Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kalabagh Dam: When would be the consensus reached?

The monsoon and the floods are here yet again. Beside the devastation these would cause, a large amount of water - millions in cusecs, would be wasted away in to the salty Arabian Sea and lost forever. Pakistan is one of the few acutely water starved countries as it does not have even the bare minimum number of water storage reservoirs to conserve the rain water of Monsoons for later use for agriculture and power generation. As per an estimate, once built, the Kalabagh Dam can generate 3,600 megawatts (4,800,000 hp) of electricity - which can address the nuisance of daily 12-18 hours load shedding in the country.

Despite the yearly loss of millions of cusecs of rain water, which brings along with it natural manure to nourish our cultivable lands, we have yet not achieved that 'consensus' we have been listening by successive governments on the Kalabagh Dam. The ANP is hellbent not to allow its construction for it would endanger Nowshehra.

When Mangla Dam was built, the entire Mirpur city was submerged for the sake of future of Pakistan. Now we stand at crossroads since decades with no one willing to give way to the other.

It is time now that what ever reservations of the ANP are about the design of Kalabagh, these should be addressed through a board of competent dam builders (may be from around the world) and even if some modifications are to be made - these should be made now and save the water going down the drain. Even if the redesigning means 50% of designed storage capacity to be achieved, it should be done to save at least half of the water going waste and in the process produce cheap electricity too. 

The problem of royalties can also be settled by having all stakeholders on board for the larger interest of the country rather than one province. The bigger provinces should give in their rights to smaller provinces and help the country from starving.

I have not gone into many technical details as these can only be relevant if everyone is willing to solve a problem rather than beating about the bush and shutting the doors shut for any sane discussion and via media. 

Let the sanity prevail and we rise above the caste and creed and become Pakistanis!!

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