ISLAMABAD - The World Bank has approved $188 million to improve the reliability and safety of the Guddu Barrage and strengthen the Sindh Irrigation Department’s capacity to operate and manage the barrages.
Sindh Barrages Improvement Project (SBIP) under which the Guddu Barrage rehabilitation will be carried out is needed due to natural ageing of the infrastructure. The rehabilitation work will eliminate possible sources of failure and potentially give the structure another 50 years of life.
“Barrages are strategic assets of Sindh and millions of people depend on the water that is controlled, diverted, and managed by them. Their continued operation and management require specialized expertise, experience, decision making, and continuity of operation”, says Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “In addition to physical rehabilitation of barrage infrastructure, this project will also support the Sindh government in training and technical assistance in procurement, financial, social and environmental safeguards for operating hydraulic irrigation infrastructure.”
The SBIP will support the gate replacement works to improve the regulation and the flow of the barrage, the replacement of all 65 main barrage steel gates, 25 main canal head regulator gates, and hoist gears including all mechanical and electrical equipment. This project will also finance the independent Panel of Experts, who will review, monitor, evaluate, and help guide the rehabilitation process with regards to the safety of the barrage.
“The Guddu barrage constitutes the most strategic component of the large Indus Basin Irrigation System. The effective operation and structural stability are important for agricultural production and for averting potential disaster during floods. Climate variability will further add risks by changing the frequency and intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts”, says Abdulhamid Azad, the Task Team Leader of the Project. “Thus, ‘no intervention’ is not an option.”
The primary beneficiaries include (a) over 2.6 million people, across three million acres of irrigated land in Kashmore, Ghotki, Jacobabad, Sukkur, and Shikarpur districts of Sindh, and Nasirabad and Jafarabad districts of Balochistan, who will receive reliable supply of water and (b) local communities in flood-vulnerable areas who will benefit from improvement in flood management and reduction in risks of embankment breaches; since the capacity of the barrage to pass flood waters will improve. The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s grant and low-interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.