ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Lt Gen (R) Muzammil Hussain on Wednesday visited Mangla Watershed Management Project to review progress on various measures being taken under the project .

On the occasion, the Wapda chairman said that watershed management plays a pivotal role to increase life of water reservoirs by controlling soil erosion and reducing sediment rate flowing to the reservoir, said a press release. Therefore, implementation of the measures under watershed management is also important like that of constructing dams for water storage. He directed the officials concerned to remain focused on achieving the targets, which have been set for them.

The chairman was briefed that Wapda has been implementing Mangla Watershed Management Programme since 1960 in reservoir’s catchment area, covering 5,710 square miles in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Pakistan to control soil erosion and reduce sediment rate. Some of the measures taken under the project from 1966 to 2017 include raising of about 130 million plants in its nurseries, afforestation on 1,66,653 acre catchment area of Mangla reservoir, and construction of 3,746 engineering structures in addition to constructing numerous soil conservation structures. The Mangla Dam Raising Project director and Mangla Watershed Management Project director were also present.

It is pertinent to mention that the consultants of Mangla Dam in their design of the project way back in 1960, had envisaged life of the Mangla reservoir from 100 to 115 years with an estimated sediment load at the rate of 42,000 acre feet per annum.

However, due to effective measures taken under the Watershed Management Project , the assessed rate of sediment load has reduced to 27,747 acre feet annually. Effective watershed techniques and completion of Mangla Dam Raising Project have increased the life of Mangla reservoir from 115 to 269 years. The volume of benefits because of the Mangla’s enhanced life could be better assessed with the fact that the benefits equivalent to billion of rupees are accrued every year from Mangla Dam.