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Kalabagh Dam ‘critical’ in fight against water scarcity: WAPDA chairman

ISLAMABAD: Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Muzamil Hussain on Monday briefed a Senate body on the looming water crisis in the country, saying that the construction of the Kalabagh Dam was critical in the face of severe scarcity of water in the country.

He made these observations as he briefed the ‘Senate Forum for Policy Research’ on the country’s water crisis, highlighting the need for the urgent development of water reservoirs. Currently, Pakistan is facing a severe water scarcity and the country’s name has appeared at the fourth spot on the list of the world’s 15 ‘most water- scarce nations’.

The chairman said that the Kalabagh Dam will have the capacity to hold 6.1 million acre-feet (maf) of water and generate 3,600 megawatts (MW) of electricity and added that if the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam was not started by 2018, the water crisis may worsen.

“Punjab is willing to make necessary sacrifices for the Kalabagh Dam,” said Mohammad Anwar Bhinder, a former lawmaker. “To consider the Kalabagh Dam project as ‘anti-Pakistan’ is incorrect. It will benefit the whole country,” he added referring to the long-running political disputes over its construction.

Awami National Party leader Afrasiab Khattak, however, asked that no further discussion should take place on the ‘controversial’ project as it had been ‘rejected’ by three provinces. He said that each WAPDA chairman had spoken about the dam, and regretted that such discussions were still taking place.

The forum, agreeing on the necessity to address the looming water crisis, decided to send a list of suggestions regarding the matter to Senate. “For 20 years, various water projects have been under discussion but nothing has been materialised,” the forum said.

Source: The Pakistan Today

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