Islamabad - The Planning Commission has asked Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) to review the rates for water supply of Rs140 per month for a potentially posh area, from the proposed Reverse Osmosis Sea Water Plant at Gwadar to make the project sustainable.

The economic section of the Planning Commission asked the Gwadar Development Authority, —- the sponsor of the project to provide the expected income and tariff rates to be charges from all the project beneficiaries including commercial units and others to meet annual operations and maintenance (O&M) cost of the project after completion, said the working paper of the project.

The annual O&M cost for five years after completion of the project is estimated at Rs4,399.42 million or about Rs880 million per annum.

The technical appraisal section of the commission proposed the five million gallons of water per day (5MGD) Reverse Osmosis Sea Water Plant should be co-financed through industrial units and provincial government and the water tariffs may also be reviewed to ensure the sustainability of the project, said the working paper of the project presented to the planning ministry.

In the feasibility study it has been said that water from the proposed plant will be served to the industrial zone of Gwadar, which is most likely is the elite class. A tariff of Rs140 per month has been proposed for the elite class, while the rates for low-income group is Rs35 per month.  The Rs140 a month proposed charges from the elite class of Gwadar city is unsustainable; official of the ministry said.

Initial cost of the project has been estimated at Rs5.1 billion, and Rs4,564 million or 90 per cent of the financing is coming from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) umbrella projects, while the share of the government of Pakistan is 10 per cent or Rs507.14 million.

The Reverse Osmosis Sea Water Plant will have a capacity to supply five MGD water to the Gwadar city.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has already cleared the scheme to enable the implementation agency to arrange finances for the Reverse Osmosis Sea Water Plant.

Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology where sea water will be pumped by means of submersible intake pumps to raw water storage tank located near the Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant.

The project comprises reverse osmosis with the components including, pre-treatment, RO membrane, post-treatment, power generation and transmission line.

The city’s total water requirement has been estimated to reach 14 million gallons per day by 2020.

At present, two million gallons are being supplied from the Ankara Kaur Dam, two million gallons from the Balochistan Development Authority’s desalination plant, five MGD is planned to be drawn from Swad Dam and Shadi Kaur Dam and 5MGD will be provided from the proposed RO plant.

The Planning Commission further observed that Modern Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant at an average needed 6KV hours of electricity to desalinate one cubic meter of water and the challenge for these plants is to find the ways for reduce energy consumption.

Pakistan is already an energy deficient country therefore the sponsor should consider cost effective and sustainable alternative solution for the purpose, the Planning Commission observed.