Enhancing water storage urgent national need

Lahore: In addition to enhancing water storage capacity in Pakistan, the culture of water conservation through its prudent use in all walks of life will have to be adopted to avoid water scarcity in the country.

These views were expressed by the Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Mohammad Asif while addressing a seminar here at WAPDA House today. The seminar was organised by WAPDA with the theme “Water is life, conserve it” in connection with the World Water Day.

Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister said that Pakistan has been blessed with abundant water resources, however, we do not care while using it, as extravagant use of our resources has become our habit. The Minister further said that management recovery cost of our irrigation system stands at 20 percent only, while rest of the expenditures to run the system have to bear by the Government. The quantum of water, pumped through the tube-well that costs three thousand rupees, is provided to the farmers by the Government for just eighty five rupees with the help of irrigation system. Since there is no incentive, there is no saving of water and we will continue wasting it carelessly. Water conservation is not the sole duty of the Government, but is a collective responsibility of the society. There is no dearth of water resources in the country. These are sufficient to meet not only the existing but also the future requirements if used judiciously, he added.

The Federal Minister said that as much as 30 million acre feet of water flows downstream of Kotri Barrage per annum on the average. He further said that the provinces have consumed 11 to 33 percent less water of their shares since 1993 as per record of the IRSA. The Minister emphasized that there should be a national plan for use of water and its conservation including lining of canals. He lauded the efforts made by WAPDA for creating awareness about water conservation by holding essay-writing and poster-making competitions among the students across the country.

Earlier WAPDA Chairman, addressing the seminar, highlighted the importance of water and emphasized upon its conservation. He said that WAPDA will vigorously pursue the aim of creating awareness for water conservation as part of its corporate social responsibility. WAPDA will not only hold competitions among youth on regular basis but also engage young generation to serve as its ambassadors to disseminate the WAPDA’s message for water conservation in their areas of influence effectively. He said that per capita water availability in the country has decreased by 80 percent since 1951 due to rapid growth in population and depleting water storage capacity of the reservoirs because of sedimentation. He further said that the country has to face lot of problems if the required steps are not taken for water conservation.

The Chairman said that WAPDA has completed a number of water storage projects namely Raised Mangla, Mirani, Sabakzai, Satpara, Gomal Zam and Darawat dams, while construction work on Nai Gaj Dam is in progress. He apprised the audience that the bid for construction of Kurram Tangi Dam has been opened, whereas detailed engineering design of multi-purpose Mohmand Dam is in process. The Chairman said that WAPDA and the Ministry of Water and Power are working on an innovative plan to arrange finances for construction of Diamer Basha Dam Project and the proposal will soon be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval.

Eminent experts of water sector also presented their papers on water conservation in the seminar.

Later, WAPDA Chairman gave away cash prizes, trophies and certificates to the position holders of the essay-writing and poster-making competitions. He also announced to appoint them as WAPDA ambassador for water conservation.

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