PESHAWAR - The recently-constructed irrigation canals of the US-funded Gomal Zam Dam Command Area Development Project were inaugurated in Dera Ismail Khan, said a press release issued on Friday.

The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) signed an agreement with the Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in March 2015 to provide $22.22 million funding for the Gomal Zam Dam Command Area Development project.

“These canals will create opportunities for large-scale employment,” said Usaid Mission Director John Groarke. “The availability of water in the region will catalyse the integrated development of the command area. Farmers will also be trained on farm water management, productivity enhancement, value addition, processing, and effective marketing,” he said.

The first phase of this activity started in 2015 and consisted of baseline and feasibility assessments, preparation of a master plan for the development of the command area, formation of water user associations and training of farmers to improve agricultural productivity, and the processing and marketing of crops, fruits, vegetables and livestock.

The second phase of the project consists of construction activities, including 393 concrete lined irrigation canals in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan Districts, land levelling, construction of water storage ponds, and the introduction of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.

Approximately, 30,000 families are expected to directly benefit from this activity. The project will be completed in September 2018.