Kalabagh dam the only solution to water, energy crisis: APBF
LAHORE: The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Ibrahim Qureshi has urged the government to declare a water emergency, keeping in view of water storage in the country, adding due to that lack of appropriate steps to maintain the storage capacity, the country would face severe water crises within 10 years.
The APBF president said that the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) has constantly warning the government on water scarcity and urged that all the allocations of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) should be spent only on enhancing water storage capacity. He said that Pakistan has to develop mega and small dams to store water to avert the upcoming water crisis. He added that the shortage of water has not only caused undue damage to the agriculture sector but also the manufacturing sector.
He said, “We cannot waste more time and the government should pave a way for early construction of the Kalabagh dam (KBD), which is the only solution to the water and electricity shortage.” He emphasised that Pakistan’s economy is based on the agriculture sector and could not survive without sufficient water resources.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that KBD was the most suitable project for the national economy as it would not only produce cheap and sufficient electricity but would also avert the devastation caused by the floods. The KDB is a must to control the poverty and those who opposed its construction are playing with the country’s future, he added.
It is unfortunate that Pakistan has no water policy for the last 16 years, which could define the roles of different stakeholders including the federation and the provinces.
He said that with a 14%water shortage estimated for the Rabi season, the IRSA has asked the government to move towards building dams on urgent basis to avoid the loss of billions of rupees every year.
He said that wastage of one million acres feet (MAF) of water was estimated to cause an economic loss of Rs 60 billion as about 36 MAF water had gone into the sea last season, including 8.6 MAF, which was required to flow below the Kotri barrage for environmental reasons. This meant that over 27 MAF water had been wasted in just one season that was equivalent to the storage capacity of three big dams, he said.
Qureshi said that IRSA had been asking the government to take decisive initiatives towards building new dams and had written to the government to divert all development funds towards building new dams as a national emergency but the government is not serious in this regard.
He advised that the government should move swiftly to build Kalabagh and Bhasha dams simultaneously and construct Munda dam for long-term protection for the lives and properties in KPK’s Nowshera region. He said that these dams should have been built in the 80s and 90s but Pakistan failed to building even one of these over the last 3 decades.