Addressing a high-level working group, the Secretary Irrigation Punjab has asked the water experts to submit their recommendations for the Punjab Growth Strategy.

The participants presented their individual views for the improvement of the irrigation sector. Among other things they focused on the construction of mega reservoirs on main rivers. They did not mention Kalabagh dam by name but it must have been in their mind.

We have to catch the bull by the horns, the three assemblies which have passed resolutions against Kalabagh dam. First of all find out what their objections are and then try and counter them with facts and figures.

For example, the main objection of Sindh is likely to be that dams have depleted the Indus river and dried up the Indus delta, allowing for sea incursion, although the record in the Sindh irrigation department will show that the two dams actually increased supply to Sindh, why water is still not reaching the delta is because the withdrawal in the14 canals of Sindh has increased to meet the increased demand of a population which has increased from 8 to 19 crore since Tarbela dam was commissioned 40 years ago.

There is not enough space here to go into details, but this is generally the approach that I am advocating. It is only when the political leadership of PPP and K-P is brought on board that there can be any hope for Kalabagh dam, without which we are headed for the mother of all water crisis as surely as I write this


Lahore, February 16.