NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM APRIL 27TH TO MAY 3RD
141,000 CUSECS OF WATER RELEASED
April 27, 2020
ISLAMABAD. The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) on Sunday released 141,000 cusecs of water from various rim stations with an inflow of 144,800 cusecs. According to the data released by IRSA, water level in the Indus River at Tarela Dam was 1478.52 feet, which was 92.52 feet higher than hits dead level of 1386 feet.
Water inflow in the dam was recorded as 32,200 cusecs and outflow as 40,000 cusecs. The water level in the Jhelum River at Mangla Dam was 1202.15 feet, which was 162.15 feet higher than its dead level of 1040 feet whereas the inflow and outflow of water was recorded at 51,600 cusecs and 40,000 cusecs respectively.
The release of water at Kalabagh, Taunsa and Sukkur was recorded as 82,600, 59,000 and 41,600 cusecs respectively.
Similarly, a total of 38,000 cusecs of water was released at Nowshera from the Kabul River and 6,000 cusecs released from the Chenab River at Marala.
BIDS INVITED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF DAM
By Jamil Mirza Published: April 30, 2020
RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has invited bids from qualified firms for the construction of the long-pending Daducha Dam.
The provincial government has also started land acquisition process for the water reservoir to be built at a cost of Rs6 billion.
The project would be completed under the supervision of the Punjab irrigation department while the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) would install a filtration plant on the Daducha Dam, worth up to Rs7 billion. Apart from this, the authority would be responsible for laying the water distribution network.
Sources said that the long-pending project has become priority of the incumbent government due to complaints of dwindling water supply in the garrison city. It added that the land acquisition process would be finished by the time the qualifying firm would be awarded the contract for the project.
The entire project is expected to be completed in two-years after which Rawalpindi city and its adjoining areas will be supplied water from it. The construction of the Daducha Dam would put an end to the shortage of water in the densely populated areas of the garrison city.
Currently, Rawalpindi gets its water supply from two reservoirs including Khanpur and Rawal dams however it is inadequate corresponding to the rise in the city’s population.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2020.
PEOPLE OF THAR FACE ACUTE SHORTAGE OF DRINKING WATER
By RECORDER REPORT on May 3, 2020
Due to acute shortage of drinking water in summer season, the deprived children and women of Thar are travelling so far distance for fling the drinking water. The Sindh government has announced to install 800 Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants in Thar from which 635 installed in Tharparkar District, along with the people, livestock and fisheries are deprived of drinking water. Operators have closed the RO Plants in protest for nonpayment of their remaining salaries.
According to the Public Health Engineering Tharparkar’s executive engineer Jawahar lal, most of RO Plants are closed and 400 RO Plant’s membrane and machinery are dysfunctional and we are trying to resolve the issue on priority basis to run the RO Plants for providing the drinking water to the people of Tharparkar in the hot summer season.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM MARCH 31ST TO APRIL 5TH
ZERO-CARBON WATER PUMPS TURN BARREN MOUNTAINS GREEN
Reuters Updated March 30, 2020
Shovel in hand, Naila Shah regularly walks two miles from her home to a newly planted apple orchard, high in the mountains of Khyber village in northern Pakistan.
Only two years ago, it would have been practically impossible to grow apples in this part of the country, 8,200 feet up in Gilgit-Baltistan region’s Gojal Valley.
Although the Khunjerab River provides plenty of water to those living in the valleys below, local farmers used to have no efficient way to get it up the mountain-sides.
But the installation of a hydraulic ram (hydro-ram) pump has changed that. It harnesses the pressure of fast-flowing water, such as a river, to drive a share of that water uphill without needing any other power source.
Because the pumps work without electricity or fuel, they are cheap to run and produce no climate-heating carbon emissions.
“Previously, we used to survive on rainwater,” said Shah, a teacher and secretary of a local women’s development group.
“The land used to be barren, as water couldn’t be lifted from the river flowing right next to the area,” she said, digging out weeds from around the bases of young trees.
Low-cost, sustainable irrigation systems like hydro-ram pumps could be key to helping Pakistan’s mountain communities adapt as climate change drives more severe droughts and floods across the country, environmental experts said.
“The government cannot afford larger irrigation systems,” said Haider Raza of green group WWF-Pakistan, which installed the pump in Khyber village two years ago under a project led by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
“But these high-efficiency irrigation systems, which aren’t an expensive technology, can be used to improve the livelihoods of local communities,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Encouraged by the results, the United Nations Development Programme gave WWF-Pakistan additional funding to install 20 more hydro-ram pumps in 12 villages.
Each pump is connected to a drip irrigation system that delivers a steady, gentle flow of water to mountain-top crops, using less water than many traditional irrigation methods.
The pumps have helped revive about 60 acres of previously barren land, benefiting nearly 300 households, Raza said.
Their simple design — consisting mainly of pipes and two valves — means few moving parts to maintain or repair.
Upkeep of the pumps, which cost up to Rs70,000 to build and install, is easy and affordable for communities, who have welcomed the new systems, Raza added.
Seeing the potential for low-cost irrigation to help mountain communities, the Pakistan government last year approved funding for the Gilgit-Baltistan water management department to install 50 hydro-ram pumps, along with 150 solar-powered pumps.
Those systems should help irrigate 1,050 acres of orchards in nearly a dozen districts, according to Mudassar Maqsood, associate programme coordinator at ICIMOD.
The government’s efforts to bring water to high-altitude communities may also get a boost from nature itself.
Climate experts predict shifting rainfall patterns in Pakistan could in future move the wet season away from its southern and central plains to northern mountain regions.
Muhammad Irfan Tariq, who recently retired from his post as director general of the climate change ministry, said the plains might eventually get less monsoon rain than they do now.
That could lead to a drop of up to 15 per cent in the country’s wheat harvest, he noted, without specifying a time frame.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2020
PLAN TO SAVE IRRIGATION WATER FROM BEING WASTED CHALKED OUT
By SARMAD MAHMUD on March 30, 2020
Punjab government has prepared a detailed plan costing Rs.3.68 billion to introduce modern irrigation system in the Province. The step was being taken to overcome the wastage of irrigation water in the Punjab.
The new system will curtail production expenditures, enhance per acre yield, promote modern and profitable cultivation, help in land leveling and save electricity and water. The government will provide 50pc subsidies to the farmers for installation of sprinkler irrigation system in the Province.
Official sources told Business Recorder on Sunday that under the program solar system would be installed for drip sprinkler irrigation on 20,000 acres of land in different areas of the Punjab. At present huge irrigation water is being wasted due to outdated system in the Province and keeping in view the gravity of the situation the Agriculture department will initiate drip sprinkler irrigation system to facilitate the farmers’ community of the Punjab.
The adoption of drip sprinkler system would enable the growers and cultivators to save 50 percent irrigation water from wastage and increase the standard of productivity. Sources further told that 25 percent canal water, 30 percent watercourses and 35 percent water waste in fields that reduced availability of irrigation water for agriculture. The basic concept of the plan was to create awareness among farmers to make agriculture sector more profitable, to enhance productivity and save the irrigation water from wastage across the Punjab.
Agriculture experts foresee that agriculture sector of Pakistan will facing serious shortage of irrigation water in future. Under the prevailing circumstances the experts had suggested that government should adopt preventive measures to cope with the wastage of irrigation water.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
INQUIRY COMMISSION ACCUSED OF RAIDING ‘TARGETED’ SUGAR MILLS
By MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN on March 30, 2020
Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) has accused Sugar Inquiry Commission of raiding “targeted” sugar mills and misbehaving with the staff and employees during the process of search and seizure of documents.
These accusations have been hurled by the Secretary General PSMA, in a letter (written on behalf of Chairman PSMA Aslam Farooque) to Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Wajid Zia. However, DG FIA claims that all teams have been issued strict instructions to ensure that no undue inconvenience or harassment is caused during the discharge of duty.
According to the PSMA’s letter, there are reports that certain officers of FIA under section 6 of the Act have been allowed to enter into premises of certain sugar mills and conduct search, examine and powers to seize the record relevant to the proceedings of the Sugar Inquiry Commission.
The Association says that on February 20, 2020, it had itself volunteered to give DG FIA a presentation with regard to the increase in sugar prices. Pursuant to that PSMA met DG FIA on March 02, 2002 and March 17, 2020 and gave a detailed presentation and answered all his questions.
PSMA also assured DG FIA of utmost cooperation by all sugar mills with the inquiry. However, it came to as a surprise that actions like search and seizure of record were taken in such a hasty manner.
“We also note with concern that before taking such extreme steps of search and seizure, no opportunity was given to any sugar mill to provide the required information or documents to the Sugar Inquiry Commission and to have them verified respectively,” said Chairman in his letter.
PSMA, in its letter has also stated that in fact, till March 25, 2020 neither the Ministry of Interior’s notification of March 16, 2020 nor the terms of reference of Sugar Inquiry Commission have been shared with either the Association or any sugar mill. Sugar industry was of the view that it was not possible to ascertain which records/ documents of the sugar mills are relevant to the proceedings of the Sugar Inquiry Commission.
“It is also concerning that only a few of our members appear to have been selected/ targeted for such invasive action of search and seizure, which is highly discriminatory. Furthermore, no reasons or justifications for such selection/ discrimination have been provided,” Chairman PSMA added.
The Association further stated that while the purpose and intent behind a Commission of Inquiry under the Act is merely fact-finding the officers deputed by the DF FIA, perhaps because of their affiliation with the FIA under/ or FBR, are treating the matter as if it were a criminal investigation and as if mills and their employees are criminals.
Responding to the letter of Chairman PSMA, Director General FIA, and Wajid Zia has explained that need-based on-spot examination of the relevant record was found inevitable to achieve the purpose of constituting the Commission, as spelled out in the ToRs provided in the Commission’s notification.
Teams were therefore constituted in exercise of powers conferred by Section 6 read with Section 10(b) of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017. Nevertheless, all teams have been issued strict instructions to ensure that no undue inconvenience or harassment is caused during the process of their duty.
DG FIA, however, is of the view that while considering the PSMA letter, he is again issuing appropriate directions to all teams in this regard. Meanwhile, PSMA has been asked to share any such incident or transgression or misuse of powers by any team so that prompt measurers could be taken to avoid such complaints. DG FIA has also welcomed PSMA’s officer of a follow-up presentation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
WORLD BANK OKAYS ANOTHER $700M FOR DASU PROJECT
Khaleeq Kiani Updated April 02, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s board of directors has approved a $700 million additional financing for 250km transmission line of the Dasu Hydropower Project to be completed by December 2023.
This was announced by the World Bank at a time the government is seeking about $1.2 billion support from the bank through diversion of surplus or unutilised funds from slow-moving projects to meet additional funding requirements to mitigate adverse impacts of coronavirus threat.
The board of directors of the World Bank is scheduled to approve about $200 million quick disbursing loan for Pakistan on Thursday.
The additional financing for Dasu Transmission Line (DTL) has, however, nothing to do with Covid-19 and has been under negotiation for almost a year. The funding is targeted “to help Pakistan generate low-cost, renewable energy to provide affordable electricity supply to millions of users,” a World Bank statement said.
The additional financing for Dasu Hydropower Stage I Project will finance the 250-km, 765 kilovolt transmission line to complete the first phase of the Dasu hydropower plant that will install 2,160MW capacity along the main Indus River. It will be a high voltage alternative current (HVAC) double circuit line from the Dasu project to West Grid Station, Islamabad.
The financing has nothing to do with Covid-19 and has been under negotiations for almost a year
The proposed DTL will require 674 towers, of which 217 will be angle towers and the remaining suspension towers. The average size of each tower footing will be 400 square metres. The average height of each tower will be about 83m. The right of way (RoW) of the DTL will be 80m wide. The section of DTL runs through eight districts, i.e., Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Shangla, Battagram, Mansehra, Haripur, Abbottabad, and Attock.
Two Kohistan districts have six union councils and 28 villages along the alignment; Shangla district has four union councils and 18 villages; Battagram district has nine union councils and 32 villages; Mansehra district has eight union councils and 22 villages; Haripur district has seven union councils and 22 villages; and the Attock district has four union councils and 13 villages through which the transmission line is passing, according to National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC).
“Pakistan’s energy sector is aiming to move away from high-cost and inefficient fossil fuels towards low-cost, renewable energy to power the national grid,” said Illango Patchamuthu, the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
“Along with reforms in the tariff structure, the Dasu Hydropower Project will result in fewer imports of fossil fuels, alleviating the stress on the country’s current account balance.
“The Dasu hydropower plant has a low environmental footprint and is considered to be one of the best hydropower projects in the world,” said Rikard Liden, Task Team Leader for the project. “It will contribute to reducing Pakistan’s reliance on fossil-fuels and producing clean renewable energy.”
Dasu hydropower station will produce electricity at $0.03/kWh compared to Pakistan’s current average cost of electricity generation of $0.08/kWh. This investment in the energy sector is an important step in the country’s path towards becoming an upper middle-income country by 2047.
The project will be financed from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), with a variable spread and 25 years maturity including a 5-year grace period.
The World Bank funding is part of its Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 for Pakistan with four priority areas of engagement in energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 46 projects with a net commitment of $9.1 billion.
The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had in November 2019 signed a Rs52.5 billion contract with a joint venture of General Electric Hydro China and Power China Zhongnan Engineering Corporation for electro-mechanical works of the Dasu hydropower project (stage-I). This covers design, supply and installation of six Francis turbines, generators, main transformers and generator and station service switchgear, along with related equipment.
The overall Dasu project has an estimated cost of about Rs510bn hydropower project. The 4,320MW hydropower project is being constructed by Wapda on the Indus upstream of Dasu town in Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project will be completed in two stages — each stage having a generation capacity of 2,160MW.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2020