Diamer-Bhasha Dam: A historical project

By: Hamid Javaid Awan

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has laid foundation stone of historical mega project to generate low cost environmental friendly hydel power Diamer-Bhasha Dam, a game changer project of Pakistan. Addressing on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the project will be completed with an estimated cost of Rs. 1406.5 billion by the end of 2028. The project amount will be spend on land acquisition, re-settlement, social uplift of local inhabitants, construction of dam and power houses. Diversion work will be completed within two to three years.

The dam will gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of 4500 Mega Watt (MW) will go a long way in stabilizing the economy. Construction of the project will also enhance life of Tarbela Dam by 35 years besides providing around 16500 job opportunities of engineers and allied staff. The project will also help to reduce current water shortage of 12 MAF to 6.1 MAF while its economic and agriculture value is estimated as $ 1.2 billion per annum.

The Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed that government was going towards building the 3rd biggest dam in Pakistan’s history. Adding China has already around 5000 big dams and a has total of about 8000 dams. He said that the project would prove to be a milestone in the overall economic activities besides producing 4500 MW inexpensive hydel power. It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan is being considered amount those countries which had been badly affected due to adverse effects of climate change. We had been facing drastically low level of underground water. Weather pattern changes due to climate change also affected our agriculture, economy and productivity. We have abundant human and natural resources. Millions of acres of barren land required to be cultivated. The environmental experts threatened food security challenges due to lack of water and unfavorable environmental conditions, rapid growth in population is also alarming to enhance eatables especially agriculture and livestock production. Most of the parts of Pakistan considered as rain fed areas which badly needed augmentation of water for drinking and agricultural production. Unluckily, no significant dam was constructed during past which aggravated the situation.

The horrible example of Cape Town reminding us to value each and every drop of water. It is imperative to construct new dams to fulfill the requirement of water reservoirs in the country. Pakistan is located at the bed of Himalaya Mountains and directly being effected by climate change. Prime Minister Imran Khan had always shown his concern for environmental degradation and stress for massive tree plantation and 10 billion Tusnami Plantation National Project is on going to address the climate change issues.

The construction of long awaited Diamer-Bhasha Dam is news of happiness for everyone who can realize the current situation and forthcoming environmental challenges. Pakistan was elected as Vice Chairman  in conference of parties world annual meeting due to its significant contributions for environmental up gradation under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and with the beginning of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, present elected government has once again showed its commitment towards climate change and agriculture development sectors. This dam would not only provide drinking water, enhance agriculture production and provide cheaper electricity but also help in creating job opportunities and economic development of Pakistan.

-The writer is Director Public Relations Rawalpindi Division.