OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE - Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was implementing a number of projects in water and hydropower sectors. These projects, on completion, will not only help increase water storage capacity but also decrease electricity deficit in the country. These views were expressed by WAPDA Member (Water) Syed Raghib Abbas Shah while addressing a delegation of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Ware College, Karachi. The delegation, headed by PAF War College Commandant Air Vice Marshal Azher Hasan on Friday visited WAPDA House. WAPDA Secretary Imtiaz Tajwar and the senior officers concerned were also present on the occasion. Syed Raghib said that initiation of Diamer-Basha Dam, the largest project in the history of Pakistan, was a major breakthrough in water resource development in the country. He said the project alone would store 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) of water to supplement irrigation supplies besides generating 4500 megawatt (MW) of low-cost hydel electricity. Some other mega projects, currently in various stages of their implementation, include 7100-MW Bunji, 1410-MW Tarbela 4th Extension, 4500-MW Dasu and 740-MW Munda Hydropower Project, he added. The Member (Water) further said that a programme of constructing small and medium-sized dams in all the four provinces was underway for socio-economic uplift of the backward areas. Earlier, WAPDA Hydro Planning General Manager Hasnain Afzal and PEPCO Chief Engineer Farasat Zaman briefed the delegation about water and power sector respectively. The delegation was informed that another 20 million acres of virgin land can be cultivated subject to availability of water. The delegation was briefed that five hydropower projects with cumulative generation capacity of about 400 MW will start contributing to the National Grid by 2012. The delegation was apprised of the new initiatives of WAPDA related to canal lining, treatment of saline water, application of high efficiency irrigation system, inland water transportation etc. The delegation was also informed about current situation of the power sector including the reasons for electricity load-shedding, measures being taken to mitigate power shortages as well as receivables and payables of PEPCO. Later, WAPDA Member (Water) and Commandant PAF War College exchanged the souvenirs as memento to the visit.