ISLAMABAD

A PC-1 of Mangi dam is being prepared to ensure relieve some pressure on groundwater aquifer and conserve water in less developed, remote and far-flung areas of Balochistan.

The PC-1 is expected to be submitted shortly to Federal government as Ministry of Water and Power has made a tentative provision in current Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Rs. 500 million to ensure its early implementation.

Official sources on Sunday said the Federal government has also made funding provisions for Basol and Shadi Kaur dams.

The sources said Balochistan province is in arid zone with low rainfall and large evapotranspiration losses and added with introduction of deep-well pumping in last 3-4 decades, ground water resources have been rapidly depleted and levels have declined.

In 10 of 19 sub-basins, groundwater is overused. They said at this stage, groundwater use exceeds recharge by 22pc. Pishin Lora accounts for the largest imbalance.

The sources said the main intervention for groundwater recharge has been development of recharge reservoirs, called as delay actions dams that have been constructed in Balochistan since 1970s and now exceed 300 in number.

Their aim is to intercept flood water and retain it for groundwater recharge, the sources said and added typical individual capacity of these dams is around average of 800 to 1000 acre feet, but there is wide variation. While the first generation of delay action dams in Balochistan was not successful, the new generation has fared much better because of better siting and because the impounded water was recharged through downstream river bed by means of water released from the storage reservoir. Where they were constructed, downstream water levels typically rose by 1.4 meters.

The sources said specifically, Ministry of Water and Power is also funding for construction of 10 delay action dams in entire Balochistan and added 20 dams have been completed under Phase-I of this project and in Phase II, 26 dams are at various stages of completion. Moreover, they said in Phase-III, the government has earmarked 10 delay action dams for which government of Balochistan is preparing PC-1. Besides above, it is stated that groundwater is a provincial topic wherein the local management is a prime challenge, federal management is limited to general policies and support.

Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was also assigned task of construction of Small/Medium dams to conserve water in less developed, remote and far-flung areas of Balochistan.

In Phase-I, five Small/Medium dams are under different stages of planning, award and construction.