PC-I.

Officials of CDA said that keeping in view the inflation rate the cost of the project has increased manifold.

The CDA officials said the Punjab government was supposed to execute the project while its cost was to be shared both by the provincial government and the civic agency.

They said a few years ago that the CDA had paid Rs851 million to the SDO of Punjab for the project but the provincial government failed to start the work. It is relevant to note here both Islamabad and Rawalpindi are water scarcity hit cities.

In Islamabad CDA has been supplying around 65mgd to urban areas while total need of the both urban and rural area is more than 220mgd.

During the last almost three decades, no new dam has been built to overcome shortage of water in Islamabad which has only three major sources - Simly Dam, Khanpur Dam and tubewells.

However, last year the CDA got its old supply of two mgd water restored from Rawal Dam, which has been providing water to residents of Rawalpindi.

On the other hand, the population of the Capital City has been witnessing rapid growth and official sources believe, if no step is taken for new water projects, Islamabad will face acute shortage of water in years to come.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

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