THE unanimous resolution, passed by the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday, urging the federal government to start the process of evolving a consensus on the construction of Kalabagh Dam meets a dire need of the country. The nation is currently experiencing the most devastating flood in its history, and patriotic, sensitive minds should be eager to see the government devising ways and means to obviate, or at least lessen, the impact of another such catastrophe that might attend a future flood. It is plain commonsense that large reservoirs created at suitable sites would be able to accommodate, to the extent of their capacities, the water that flows into them after the rains or the seasonal melting of the snows on the mountains. Thus, the havoc, which the heavy water flow could cause downstream of the reservoir in case it did not exist, could either be completely avoided or its intensity reduced. But flood control is not the only function of a big dam. In fact, the flood water could be a blessing for the country; for it would help fill the dam to capacity. And once water is available, it could be made use of, in a regulated manner, to cater for industrial purposes, domestic uses, agricultural production and whatever else is the need of the hour. And all areas downstream of the dam would stand to benefit. In addition, the water from the reservoirs is invariably utilised to generate electricity that comes at a nominal cost, after an initial investment in installing turbines and other required equipment has been made. Kalabagh Dam would be able to absorb a river flow of up to 6.1 million acre feet that could be put to use as it suits the country. Initially, it would generate around 3,000 megawatts of power, but the capacity could be raised to 3,600MW, should more turbines be installed. What is not commonly appreciated is a singular trait of the site where Kalabagh Dam is to be located: that it is a site that would receive silt-free water, giving the reservoir an almost unending life, unlike other dams, which start silting right from the start and die when their water containing capacity ends. Also, Kalabagh is a natural site, easier to be built and at a much lesser cost than otherwise; its feasibility, in all respects, stands approved by local as well as foreign experts. Its designed capacity would make sure that the waters do not submerge any part of Nowshera, the objection its opponents in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa raise. The dam would meet the needs of Sindh in a measured manner, avoiding the flooding of vital regions that the unregulated flow does. In the light of the above, the criticism that the Punjab Assembly resolution has met from the ANP and nationalist parties in Sindh is misplaced, and a committee of experts could bring home to them Kalabaghs advantages. The central government must start a process of building a consensus, though one can argue that the previous dams did not need any consensus.