LAHORE-It may be news for many in Pakistan but it is a fact that all the federating units of the country had agreed on the need of building water reservoirs on the Indus and other rivers in the water accord of 1991.

In paragraph 6 of the ‘Apportionment of Water Agreement, 1991’, the participants of the conference recognized the need for building reservoirs wherever possible on the Indus and other rivers.

It can be argued that the government could construct dams on the basis of water accord of 1991 which was approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) on March 21 in the same year.

Khan Abdul Wali Khan, whose Awami National Party was a coalition partner in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government (then North Western Frontier Province), had said on that occasion that he was fully satisfied with the water apportionment.

He also said that the provinces had made the happy beginning of resolving their mutual differences through negotiations. “If this trend is pursued, it will help eliminate the existing bitterness among them and solve their problems.” he said. 

Then NWFP chief minister Mir Afzal Khan said, “At present 1.8 million acres were being irrigated in the province but with the new allocation it will be increased by 50 percent.” “Some 0.9 million acres more in the NWFP could be irrigated from Kalabagh Dam, which would also provide water for irrigation to D I Khan, Tank, Bannu, Lucky Marwat and Karak districts.”

All studies and calculations made on the feasibility of Kalabagh Dam show that the project is executable in all respects.  

According to one of the studies, the Kalabagh Dam will have the capacity of generating 3,600 megawatt of electricity which will save $4 billion annually for the country, excluding the 30 percent line losses. The dam will have the capacity of generating 31.5 billion electricity units annually and can return its cost in five years if the consumers are charged Rs 2.50 per unit, say experts.

They say that after five years only Rs 1 per unit will be feasible to charge whereas the electricity generated by the diesel is being charged Rs 19 per unit. The dam can save $12 billion annually for the national exchequer and is estimated cost is $5.56 billion. Whereas the Diamir-Bhasha Dam will cost $12 billion and more than 200 kilometer road is required in mountainous area to start the construction of dam, besides 300 kilometer heavy transmission lines will have to be laid to connect the National Grid from Bhasha to Terbela. It will further cost the exchequer $3 billion. If funds are regularly provided, the dam will be built in 12 years.

This is why international financers are not ready to risk their investment. Experts say that the Kalabagh Dam is the only dam which can store the water of KabulRiver and if this dam were not built, Pakistan may lose the water rights of Kabul River,under the international laws,forever.