ISLAMABAD - US Ambassador Richard Olson Thursday joined Federal Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif and Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Shah to laud the completion of the Gomal Zam dam project. The dam will boost the region’s electricity supply, irrigate farmlands, and protect the South Waziristan area from seasonal flooding.

“The completion of the Gomal Zam dam hydropower station and the installation of a new transmission line are significant achievements,” said Ambassador Olson during the visit. “In partnership with Pakistan, we are working to boost power generation capacity and to ensure long-term self-sufficiency of the power sector.”  

The US government contributed a total of $97 million via the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) to complete the Gomal Zam dam multipurpose project. Located in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, this dam supplies electricity to more than 270,000 people, prevents life-threatening flash floods, and creates water storage for households and farmers in the area. Gomal Zam now stores over 140,000 hectare-meters of water, which will help to prevent seasonal flooding in areas of D.I. Khan and Tank that have been prone to flash floods. The dam will also supply irrigation water for around 77,000 hectares of farmland, which will create job opportunities and increase the incomes of an estimated 30,000 farming families in the region.

Federal Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif added, “We value the support of the US government and the American people. We look forward to continued cooperation in the future.”

In total, the US government has worked with the Government of Pakistan to irrigate almost 243,000 hectares of land throughout Pakistan since October 2009. Also, with the energy provided by Gomal Zam dam, the United States has supported projects that since 2009 have added 1000 megawatts to Pakistan’s electrical grid - enough to provide electricity to more than 16 million people.