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LAHORE, July 11: In addition to constructing a number of mega projects in water and hydropower sectors, Wapda is building small and medium-sized dams for the optimum utilization of water and land resources available in the country.

Wapda Chairman Shakil Durrani said this during his visit to the Darawat Dam Project being constructed across Nai Baran in Thatta and Jamshoro districts.

These small and medium-sized dams are being constructed on the directions of President Asif Ali Zardari in four provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for socio-economic uplift of people residing in far-flung areas.

The chairman said that such dams were vital for the prosperity of remote areas, which were solely dependent on local water resources and could not be irrigated through the Indus Basin Irrigation System.

He said he hoped that the Darawat Dam Project would usher in a new era of development by providing water for irrigating agriculture, mitigating floods, providing job opportunities and reducing poverty in the area.

Earlier, Mr Durrani visited various components of the project to observe the on-going construction work.

He expressed his satisfaction over the pace of work and directed the officers concerned to complete the project according to the schedule.

The chairman was briefed that the Darawat Dam Project was being completed at a cost of about Rs9.4 billion.

He was informed that the main dam of the project was likely to be completed by December this year while the completion of the irrigation system was scheduled in June 2013.

The concrete-faced rock-filled dam is 820-foot-long with 141 feet height, which would store about 120,000 acres feet of water to help irrigate 25,000 acres of land.

The project will create 4,500 employment opportunities during the construction, operation and its maintenance. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated more than Rs1 billion while the life of the water reservoir will be more than 100 years, it was further told.

The federal government has also announced providing up to 25 acres of land per person to the poor women belonging to the project area.

Wapda has undertaken Naulong and Nai Gaj dam projects under the small, medium dams’ scheme.

The general manager (projects) south, project director, director small and medium dams and representatives of consultants and contractors were also present during the visit.