LAHORE - Pakistan can store only 10 percent of its annual water flows, sufficient for use of 30 days only. The per capita water availability in the country has gone down to 908 cubic meter in 2017 from 5,260 cubic meter in 1951, rapid increase in population being the major contributing factor behind the phenomenon.

These views were expressed during a briefing about water sector to a delegation of National Security Workshop, National Defence University (NDU), who visited Wapda House to have briefings on the water and power sectors of Pakistan. The delegation headed by NDU Chief Instructor Rear Admiral Zain Zulfiqar, comprised of senators, members of the national assembly, members of the provincial assemblies, senior bureaucrats, technocrats, ambassador, senior military officers and representatives of civil society.

WAPDA Member (Power) Arshad Chaudhry, Member (Water) Syed Riaz Ali Shah, Secretary (WAPDA) Amer Ahmad and other senior officers of Wapda were also present on the occasion. WAPDA Adviser (Daimer Basha Dam) Dr Izharul Haq and Pepco General Manager (Revenue and Commercial Operation) Engineer Muhammad Saleem briefed the delegation about water and power sectors, respectively.

It was informed that about 29 million acre feet (MAF) of water escapes below Kotri Barrage every year on the average. The delegation was briefed that the country needs to construct more dams to enhance its water storage capacity to cope with the water requirements. As many as 20 million acres of additional land can be brought under irrigated agriculture if water is made available by constructing more dams.

The delegation was further briefed that Wapda is constructing six hydropower projects with cumulative generation capacity of about 4,800MW, of which, three projects with generation capacity of about 2,500MW will be completed from early 2018 to mid 2018 in a phased manner. These include Golen Gol, Neelum Jhelum and Tarbela 4th Extension hydropower projects. Another seven projects with gross water storage capacity of more than 10 MAF and power generation capacity of more than 16,000MW are ready for construction including Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Dasu Stage II, Tarbela 5th Extension and Bunji.

In another briefing on power sector, the delegation was informed about power sector reforms, existing power generation capabilities, generation mix, consumption patterns, line losses, receivables and circular debt. The delegation was also apprised of the government’s efforts to improve the situation and overcome the electricity shortages in the country. The delegation was informed of the load forecast, generation additions and long term transmission expansion plan to evacuate electricity from the power houses to the distribution companies.