Wazirabad - The new Khanki Barrage project would be completed by the end of the current fiscal year 2016-17, which would ensure the safe passage of floods ranging from 800,000 cusecs to 1,100,000 cusecs through the barrage after enhancement of its design capacity.

The project is part of the second tranche of the Asian Development Bank (ADB’s) $700 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Investment Programme. The ADB is providing 83 percent of the funding ($247 million) for the upgradation of the Khanki Barrage, while the Punjab government is providing the remaining 17 percent.

"The project will be completed well on time, as around 87 percent work has been completed since 2013," said Muhammad Azam, team leader of the New Khanki Barrage Project while talking to a group of journalists during their visit to the project site. The ADB had arranged the media trip to the site.

The officials said that the project would ensure sustainable irrigation of 3.03 million acres of fertile land in eight districts of Punjab - Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahid, Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot and Toba Tek Singh. They said that the project would directly benefit about 568,000 farming families and reduce flooding risks from “once in 50 years to once in 100 years”.

The new barrage, under construction at Chenab River 900-feet downstream of existing Headworks, will replace the old Khanki headworks. This will save the canal network of 2925 channels (4680 km) and will divert 11,653 cusecs of sustainable irrigation supplies to the downstream lower Chenab Canal.

Azam told the media persons that the barrage would have two abutments, 62 piers and a new head regulator, one road bridge and two divider wall along with fish ladders for fish migration. The guide banks would be constructed by approximately 2,000 metres on right and 1,200 meters on left and four sloping studs would be constructed to the left of the barrage to protect the river banks from erosion.

Project Deputy Director Shahid Salim Chaudhry said that the old Khanki headworks was constructed in 1892 and had 800,000 cusecs safe flood capacity, adding that it was being dismantled gradually. The project will replace the 125-year old Khanki Headworks. Approximately, 35 kilometres of existing approach roads will also be upgraded.

According to the ADB, the new barrage will divert up to 425 ms3ec-1 (15,000 ft3sec-1) against the design capacity of 328 m3sec-1 (11,653 ft3sec-1) of irrigation supplies to 1.2 million with no risks of failure, increase safe flood capacity from 22,654 m3sec-1 (800,000 ft3sec-1) to 31,149 m3sec-1 (1,100,000 ft3sec-1) and eliminate the annual water leakages of 370 million cubic meters. An additional discharge of 95 m3sec-1 (3347 ft3sec-1) over original design capacity will be available during flood season of 90 days and will contribute improved irrigation intensity and crop production. The irrigation distribution system has already been remodelled for these additional flows.