He was addressing the seminar on World Water Day with the theme of water co-operation organised by Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP) in collaboration with the Wapda to highlight significance of water resources and the challenges faced by the water sector in Pakistan.
Afzal said that water resources could also be utilised to add low-cost hydel electricity to the system. He also said that Wapda is working on more than 20 projects in water sector with cumulative water storage capacity of about 13 million acre feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of more than 21,000 mega watt (MW). Completion of these projects will not only increase water storage capacity to help improve per-capita water availability in the country but also enhance the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity in the National Grid.
Dilating upon the details of Wapda projects, the Member (Water) said that Wapda had completed six water sector projects from last year onwards adding 4.13 MAF of water and 323 MW hydel electricity. These projects included Mangla Dam Raising, Khan Khwar, Jinnah, Allai Khwar, Gomal Zam and Satpara Dam. Amongst rest of the projects, Neelum Jhelum, Golen Gol, Keyal Khwar, Tarbela 4th Extension, Diamer Basha, Dasu, Mohmand Dam and Bunji Hydropower Project are to name a few, he added.
For optimum utilisation of the water resources, the Member (Water) said, Wapda is also constructing small and medium-sized dams in all the four provinces and Fata in addition to its mega projects. He apprised that Darawat Dam has recently been completed, while construction work has also been initiated on Nai Gaj, Naulong and Ghabir Dam projects. He also underlined the importance of better management of water resources, efficient irrigation system and high efficiency irrigation techniques such as drip and sprinkler by the agriculture sector to make maximum benefit of the precious water resources. He also spoke of the new initiatives of Wapda including treatment of saline water to be used for agriculture sector.
Speaking on the occasion President IEEEP Engineer Tahir Bashaarat Cheema stressed on the need of managing the water resources professionally, up gradation of engineering management skills, adoption of conservation as necessity and introduction of new technologies ensuring efficiency standards. Cheema said that God has blessed Pakistan with sufficient water resources to meet its present and the foreseeable future demands. He said that total receipts of water in Pakistan ranges from 128 to 185 cubic/ km year.
According to him water resources in Pakistan can be divided in three hydrological units which includes Kara desert in the west of Balochistan which is an endoreic basin covering 14 percent of the territory, the arid Makran coast along with the Arabian sea covering 15 percent of the territory and the Indus basin covering more than 559,000 sq.km or 72 percent of the country. He said that water can be utilised through dams, barrages, through repairing of under ground aquifers and through waste water treatment.