The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan Tuesday signed an agreement to invest $73 million in rehabilitating Pakpattan Canal and Suleimanki Barrage in Punjab. “The rehabilitation of Pakpattan and its linked cannels, and installation of new gates at Suleimanki barrage will reduce water losses and will improve water delivery systems benefiting about 2.6 million people in four farming districts,” said Werner Liepach, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan.
“The Pakpattan Canal and Suleimanki Barrage Improvement Project is part of the phased up-grading of Punjab’s obsolete irrigation infrastructure and associated facilities. An efficient irrigation system is vital to maintain agricultural outputs and competitiveness, this project aims to rehabilitate nearly century old canals and barrage to ensure reliable water supply vital to boost incomes of farming families in the country’s breadbasket districts, he added.
The annual water leakages through damaged gates of the Suleimanki Barrage exceed 267 million cubic meters, and the Pakpattan Canal and its structures are also badly deteriorated resulting in disorder in regulating flows and high losses. In Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, irrigated farming accounts for 26 percent of its gross domestic product and employs over 40 percent of its labour force.