There is no other option but to Dam it!

Water is a key contributor to life on our planet. It is consumed by humans and animals alike and is equally important for both agriculture and industry based economies for underlying usage. So, how have we been planning and managing water in our county? As it turns out, Not so well!

We are sitting in the Indus river basin and dependent on this system for bulk of our fresh water supply. After the establishment of Indus water treaty (IWT), we are granted water from the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. There was impressive work done initially in collaboration with the World bank by setting a network of canals along with two major dams for hydroelectricity and storing of water.

However, that is sadly where our love affair with water met a premature and sudden end.

Tarbela was the last major dam that started its operations more than forty years ago. Since then, there isn’t any significant addition to our water storage capability. In the meanwhile, our existing reservoirs are ageing and underground water is fast depleting. The massive increase in our population has not helped either.

We have been going down from water stress to water scarcity levels and if this trend continues, then we may well face acute shortage or drought like conditions. We have only 30 days water storage capacity as compared to India’s 190 days and 900 days in case of US. As per reports, our per capita water has dropped from 5600 cubic meters in 1951 to 903 cubic meters.

We have only 30 days water storage capacity as compared to India\'s 190 days and 900 days in case of US.

Saba Waqas Freelance writer & contributor, Baaghi TV

The only way to avert the crisis evident from the numbers mentioned above is the construction of new dams. There are many benefits and I will mention a few below.

  • Around 60% of our population is directly involved in agriculture and livestock.

An extensive network of canals has been built for irrigating our farmlands. Large reservoirs of water are required to keep running this network around the year.

  • Availability of electricity is paramount to increase industrial footprint and fulfill needs of our growing population.

Large dams are needed to meet increasing demand of electricity at affordable cost.

Water availability varies greatly between monsoon and other parts of the year. Most of our plains are also under the risk of seasonal flood during monsoon.

  • Reportedly, 25-30 million acre of flood water is wasted due to lack of dams.

Building dams will facilitate flood water management and improve water regulation during low season.

  • Our existing dams are steadily getting filled with silt that is deposited owing to massive deforestation and narrow river passages up north.

A large dam upstream of Tarbela will not only help relieve pressure on it during floods, but also reduce silt etc to increase lifespan of this dam.

A large dam upstream of Tarbela will not only help relieve pressure on it during floods, but also reduce silt etc to increase lifespan of this dam.

Saba Waqas Freelance writer & contributor, Baaghi TV

Recently, government has announced starting work on larger dams with Diamer-Bhasha being the most prominent owing to its scale for water storage and electricity production. We need authorities to keep focus and ensure timely completion of work on these projects.

There is still a window of opportunity where we can act and safeguard our future. There is definitely no option left but to Dam it!

Modernity is not Modesty

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