ISLAMABAD: In order to meet the shortfall of potable water in the federal capital, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has joined hands with the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to build a new dam upstream of Khanpur Dam.

The construction work to build ‘Dotara Dam’ – 122 metres high and 350 metres long – will likely kick off after a pre-feasibility study and the cost for this preliminary study would be borne by the civic agency since Islamabad is the sole beneficiary of this project. Sources said that around Rs20 million is required for the initial feasibility study.

A meeting of the Wapda and CDA officials was given a presentation about the proposed project, wherein they were informed that the dam would have the capacity to store 0.1 million MAF (million-acre feet) of water. It will able to supply 72 million-gallon per day(MGD) and would also generate 10MW of hydropower.

According to the presentation given at the meeting, the CDA communicated to Wapda in March this year that the project would be ideal for overcoming the shortage in Islamabad and that “fetching water through gravity would be the most unique project” in the history of Islamabad.

Proposed Dotara Dam will be 122 metres high and 350 metres long

Wapda in its presentation stated, “[The] CDA may provide a commitment for financing the project studies so that updated PC-II performa could be submitted to the Ministry of Water Resources.”

The meeting was told that the 43pc catchment area of Khanpur Dam falls in the alignment of this project while it will have 57pc of its own catchment area.

“In today’s meeting, we decided that a preliminary study should be conducted of the Dotara project,” the CDA chief told Dawn on Thursday. He said that CDA would bear the cost of the preliminary study as Islamabad is the sole beneficiary of this project.

“Though Wapda is optimistic about the viability of this dam project, we have decided to undertake a preliminary study first,” he said. It is relevant to note here that a couple of years ago, the CDA had decided to construct two small dams – Chiniot and Shahdara dams in the catchment area of Simly Dam – with a proposed 26 million gallons daily (MGD) of water supply to Islamabad. However, no serious step was taken to start the construction.

Islamabad is a water-scarce city; no serious steps during the last two decades were taken to explore alternative water sources. Currently, the CDA is supplying around 70MGD from three sources – Simly Dam, Khanpur Dam and tube wells against the need for about 220MGD.

Sources said that there is a need for small dams in the catchment areas of Simly, Khanpur and Rawal dams as well to store rainwater. The authorities have to open spillways of these dams to discharge water in every monsoon season.

On the other hand, the civic body has also been discussing a mega Ghazi Barotha project, which is designed to provide 100MGD each to Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The project subject to the provision of Rs100 billion in funding will be completed in five years.

However, it has not moved past the feasibility studies. In recent years, in the PSDP budget, the government also earmarked token funding for this project.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2023

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