ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Monday approved in principle the financing plan of Diamer Bhasha Dam on self-reliance basis.

The innovative plan presented by the Secretary Water and Power, proposes funding of the project's dam portion from the allocations of Public Sector Development Programme's (PSDP) and the generated resources from Water and Power Development Authority's (WAPDA).

Rest of the financing for the power generation portion will be arranged on commercial basis by the Ministry, either through WAPDA or through leasing its existing projects.

The Prime Minister asked Secretary Water and Power, Secretary Planning and Secretary Finance to expedite completion of financial proposal.

He also directed the Secretary Water and Power to start the preparations so that the physical work on the dam be started before the end of 2017. 

The Prime Minister also appreciated the fact that the land acquisition for the Dam has been completed with the efforts of the Ministry and the Gilgit Baltistan administration.

The Diamer Bhasha Dam was approved for construction by Council of Common Interests in 2009.

The efforts to finance it through multilateral donors have been taking a longer time and Pakistan needs to enhance its storage capacity urgently to meet the challenge of becoming a water scarce country.

The storage capacity in the existing dams is fast depleting due to silting and the country losing on its agricultural production after every few years due to a dry season, needs to overcome by constructing more storages.

Diamer Basha Dam will provide 8.1 MAF of gross storage, of which 6.4 MAF will be the live storage with a capacity to produce 4500 MWs of inexpensive and clean energy.