Pakistan Needs More Water Conservancy Facilities to Control Floods

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (APP): Pakistan needs to set up an early warning system and build more water conservancy facilities in high risk areas to control floods which recently damaged country’s exports and endangered people’s lives.

“I think we need to start from two aspects. The first is to set up an early warning system. The second is to build more water conservancy facilities in areas at high risk of flooding”, Prof Zhou Rong, senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China said on Monday.

Pakistan needs to do computations of river flow data, and computes water flows into the Indus River as well as its branches, the absorptive capacity of the terrain, the spread of vegetation, the solar energy signature over the entire Indus basin and more. If there is a system to ingest the data and process it, that will be best, he said in his article published by China Economic Net (CEN).

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He said that there should be a special system in Pakistan which would tell you how much rain to expect and where, how much accumulation of water will occur in what region and what river flow will be at each hydrological station every day. Such a system should timely alert the departments involved in Pakistan. Pakistan would be able to overcome the floods on self-reliance without asking for much international assistance.

That is to say, Pakistan needs to predict rainfall very accurately, even when it is dealing with anomalous storm patterns. But in order to predict stream flows at precise locations, it needs river flow data from each of the hydrological structures on the Indus river system. Therefore, Pakistan has to develop a special organisation or instrument to download daily reports from the Pakistan Meteorological Department website which contains enough information.

Prof. Rong said if Pakistan’s special departments concerned can tell the likelihood of the occurrence of a flood, its location, intensity and effects on each individual river of the Indus river system, that will be best for everybody. With advance warning, embankments can be strengthened, reservoirs and dams can be emptied out, barrages can be reinforced.

Breaching priorities for embankments that lie along the path of the flood can be drawn up in time and residents can be alerted so that perishables and livestock can be moved to higher ground.

Pakistan is blessed with a highly developed river management system which can be effectively used to mitigate the full impact of a flood. With advance warning, water infrastructures could have been emptied out much sooner, making it possible to absorb the flood waters surging down the river. With no additional water flowing, the peak flood could have been relatively better managed.

Pakistan’s water managers frequently ask for more infrastructures–dams and barrages–as a flood control measure. But they should operate infrastructures well, given the current state of flood forecasting in Pakistan. Without advance warning of a major flood event, along with attendant stream flow forecasts, hydrological infrastructure will only be a silent spectator to any flood. So, Pakistan should learn more from China’s experiences on effectively fighting floods.

Terming announcement for construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam project a good news for Pakistan, he said, recently, the government signed a contract of Rs442 billion with China Power for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam. The Chinese firm is executing the project in a joint venture with Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).

The Chinese state-run firm holds 70 per cent and the FWO, a commercial arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces, has 30 per cent share in the consortium. The contract covers construction of a diversion system, main dam, access bridge and the 21MW Tangir Hydropower Project. The Diamer-Bhasha Dam would be completed to cope with the increasing water and electricity requirements of Pakistan. The dam project with a total financial outlay of about Rs1,406.5 billion would be completed in 2028.

The total financial outlay includes land acquisition and resettlement, confidence building measures for social uplift of the local people, construction of dam and power houses.

The project would have a gross storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of 4500 megawatt (MW), with annual generation of 18.1 billion units per annum. However, the electromechanical and power generation project would be taken up separately at a later stage.

The dam will provide cheap energy for the country’s industrial development besides irrigating 1.23 million acres of barren land mostly in Sindh province. The irrigation would also help the country develop its food needs and also export vegetables and food resources while it would also deter floods of which may be most important and meaningful.

The eight MAF reservoirs with 272-metre height would be the tallest roller compact concrete (RCC) dam in the world. We are told from a news report that it would have a spillway, 14 gates and five outlets for flushing out silt. The diversion system would involve two tunnels and a diversion canal—all three having 1 km length each.

The bridge would be constructed downstream of the dam structure while the 21MW power plant would be built to meet energy requirements of the project during construction. These dams have to be designed to withstand earthquakes. All the world’s accepted standards have been applied to the design of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

“As I just said, the water conservancy infrastructure of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has not yet achieved full coverage, but we expect that more and more dams and reservoirs design and construction should be combined with Pakistan’s flood prevention and rainstorm loss reduction”, he concluded.

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