NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM FEB 24 TO MAR 01, 2020
$700M WB LOAN SOUGHT FOR DASU PROJECT EXPANSION
Amin Ahmed Updated February 25, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has started appraising the government’s request for a $700 million credit for expansion of electricity supply from Dasu Hydropower Project (DHP).
According to project information document released by the World Bank, the loan is expected to be approved by the bank’s executive board next month.
The proposed loan from the International Development Association will be utilised as additional financing for first phase of Dasu project, and will cover cost of construction of a 255km long, 765kV high-voltage alternating current transmission line from the DHP-I to the Islamabad West and Mansehra substations, that would not only have capacity to carry power generation from Dasu project but also for future expansions of lines to other parts of the country.
The geography of the Dasu-Mansehra-Islamabad line route is dominated by mountains, varying in elevation from 1,000 to 3,200 meters above sea level, entailing hazards, such as earthquakes, steep slopes, landslides, river scouring, flooding and avalanches.
The project would improve access to socio-economic services for local communities in the project area and build the Water and Power Development Authority’s (Wapda) capacity to prepare future hydropower projects. The World Bank considers the project as “high-risk, high-reward” operation aimed at providing low-cost non-carbon renewable energy.
The DHP is run-of-river project located on the Indus River about 240km upstream from Tarbela dam. The total 4,320MW project is being developed in a staged design. The first phase of the HDP-I, currently under implementation, has an installed capacity of 2,160MW and will generate over 12,000GHz of renewable low-cost energy for supply to the central grid.
The Stage-II of the project will add another 2,160MW and 6,000GWh of electricity per year and would be undertaken in future as the first phase of the project nears completion.
The DHP is essential for addressing the key issues faced by the country’s power sector by adding renewable generation at lower cost and reducing the foreign currency requirements by using domestically-available hydropower.
Pakistan’s estimated cost of generation in FY20 is over $8.5 cents/kWh (with 21 per cent from imported LNG-based plants at $13 cents/kWh and 22pc from imported coal plants at $11 cents/kWh). Annually, the power sector incurs substantial losses due to the heavy reliance on costly imported fossil fuels, unbudgeted subsidies, lack of timely determination and implementation of tariffs, and the poor performance of the electricity distribution companies (Discos).
The report says the overall power sector debt as of June 2019 totalled Rs1.6 trillion (around 4.2pc of GDP), and a large share of this debt will eventually become a fiscal liability that the government will have to settle. The increasing level of arrears has affected not only generation but also the investments needed to upgrade and expand additional generation needed and the transmission and distribution network, thus compounding the problem, the report says.
The power sector’s foreign currency requirements are increasing pressure on the foreign exchange reserves of the country. Pakistan’s electricity mix has become more reliant on imported fossil fuels, thus rendering the sector more vulnerable to price volatility and foreign exchange risks. More than 70pc of the additional capacity added in recent years is based on imported fuels, mainly coal and LNG, while use of cost-effective indigenous renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind and solar remain limited.
In FY19, 40pc of the electricity power generated and over 60pc of thermal generation was through imported fuel, requiring $4 billion in foreign currency in fuel payments for power generation.
This is adversely affecting the balance of payments and adding to the current monetary crises. Pakistan needs to have at least base-load generation from domestic energy sources for which hydropower development is vital, the project information document says.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2020
FARMERS’ BODY TO NOMINATE WB OFFICIALS IN PETITION AGAINST BLOCKAGES OF CANALS
Hanif Samoon February 25, 2020
BADIN: Save Badin Action Committee has decided to nominate officials of World Bank in their petition being heard in Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit bench against the construction of blockages in canals to divert water flows.
The committee leaders Mir Noor Ahmed Talpur, Khalil Ahmed Bhurgari, Azizullah Dero and others who led protests against persistent water shortage in Badin district and continued existence of blockages in canals on Monday said that Sindh government’s failure to fulfil its pledges with farmers had forced them to resume the agitation.
Farmers and peasants gathered outside press clubs in Tando Bago, Pangrio, Kadhan, Khoski, and other towns of the district to mark resumption of the protest drive.
The leaders said that they requested World Bank representatives to stop lending money to Sindh government for “anti-people projects” and meet famers’ representatives on their next visit of Sindh to get first-hand knowledge of the consequences of the bank-funded water projects.
They reiterated that Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (Sida) had erected the blockages with the bank’s money to divert water flows towards the lands that fell within command area of Sukkur Barrage. The farmers would continue peaceful protest till the blockages were razed, they warned.
They asked Badin lawmakers to clarify their position with regard to farmers’ peaceful protest for the right and demanded immediate removal of Sida officials including its director Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur.
They asked officials of irrigation and Sida to clarify their position on some advertisements that appeared in a section of print media on Monday in which builders claimed to supply water to their housing scheme from Akram Wah at a time when the canal ran short of water due to a number of reasons.
They said that almost entire district would not get its due share of water as long as the blockages existed in Phuleli Canal at three points. They would chase Sida and irrigation officials in every public gathering the departments held even though they were not invited to register their protest peacefully, they said.
They said that instead of wasting their time in public gatherings the officials should sit with the farmers and listen to their woes. Sadly, a number of tail-end areas and coastal belt were facing the worst water crisis these days, they said and demanded that water be provided to the areas where wheat crop was yet to mature.
They asked officials concerned to ensure that the canals fed by Kotri Barrage received water as per their sanctioned allocation during ongoing season and urged Sida officials to first launch operation against thieves who stole water at areas ahead of Alipur regulator because most of the theft took place before the regulator near Matli town.
They warned that they would resist any move to launch crackdown in areas post-Alipur and would fully cooperate if the action was started in the areas along heads of left bank canals of Kotri Barrage.
They alleged that under a conspiracy the officials concerned had already tampered with bed level of Gooni Canal, an offshoot of Phuleli Canal.
“The bed level of Gooni that was meant to irrigate around 300,000 acres had been lowered more than that of Phuleli which irrigated around 700,000 acres across the district. The tampering is aimed at creating rifts among farmers and peasants of Badin district”, they said.
They demanded that audit of huge funds of Sida and irrigation department from 2006 to 2019 be carried out through third party so that it could be ascertained how much public funds meant for the improvement of irrigation system had actually been spent by officials over the past many years.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2020
44 WATER SUPPLY SCHEMES REHABILITATED IN SWAT, BUNER
By RECORDER REPORT on February 26, 2020
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has rehabilitated 44 projects in Buner and Swat districts. Official sources in the PDMA informed Tuesday that the project would benefit as many as 28,000 families of remote areas of the two districts.
The work on these projects was carried out as water supply channels were disrupted and people had to walk for kilometers to fetch water for the daily utilities. 14 projects were carried out in Buner and 30 in Swat.
These projects were sponsored by International Donor USAID and handed over to relevant department after completion. Work is in progress on 10 other schemes in Buner and 3 in Swat. Waheed Ullah resident of Akham Muhallah, Swat said “This initiative has particularly changed lives of women and teenage boys and girls as they used to fetch water for their family the whole day.” Beneficiaries of district Buner and Swat were grateful to PDMA for carrying out water supply schemes, installation of water pumps and construction of water tanks. This initiative has contributed to access to clean drinking water.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
KARACHI FACES DAILY WATER SHORTAGE OF 700M GALLONS
By Naeem Khanzada Published: February 28, 2020
KARACHI: Karachi is currently facing a shortage of 700 million gallons of water on a daily basis, while the federal or provincial government have no concrete plan of action to tackle the situation.
The sprawling metropolis requires a water supply of 1.2 billion gallons of water every day at the moment. However, with water theft, leakages and just plain scarcity, the conurbation only ends up with 500 million gallons a day. And with summer – and the month of Ramzan – just around the corner, matters are likely to get worse as the water usage of the city’s residents spikes.
According to a source at the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), with the government’s pace of work on on-going water supply projects, there is little chance that they will be able to complete them in less than two years’ time.
However, talking to The Express Tribune, KWSB managing director Asadullah Khan said that they were aware of the daunting water shortage in the city. “If K-Electric provides power to the five major pumping stations of the city – Dhabeji, Gharo, NEK, Pipri and Hub – and other pumping stations, we can manage the challenge of water scarcity by adopting the strategy of supplying water on alternate days,” he said, claiming that the power supply company only provided an interrupted supply of electricity to the pumping stations at the moment.
Meanwhile, he claimed, the KWSB supplied water to areas that are completely deprived of it through tankers filled from the government’s hydrants, adding that the consumers had to pay for these tankers, however.
He urged citizens not to waste water. “The water you will save will be used by other citizens,” he said. “There is a shortage of water in the city, but we will try our best to manage the situation with the available resources.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2020.
IAEA BACKS SEA RELEASE OF CONTAMINATED FUKUSHIMA WATER
AFP February 28, 2020
TOKYO: The world’s nuclear watchdog gave its backing on Thursday to Japanese plans to release contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.
Japan has around a million tonnes of contaminated water stored in tanks at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after a huge tsunami in 2011.
A government panel last month recommended the water be released into the ocean or vaporised, but no final decision has been taken, with all solutions deeply unpopular with sections of the Japanese public.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Rafael Grossi told journalists in Tokyo the panel’s recommendations both appeared suitable. “Of course the decision on what to do and when is a matter for the Japanese government,” he said.
“Our final analysis is not completed but I can tell you already that we find the (panel) report based on a sound methodology and a systematic approach,” he added, describing the two options proposed as “in line with well-established practices all around the world.”
“Releasing into the ocean is done elsewhere, it’s not something new, there is no scandal here,” Grossi added. “But what is important is to do it in a way that is not harmful and you need somebody to monitor before, during and after release, to check that everything is okay.”
The radioactive water comes from several different sources — including water used for cooling at the plant, and groundwater and rain that seeps into the plant daily — and is put through an extensive filtration process.
Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed by the filtration system, but one — tritium, which has a long half-life — remains. The issue is controversial, however, with some of Japan’s neighbours raising questions about the safety of releasing the water, and locals — including fishermen — concerned about the reputational risks of any release. Grossi said a “very comprehensive communication strategy” would be key to the process.
“You may have the best technical strategy but a political failure if you don’t communicate well,” he said. “It’s an issue of legitimate concern.” The 9.0 magnitude quake of March 2011 sparked a huge tsunami along Japan’s northeast coast that killed more than 18,000 people.
The nuclear disaster it spawned is not directly blamed for any deaths, though contamination rendered swathes of the coast uninhabitable, possibly for decades. —AFP
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM FEB 17 TO FEB 23, 2020
CM ORDERS ACTION AGAINST ILLEGAL WATER CONNECTIONS
Bureau Report February 17, 2020
PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has directed public health engineering department to initiate action against all illegal and unregistered water connections throughout the province and ensure legalisation and registration of all water connection within the next two months.
According to a statement, he has also directed the department to take measures in those areas of Karak district where water has been contaminated due to radioactive ores, which is causing serious health hazards to the local population.
The chief minister said that complete study of the issue should be conducted and all stakeholders should be consulted to come up with a solution.
He said that schemes of water supply would be included in the next Annual Development Programme for the areas facing water shortages. He was chairing a review meeting of public health engineering department.
Special Assistant to Chief Minister Riaz Khan informed him that 72,589 illegal water connections were identified and 4,930 of them were regularised. He said that a target of Rs218 million, under water charges recovery, would be achieved during the current financial year.
He said that the draft of provincial sanitation policy was prepared that would be presented to the cabinet soon. He said that Provincial Drinking Water Policy 2015 was being updated whereas work on integrated water resources management strategy was also underway.
He said that public health engineering department was working to introduce a new system under which damaged pumping machinery in water supply schemes would be replaced within 24 hours. The service will be part of all future contracts.
The meeting was also informed about completion of 268 water supply schemes, completion of 243 sanitation schemes, rehabilitation of 67 water supply schemes, solarisation of 14 tubewells, completion of nine new solar-based tubewells, completion of sewerage schemes in Dera Ismail Khan and Utla Dam for Gadoon area and water supply scheme for Rehmanabad and Shakardara in Kohat district.
The chief minister was informed that 60 per cent of the released budget was utilised whereas in the tribal districts, a total of Rs191.73 million was spent in the Annual Development Programme so far.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2020
DIALOGUE MUST TO ADDRESS WATER CRISIS: AMIN
By RECORDER REPORT on February 17, 2020
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Sunday said the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan overlooked climate changes and decreasing level of underground water that were creating water crisis in the country. He made these remarks addressing a special talk on “Sustainable Development and Climate Change, here.
Amin said there had been a shift in the monsoon season’s pattern that increased dry weather in the region that caused the ground water (aquifer) to deplete and overall water resources.
The adviser said, “There should be a dialogue on this issue to incorporate climate pattern shifts and aquifer depletion in the Indus Water Treaty as it is causing serious water scarcity in the country. But the present situation is not favourable in this regard.” He added that Pakistan for the past decade had continuously been among the top 10 most vulnerable countries due to climate change and at present, was placed at number 5 in terms of vulnerability and serious risks due to climate change.
“The adaptation cost for mitigating climate change affects was US$ 6 yo 14 billion per year,” he added. Pakistan, he said, was facing serious impacts of environmental degradation that was mainly due to its topography and geography which was disaster-prone in nature.
A recent World Bank report placed Pakistan among the hottest countries in the world where the world’s highest temperature was recorded in Jacobabad city of Pakistan, he added.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is the first person in Pakistan who highlighted environmental degradation occurring in the region in his book ‘Indus Journey’ back in 1980’s when nobody was aware of the issue in the country.
He said it was the first project in the country’s history put to third party evaluation where global forums like WWF, FAO, WEF and IUCN called a beyond the target successful project.
Amin said we had developed a green five-point agenda that comprises 40 percent nature based solutions and energy shift to renewable and eco-friendly solutions.
“The green agenda comprises of 10 BTT, plastic bags ban, clean Green Pakistan Index, Recharge Pakistan and Electric Vehicle Policy. We are targeting transport transition to 30 percent to electric vehicles by 2030 as it will help reduce 70 percent running cost of automobiles and reduction in oil import bill of the country,” he added.
It had been for the first time that Pakistan managed to get huge amounts of grants from Green Climate Fund (GCF) as US$ 200 million funding was released for various projects including 40 monitoring stations to be installed in the Northern glaciers, Karachi Zero emissions metro bus, climate smart agriculture project and others, he added.
“We have also launched Eco-system Restoration Fund at the COP-25 Madrid that is a transparent facility for the partner countries to partake in the 5-point green agenda of environmental conservation where Pakistan is already doing its lot,” Amin mentioned.
At the end, a video showing Pakistan’s challenge and efforts to address climate change was also showed to the UN Secretary General. Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul in her welcome address said climate change was the defining reality of current era as global efforts to mitigate environmental degradation were falling and required to increase the efforts three times more to overcome the crisis.
She said United Nations Secretary General was leading the climate action initiatives and organized Climate Action Summit that recommended serious action against the increasing risk of climate change.
The UN Secretary General deserved great appreciation for spearheading dialogues over climate change, she added. Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team was fully determined to implement climate change reducing efforts with the vision to leave no one behind, she added.
Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2020
JAPAN MAY LAY PLASTIC WATER SUPPLY LINE
OUR CORRESPONDENT February 17, 2020
RAWALPINDI. To overcome water shortage in the garrison city, the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) has decided to restore a worn-out, concrete water supply channel from the Rawal dam.
Originally laid in 1967, the authority has completed dialogues with a Japanese-based firm which has agreed to fund the project. Under the project, a three-foot-wide plastic pipe will be embedded within the existing concrete of the project, water supply to Rawalpindi from Rawal dam will increase by another five million gallons per day (MGD). The concrete supply line has turned decrepit and as an alternative, water is currently being supplied from a plastic pipeline line laid beside it WASA Managing Director (MD) Muhammad Tanvir told The Express Tribune that the project was a gift for the people of Rawalpindi.
He added that they were restoring a dilapidated water channel after decades. The MD further said that a new pumping station and an underground water tank will be constructed to store and manage additional water supply from the new line. Tanvir said that WASA currently receives a meager 23 MGD from the of 28 MGD.
He added that this project would help bridge this gap. He further asserted that the project will be enough to fulfil water needs for Rawalpindi for another five-seven years.
PSDP 2020-21 WAPDA SEEKS RS316.6BN FOR 33 WATER & HYDROPOWER PROJECTS
MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN February 19, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has demanded allocation of Rs 316.6 billion for 33 water and hydropower projects under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2020-21.
According to official documents, Wapda has demanded Rs 176.844 billion for 18 water sector projects divided according to three priorities. Three mega water projects, i.e, Diamer Basha (Dam part and land acquisition resettlement) and Mohmand Dam Hydropower project have been placed in priority-1, for which an amount of Rs 125. Rupees 442 billion has been sought in the PSDP. The other seven top priority projects will be completed if required funds of Rs 18.203 billion are released during 2020-21.
The projects are as follows: (i) Mangla Dam raising-Rs 867 million; (ii) Gomal Zama Dam- Rs 7 billion; (iii) Darwat Dam- Rs 1.662 billion; (iv) Kacchi canal- Rs 4.295 billion (phase-1 part-A); (v) Rainee Canal (phase-1)- Rs 2.249 billion; (vi) Balochistan effluent disposal into RBOD-Rs 1.443 billion; and (vii) lining of Muzaffargar and TP Link Canals-Rs 687 million.
The second priority projects are: (i) Kurram Tangi Dam (stage-1)- Rs 6.192 billion; and (ii) Nai Gaj Dam-Rs 10.800 billion.
The third priority projects are as follows: (i) Naulong Dam-Rs 3.5 billion; (ii) Kachhi canal project( phases-1-Part B) remaining work (irrigated area 30,000 acres-Rs 12 billion); and (iii) feasibility study, detailed engineering design and preparation of tender documents of Murunj dam project-Rs 200 million.
The other third priority projects for PSDP 2020-2021 are feasibility study of Sindh barrage project DDWP-Rs 178 million, research studies on drainage, land reclamation, water management and use of drainage water Rs 115 million, land and water monitoring/evaluation of Indus plains by SMO-Rs 107. Wapda has also sought over a billion rupees for water sector six studies.
For 15 power sector projects, Wapda has sought allocation of Rs 139.796 billion, out of total cost of the projects amounting to Rs 1.363 trillion with Rs 101.913 billion local financing and Rs 37.883 billion Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) earmarked for 2020-21. The demand for power sector projects during 2020-21 are as follows: (i) Golan Gol Project-Rs 1.003 billion; (ii) Tarbela 4th Extension- Rs 5.057 billion; (iii) Naleem Jhelum hydropower project-Rs 18.069 billion; (iv) Dasu Hydropower Project Rs 85.374 billion; (v) Keyal Khwar project-Rs 1.958 billion; (vi) Tarbela 5th extension- Rs 12.491 billion; (vii) refurbishment and upgradation of generation units Mangla- Rs 9.905 billion; (viii)Warsak Hydroelectric power station 2nd rehabilitation- Rs 4.350 billion; (ix) Chitral HPS capacity enhancement-Rs 263 million; (x) rehabilitation of Dargai HPS- Rs 150 million; (xi) Dudhnial Dam Project (feasibility study)-Rs 190 million; (xii) Patten Hydropower (feasibility study)- Rs 160 million; (xiii) Establishment of Hydropower Training Institute Mangla-Rs 155 million; (xiv ) establishment of glacier monitoring network- Rs 580 million; and (xv) Ghazi Barotha Hydropower project (feasibility)-Rs 101 million.
The country Flood Commission has also sought Rs 10 billion for normal/emergent flood programme under PSDP 2020-21 of which Rs 4.5 billion are for the Punjab, Rs 3.1 billion for the Sindh, Rs 800 million for Balochistan, Rs 100 million for Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs 300 million for merged area and Rs 100 million for Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The Food Commission has demanded Rs 95.980 billion for Flood Protection Sector Project-III (FPSP-III) with Rs 13.406 billion under PSDP 2020-21 with FEC cost equivalent to Rs 1.041 billion.
Meanwhile Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources in its meeting held on Tuesday discussed in detail Khisar Dam, Nushkhi and Bhimber Dam, AJK projects.
Chaired by Senator Shamim Afridi, the meeting was attended by Senator Brig John Kenneth Williams (retd), Senator Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Senator Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah and senior officers from the Ministry of Water Resources, Planning Division, Irsa along with all concerned.
The meeting commenced with a briefing on issues related to the construction of the Khisar Dam Project. The committee was informed that the proposed dam site was located 18km from Nushkhi Town, Balochistan. The objective of the project is to recharge the ground water aquifers in the area located downstream of these dams. The dam will also be instrumental in protecting downstream areas from flash floods. Crop yield will also increase in irrigation areas. Socio-economic conditions of the areas population will also increase.
The committee enquired the reasons for delay of the project since execution of work had begun in 2017. It was informed that less allocation of funds was the main cause of lack in progress of work on the dam. The committee directed that the Finance Division must be summoned in the next meeting. A progress report of the project was demanded as well. The committee was informed that approved PC-I cost was Rs 444.001 million, whereas updated revised cost is Rs 381.551 million. The committee noted that despite being summoned Finance Division fails to attend meetings that entail development work in Balochistan. The Committee was of the decided opinion that if the Division fails to attend the next meeting a Privilege Motion will be carried against it.
Deliberating over the work conducted over Bhimber Dam, the committee was informed that prime minister of AJK desired the construction of small dam projects on Bhimber Nullah in 2010. Wapda submitted a PC-II for feasibility study. CDWP approved the PC-II (Rs 86.089) on November 29, 2013 subject to Wapda financing and addressing AJK concerns. Wapda requested Government of AJK to arrange funds, since it was the sole beneficiary of the project. AJK refused due to financial constraints. At that Wapda requested Ministry of Water Resources to consider providing funds through PSDP for the project. The Ministry argued that the project has no allocation in current PSDP; therefore, request to process the PC-I with allocation through PSDP cannot be entertained. The committee decided to write to the government of AJK to pay half the cost of the dam. A revised PC-II must also be issued.
The Secretary Water Resources assured the committee that he would request Planning Division to contribute half of the funding from the federal government resources.
INCREASING WATER PRODUCTIVITY IN AGRICULTURE
By BR Research on February 20, 2020
Any discussion of demand-driven water pricing is fraught with political sensibilities. Complain to farmers about inefficient irrigation practices, and they point to the state for not doing enough to build reservoirs or recharge aquifers. Farming community stands in unison against any fee for groundwater abstraction, as access to fresh water sources is considered a god-given right.
But the reality is that groundwater is not a public good. While colonial era laws entitle landholders to groundwater abstraction without any restriction, water abstraction is an inherently unfair business. Theoretically, the consumer with the most powerful tube-well in the village can withdraw any quantity of water as long as he is willing to pay the cost of electricity; surely, tube-wells don’t respect land demarcations drawn by the village patwari.
Thus, by its very nature, groundwater abstraction results in winners and losers; as only the tube-well owner profits from the produce of the farm. Moreover, over-abstraction causes residue water-tables to drop further, driving up the cost of any future abstraction.
So, what steps can any government take to address the perverse incentives of water economy, considering that the political classes are beholden to the electorally important farming lobby? As increasing abiana pricing may not be politically convenient, provincial governments should consider targeted revenue collection from tube-well owing landholders. Restrictions could also be imposed on tube-well ownership based on number and electric power.
While increasing the price of water abstraction would surely impact food prices in the short-term, research indicates that this will create positive incentives for farmers to improve productivity in the long term. It is no surprise that Pakistan has one of the lowest crop-productivity in the world. Globally, groundwater use is generally associated with cultivating high-value cash such as oilseeds, vegetables and fruits. In contrast, farmers in Pakistan use groundwater for low yield crops such as wheat, rice and sugarcane.
Pakistan has much to learn from Mediterranean economies which sow high value crops such as peppers and tomatoes, which have groundwater productivity of up to $5.52 per cubic meters, compared to grains such as corn, sunflower, and cereals, whose groundwater productivity is estimated at as low as $0.28 per cubic meter of water use.
By increasing the cost of groundwater abstraction and consumption, Pakistani agriculturalists can be driven towards cultivation of high yield crops that in long term could lead to higher farming income and, possibly, even improve value earned from crops exports. Given Pakistan’s looming water crisis, food security has become a poor excuse for continued cultivation of water-thirsty commodities that the country would be better off importing.
LG DEPT TO EXECUTE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT FOR CITIES
Bureau Report February 22, 2020
PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Friday directed the planning and development department to hand over the cities improvement project to the local government department.
During a meeting on CIP here, the chief minister also ordered the speedy completion of development plans and projects.
A statement issued here said the meeting was briefed about the CIP, which is meant to ensuring the supply of clean drinking water to the province’s major cities, and improvement of sewerage and drainage systems, solid waste management, and infrastructure.
It will be completed with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank and other donor agencies.
Officials told the meeting that Abbottabad, Kohat, Mardan, Mingora and Peshawar cities had been included in the priority list under the CIP.
CM says govt striving to provide basic facilities to residents of major cities
They said under the project, the improvement of solid waste management system, installation of sewerage treatment plants, development of Company Bagh and Baghdada Park, and execution of green initiatives had been planned for Mardan city.
The officials said greater water supply scheme, improvement of solid waste management system, development of the riverfront and other green spaces and master plan for the resolution of the main bazaar traffic congestion would be carried out in Mingora city.
They said the CIP promised the replacement of water supply distribution network in selected areas of Peshawar besides the improvement of solid waste management system, installation of sewage treatment plants in Hayatabad and Regi Model Town, development of Besai Park in Phase-VII, development and extension of Baghe Naran and green initiative in zoo, while several similar initiatives would be carried out in Abbottabad and Kohat.
The chief minister said the government was taking pragmatic steps to provide all basic services and facilities to the residents of major cities of the province.
He said the government would ensure the provision of conducive and clean environment to the residents.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2020
PPAF, TURBAT VARSITY TO WORK ON WATER, POVERTY ISSUES
Behram Baloch February 23, 2020
GWADAR: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between University of Turbat (UoT) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) on Friday
Vice Chancellor of Turbat University Prof Dr Abdul Razzaq Sabir and PPAF Islamabad Head of Programmes Simi Kamal signed the agreement at a ceremony.
Under the agreement, both parties will collaborate to develop research cooperation on water management and poverty alleviation for bringing social and economic prosperity in Balochistan.
Besides, both will provide internship opportunities for the students of Turbat University in PPAF office.
Earlier, during a meeting at his chamber, the vice chancellor said Turbat University was committed to innovation in higher education and had achieved a rapid and comprehensive development in a short span of six years.
Dr Sabir said that his institution was working on a comprehensive plan to expand collaboration agreements with different national and international universities and institutions.
Simi Kamal noted with pleasure the excellent and conducive environment for research and acquiring education in Turbat University.
She expressed confidence that the collaboration will provide a platform to the youth to brush up their skills and talent for playing a leading role in the development and prosperity of the province.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020
BOARDS OF SIX KP WATER, SANITATION COMPANIES WORKING EVEN AFTER EXPIRY OF TENURE
Mohammad Ashfaq Updated February 23, 2020
PESHAWAR: The boards of directors of six of the seven government-owned water and sanitation companies functioning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are understood to be functioning even more than one year after the expiry of their tenure.
Officials of the Water and Sanitation Services companies told Dawn that the government was neither extending the term of those boards nor was it forming the new ones to address the irregularly.
They said seven water and sanitation companies were established by the ruling PTI during the last six years in Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan, Mardan, Swat, Peshawar and Abbottabad divisions under a federal law, Companies Act, 2017, with the tasks of water supply and wastewater and solid waste management.
The officials said the tenure of board of directors of Kohat, Bannu, DI Khan, Mardan and Swat companies expired in Nov 2018 and that of the Abbottabad company in March 2019.
Officials insist summaries for term extension with CM for nod
They said only the board of the Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar was functioning regularly as its tenure would expire in Nov this year.
The officials said the local government department intended to bring changes to the Peshawar company’s board of directors though its term had yet to end.
“It’s strange that on one hand, the department wants to change the composition of the BoD of WSSP Peshawar nine months ahead of the expiry of its term but on the other, it isn’t willing to extend the expired term of the boards of six other companies or nominate new directors to them,” an official said.
Section 183 of the Companies Act, 2017, gives a wide range powers to the board of every water and sanitation company for the issuance of shares and debentures or any instrument in the nature of redeemable capital; borrowing of money otherwise than on debentures; investment of funds, and authorisation of a director or the firm of which he or she is a partner or any partner of such firm or a private company of which he is a member or director to enter into any contract with the company for making sale, purchase or supply of goods or rendering services with the company.
The law also empowers the board to approve financial statements and bonus for employees; incur capital expenditure on any single item or dispose of a fixed asset in accordance with the limits as may be specified; write off bad debts, advances and receivables, and write off inventories and other assets of the company.
Special assistant to the chief minister on local government department Kamran Khan Bangash was not available for comments on the matter despite repeated contacts on his mobile phone.
However, sources in the local government department told Dawn that separate summaries had been sent to the chief minister for the extension of the tenure of the boards of directors of six water and sanitation companies. They added that the summaries would be placed before the cabinet for approval after the chief minister’s nod.
The sources said the local government department would notify extension in the tenure of BoDs after the cabinet’s approval.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM FEB 10 TO FEB 16, 2020
UMAR VOWS TO COMPLETE K-IV WATER PROJECT ON PRIORITY
By RECORDER REPORT on February 10, 2020
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Asad Umar on Sunday vowed to complete the K-IV water project on a priority basis. K-IV is important water project for Karachi and the federal government was taking measures to complete it on a priority basis, said Asad Umar while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Shaheed Malik Siddiq Awan Welfare Trust Hospital, Lyari here on Sunday.
He said report on engineering design of K-4 project has been completed and sent to the Sindh government. The report is under consideration of the Sindh Cabinet and as soon as the Sindh Cabinet would approve it, work on the project would be started on priority, he added.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will take important decisions on ongoing inflation in the country this month. “PM Khan has ordered an inquiry and announced to take action against all those found involved behind prices hike.”
Asad Umar further said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was fully aware of the problems being faced by Karachiites. He said the incumbent government is ready to work with any party for the welfare projects. “No politics will be carried out on development and welfare projects.”
The PTI minister promised to construct a football stadium in Lyari next year. Asad Umar said that he met with Fehmida Mirza and requested her to provide sports opportunities to people of Lyari by making grounds.
Referring his meeting with the Sindh chief minister here, Asad Umer said he told CM Sindh that they were ready to cooperate with all, as they did not intend to involve politics in the projects of welfare and developments of people.
Speaking about victory of MNA Shakoor Shad from NA-246 Lyari, he said Shakoor Shad not only defeated the stalwarts but also surprised the whole country. He greeted MNA Shakoor Shad for his remarkable victory from NA-246 Lyari and said he was really glad to congratulate Shakoor Shad on his victory in his hometowm.
Referring his latest meeting with Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ms Fehmida Mirza, he said he has requested the IPC Minister to envisage a project of sports for youths of Lyari, so that the project could be incorporated in the next annual budget.
The youths of Lyari are extremely talented, especially in sports like boxing and football and if they are provided opportunities, they would not only excel in their own field but also earn name for country, he added.
Earlier, the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umer along with MNA Shakoor Ahmed Shad cut the ribbon to formally inaugurate the Shaheed Malik Siddiq Awan Welfare Trust Hospital-Lyari.
Copyright News Network International, 2020
OFFICIALS NOT SERIOUS IN RESOLVING WATER CRISIS IN LOWER SINDH, SAY BADIN FARMERS
Hanif Samoon February 11, 2020
BADIN: Save Badin Action Committee leaders have accused officials of Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (Sida) and irrigation department of taking only cosmetic steps to buy time and making no serious attempt to resolve perennial water crisis in lower Sindh and mitigate unending suffering of farmers.
Mir Noor Ahmed Talpur, Khalil Ahmed Bhurgari, Mir Ghulam Rasool Talpur and other leaders told journalists here on Monday that ‘mafias’, who had deprived them of their share in water since erection of blockages in Phuleli Canal, were free to this day to commit banditry on their share despite persistent water shortage in tail-end areas of the district.
They lashed out at officials of both the departments for taking no step to remove blockages erected in the canal to divert water flows to the lands that fell within command area of Sukkur Barrage and were owned by influential landlords.
The ministers and high-ups of both departments, who were responsible for just distribution of water, were misleading poor farmers with claims that various schemes had been undertaken to improve water flows in canals while in reality no sustainable plans were being made to resolve lower Sindh farmers’ problems and end unrest among them.
They requested officers concerned of Sindh government not to add insult to injury by issuing irresponsible statements on current water crisis and its worst impact on farm sector in their areas.
They believed that farmers of Badin district would not be able to get their due share in water as long there existed three big blockages in Phuleli. The officials, who had had the blockages built by spending huge funds of around Rs6 billion of public money, were still at the helm of affairs in the departments and were busy in safeguarding interests of “real thieves” of their water share, they said.
They said that instead of addressing core issues the officials concerned were only beating about the bush, merely a gimmick to buy more time. Under a conspiracy the officials were flouting orders of a double bench of Sindh High Court, Hyderabad circuit, which had directed the government in September last year to form a committee to assess damage to lands caused by water shortage in tail-end areas, they said.
The court had issued the directive on their petition against water crisis in the district which was mainly caused by erection of blockages in canals but since then the high functionaries of Sindh government were creating obstacles to the formation of the committee, they said.
The leaders alleged that during their recent visits to regulators the provincial minister and Sida officials did not bother to meet “real representatives” of farmers, who were on roads protesting against water shortage. Instead, they made a mockery of their concerns by failing to take any corrective measures for uninterrupted supply of water in Phuleli, Akram Wah canals and other channels.
They deplored that people living in tail-end areas particularly in devastated coastal belt were once again facing acute water shortage even for drinking. They requested non-governmental organisations to visit the coastal belt to assess massive damage caused by water shortage.
They warned the officials to mend their ways and said they would resist any move to create differences in their ranks. They were ready to sit with officials and lawmakers of the area if they showed flexibility on removal of blockages from canals for uninterrupted flow of water.
The leaders said that they were united to foil possible attempts by functionaries to pit farmers whose lands were irrigated by Phuleli Canal against those of Akram Wah in order to divert attention away from the original problem.
They warned they were prepared to resume protest movement across the district and other towns of the province to get their rightful share in water before the onset of Kharif season.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020
FOUNDATION STONE OF WATER SCHEME LAID IN SUI
Saleem Shahid February 14, 2020
QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has said that Sui town has played a very important role in the development of the country as it has been providing gas to different parts of the country since 1954, fulfilling energy requirements of the country to a large extent, but it is a pity that even in 2020 the area is still deprived of gas, water and other such basic facilities because of wrong policies of all previous governments.
He was speaking at a ceremony held to lay foundation-stone of a water supply scheme in the area.
He said that Sui area had remained deprived of these basic facilities because of disparity in distribution of funds among different districts and areas of Balochistan.
The chief minister said that present government had adopted a new strategy to develop all areas of the province under the available resources and resolve people’s problems wherever and in whatever way possible. Because of following this strategy, he said, development work had been started in every district and tehsil of the province.
“The coalition government wants to see all areas of Balochistan being developed at the same time with no district, tehsil or any area being ignored in this respect,” Mr Alyani said.
Development of all areas of Balochistan is govt’s goal, says chief minister
He said that this was the vision of the provincial government and that was the reason why, despite limited resources and funds, work on development schemes in all areas of the province was going on.
He said that in the past certain districts and areas of the province used to enjoy a privileged or special status and most of the funds of the province used to be spent there and that was the reason why other areas of the province remained so backward or extremely under-developed, but the present government had radically changed that policy and it was following an even-handed approach in the development of all areas of Balochistan and funds were being allocated on equal basis so that people of all areas of the province could enjoy benefits of development.
He said that every district had been provided Rs2.5 billion to Rs3billion for development schemes and far-flung areas of the province had been given top priority in the current budget.
He said that under the changed strategy and policy of the present provincial government, new roads were being built to link these areas with National Highways so that people got access to district headquarters and main markets of the area.
The foundation-stone laying ceremony was also attended by Nawabzada Mir Gohram Bugti, MPA, from Dera Bugti, provincial ministers Omer Khan Jamali, Zamarak Khan Piralizai, Noor Mohammad Dummar, MPA, Abdul Qadir Nayal and Mobeen Khilji.
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2020
$425M SOUGHT FOR SWAT HYDRO PROJECTS
Amin Ahmed Updated February 14, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is seeking $425 million from the World Bank group to develop run-of-river hydropower projects on Swat River Basin which has an estimated energy potential of 2,000MW.
The KP government has developed a project at a cost of $782m. However, this financing plan is indicative and efforts would be made to mobilise as much commercial financing as feasible while the share of the provincial government would depend upon the level of commercial capital mobilised, according to a document released by the WB.
The $425m loan also included $287m from the International Development Association (IDA).
The proposed funding by the WB will be the first engagement with the KP government in the hydropower sector through its executing agency, Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO), which has some experience of working with the Asian Development Bank that has financed two small projects of 17MW and 3MW for administering international financing institutions funds and complying with their requirements regarding environmental and social due diligence, safeguards and oversight.
The project area includes Upper Dir and Swat districts which are part of the Malakand division. The topography of the area is dominated by high mountains located among the foothills of the Hindukush mountain range. The total hydropower potential of Swat River basin also includes several run-of-river hydropower projects of varying capacity ranging from 10MW to 200MW.
An 88MW run-of-river Gabral-Kalam hydropower project on Gabral tributary of Swat River for which feasibility study has been conducted will be tendered first followed by construction of two to three additional hydropower projects on the Swat River basin based on their detained design studies and environmental and social assessments to be carried out during implementation.
The Gabral-Kalam hydropower project consists of a concrete gravity weir of about 21 meters in height and 145 meters in length and a water conveyance system of 5.5km including 4.7 km head race tunnel of 5.8 meter in diameter. It will provide 340 gigawatts hours of electricity per annum.
The Swat River is a perennial river in the northern region of KP, its source is in the Hindukush mountains and Himalayas and fed by glacial waters. The river commences in the Kalam Valley of Swat Kohistan with the confluence of two main tributaries Ushu and Gabral (or Utrar) and runs with high velocity downstream in a narrow gorge up to Baghdheri. Then the river enters the plain areas of Swat Valley where it is a meandering river and receives drainage from the entire Swat Valley.
An inception document of the World Bank says that the project activities also involve installation of solar photovoltaic panels. Such activities are likely to cause adverse environmental and social impacts. Some of these impacts are expected to be permanent and irreversible.
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2020
EXPERTS URGE USE OF DRIP, SPRINKLER SYSTEM FOR WATER CONSERVATION
The Newspaper’s Staff Correspondent February 14, 2020
HYDERABAD: Speakers at an international moot stressed efficiency in use of water and recommended drip and sprinkler irrigation system, timely water application, lining of watercourses and rainwater harvesting for better soil management and environment.
They said this while delivering presentations at the closing ceremony of the three-day 18th International Congress of Soil Science-2020, carrying the theme ‘Wise Soil Management Ensures Better Environment and Livelihood’ jointly organised by the Soil Science Society of Pakistan (SSSP) and the Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) Tandojam held here on Thursday at the SAU.
Presiding over the event, Sindh Minister for Agriculture Mohammad Ismail Rahu described soil as one of the most important and essential natural resources that was a critical part of successful agriculture.
Highlighting the quality of soil that was deteriorating day by day, he said those challenges should be tackled. He said that scholars and researchers presented recommendations that would help policymakers of both provincial and federal governments to develop strategies to save fertility of land, which was the main source of producing food for the nation.
He appreciated efforts of SAU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujeebuddin Memon for hosting this mega event and providing the platform to stakeholders to share and exchange their ideas and thoughts for a better tomorrow.
“We have important land and coastline, including Indus delta, and different areas of the soil which is being degraded and farmers are facing problems to get maximum per acre yield,” he said and urged farmers to understand the soil for cultivating crops according to seasons.
SAU VC said there were knowledgeable academic and interactive sessions during the three-day symposium and stressed that recommendations must be implemented at the government level to save natural assets.
He said agriculture played a crucial role in bolstering the national economy. Soil had important direct and indirect impact on agriculture productivity and water quality, he added.
The speakers presented various recommendations that included saving huge cost by rationalising chemical fertilisers through bio-fertilisers; monitoring quality control of agriculture inputs; focusing on land degradation factors like salinity, poor quality groundwater, nutrient mining and erosion; developing bio-fertilisers to safeguard environment and soil ecosystem.
Prof Mohammad Kaleem Abbasi, Dr Inayat Rajpar, Dr Murtaza Jamro, Hidayatullah Chhajro, Noor Mohammad Baloch and others also spoke at the moot.
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2020
KP GOVT TO SEEK CONTROL OF KHANPUR DAM
Manzoor Ali Updated February 16, 2020
HARIPUR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan inaugurated the two-day Khanpur Festival during a daylong visit to the district on Saturday.
The opening ceremony was attended by a large number of tourists, including foreigners. The festival is taking place on the banks on the Khanpur dam.
Mr Mahmood, who is the first chief minister to visit the area in three decades, was warmly welcomed by the residents. Scores of schoolchildren showed up to greet him.
A large number of stalls, including famous blood red oranges of the area, local handicraft, bookstall and food, were also put up at the festival to attract tourists.
The residents enthusiastically welcomed visitors and said higher tourist arrivals in the region would increase economic opportunities for them.
The chief minister said he would ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to order the handing over of the Khanpur dam from Wapda to the province for use as a tourist site.
He said the provincial government would observe the Khanpur Festival as other major tourist events, which would increase economic opportunities for the locals.
Mr Mahmood said the PTI government was striving to promote tourism in the country and it was the government’s efforts, which had led to Pakistan becoming the top tourist destination globally.
He said the government had set up a tourism authority in the province for the promotion of tourism, while integrated tourism zones were being established. The chief minister said he also wanted the area’s potential for religious tourism to be exploited.
Federal minister for power Omar Ayub Khan, who was also in attendance, welcomed Mr Mahmood to the area and said Khanpur was dotted with the region’s rich history spanning over thousands of years.
He said the large Sleeping Buddha statute was located at Bhamala site near the Khanpur dam, while the neighbouring areas extending up to Taxila had remains of Gandhara civilisation in large numbers. The minister said tourism promotion in the region could lead to the creation of large-scale job opportunities.
Local MPA Arshad Ayub Khan said the Khanpur dam attracted around 30,000 tourists annually but bad roads hampered the promotion of tourism in the area.
Tayyab Mehmood, who does boat business in the dam, told Dawn that he had taken Wapda to the court for trying to ban his boats in the lake over pollution.
He said he was hopeful that the local lawmakers would take up the matter with the chief minister to protect his business.
Handicraft businesswoman Maryam Sultana said the Khanpur Festival offered a huge opportunity to her and others to show own crafts to visitors from other parts of the country. She said she had been putting up stalls in the festival for several years.
Dutch tourist Ariana said she was impressed with the area’s beauty and felt privileged to be there. She said Khanpur’s lake and weather were amazing and she was really enjoying her visit to area.
The tourist said she would recommend other people to visit the province. The chief minister also inaugurated work on the 35km Kohala Bala Road, which will cost Rs2.32 billion and benefit people of 55 villages. He also opened the construction of a girls’ degree college in Khanpur to be completed in two years at the cost of Rs83.7 million.
The chief minister also inaugurated work on Rescue 1122 building to be completed in 18 months at the cost of Rs39.6 million and construction of the Tehsil Complex Khanpur at the cost of Rs139.09 million.
He also addressed a large public meeting in Tarnawah area.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2020
RS6BN SCHEME TO PROVIDE EXTRA 65MGD WATER TO KARACHI ORDERED
Hasan Mansoor Updated February 16, 2020
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday decided to launch a 65-million-gallon-daily water supply scheme by reviving lower KB Feeder channel through Haleji Lake at a cost of Rs6 billion.
The rehabilitation of Haleji Lake and construction of RCC-lined canal and conduit from Haleji to the Gharo pumping station would be undertaken.
He made the decision while presiding over a meeting to review the progress of schemes to provide additional water to Karachi.
Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, planning and development chairman Mohammad Waseem, Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, principal secretary to CM Sajid Abro, LG secretary Roshan Shaikh, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board chief Asadullah Khan and others attended the meeting.
The LG minister told the chief minister that the rehabilitation of the Haleji Lake project had come to a halt in 2000.
The project will benefit about 1.2 million residents of city’s water-starved areas
A new 65mgd pumping house would be equipped with mechanical and electrical pumping machineries at Gharo. A 72-inch-diametre mild steel main would be laid from Gharo to the high point in addition to transmission line to convey 65mgd water from high point to the Pipri filter plant.
The chief minister said 65mgd water would be provided to the water-deficient neighbourhoods of Karachi and would benefit a population of about 1.2 million.
CM Shah reviewed uplift of the Dhabeji pumping station costing Rs1.2bn. Minister Nasir Shah said rehabilitation of the existing electrical and mechanical machineries of Phase- II, Phase-III and Phase-IV had been planned. The K-II and K-III pumping house rehabilitation was necessary because they had completed their life.
The chief minister was told 65 per cent work of that scheme had been completed. He asked the minister to expedite completion of the work to pass on its benefit to the people in soonest possible time.
The chief minister also directed the KWSB to submit a scheme to his office for rehabilitation of the canal coming from Hub providing 100mgd water to Karachi West.
He said the canal had turned “totally defective” because of which half of the water leaked away. He added with its rehabilitation, 50mgd water could be saved and made available for the people of district West.
The chief minister was told Nespak had finalised its report and most of the points of disagreement had been settled and now a Chinese firm had come up with a new proposal.
The chief minister asked the LG minister to submit Nespak’s final report to KWSB’s governing body to discuss it in detail.
He said the K-IV project would begin soon. He directed the P&D chairman to keep all stakeholders including the Frontier Works Organisation and the federal government on board in the decision-making.
Meanwhile, Mr Shah asked the Board of Revenue (BoR) to submit a detailed report before the cabinet on expired leases granted in old city area.
The renewal lease policy must contain various options along with lease rates to decide it accordingly.
The CM chaired a meeting, which was attended by Revenue Minister Makhdoom Mahboob Zaman, Mr Wahab, senior member BoR Qazi Shahid Parvez, member land utilisation Aijaz Baloch and others.
Minister Mahboob said in pursuance of the decision taken in the cabinet on Aug 3, 2019 regarding renewal of lease granted for building purpose in the city, a committee under him was constituted. Other members of the committee were Mr Wahab, SMBR, member LU, and deputy commissioners of Karachi East and Karachi South.
He said there were 1,407 quarters — 1,043 in Garden East and 364 in Garden West — whose leases had expired in 1995. Some plots had got renewal of their leases during 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2017. Majority of those plots and properties, however, had not been renewed.
The SMBR said the rates of renewal of the expired leases made during 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2017 were not applicable now; thus, new rates should be decided.
The chief minister directed the revenue minister to submit a summary for the cabinet about the expired leases and the proposed rates and other proposals, if any, so that the cabinet could discuss the matter and decide accordingly.
In a statement, the CM expressed his grief and sorrow over the murder of Shahnaz Ansari, a member of the Sindh Assembly belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
“It is matter of immense grief and shame to see that women are also being murdered,” he said.
Mr Shah called the slain MPA’s husband, Hameed Ansari, and informed the latter about his orders that he had given to the police for the arrest of those involved in the murder.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2020
MOHMAND DAM TO BE COMPLETED IN 2025, SAYS WAPDA CHIEF
By RECORDER REPORT on February 16, 2020
WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd) said on Saturday the construction work on multipurpose Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project would be completed during high flow season in 2025 as per the timelines. He said the construction work is being carried out day in and day out and the project is moving ahead with a good pace.
WAPDA General Manager Land Acquisition and Resettlement Brig Shoaib Taqi (Retd), General Manager and Project Director Javed Afridi, representatives of the Consultants and the Contractors and other senior WAPDA officers were also present on the occasion.
The Chairman made a detailed round of the under-construction access roads, offices and colony, diversion tunnels, irrigation tunnel and re-regulation pond.
He said Mohmand Dam is the 5th highest concrete-face-rock-fill Dam (CFRD) in the world. He said the total priority land has already been acquired with the unprecedented support of the locals, District Administration of Tribal District Mohmand and the Provincial Government of KP and with concerted efforts by WAPDA Land Acquisition and Resettlement officers.
He further said that Rs4.53 billion will be spent on the Confidence Building Measures (CBM) in the project area for socio-economic development of the locals. He appreciated the security forces for enhanced security arrangements in the project area to enable the project management to carry out construction work day and night to meet the construction schedule.
Dilating upon the benefits of the project, the Chairman said that Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project is historic and unique in nature being constructed after the delay of over five decades. The project is scheduled to be completed in five years and eight months. It will store about 1.2 million acre feet (MAF) of water, generate 800 megawatt (MW), contribute 2.86 billion units of low-cost hydel electricity annually to the National Grid and help mitigate floods in Peshawar, Charsadda and Naushera. Besides supplementing 160,000 acres of existing land, about 16,700 acres of new land will also be irrigated because of Mohmand Dam. In addition, 300 million gallons water per day will also be provided to Peshawar for drinking purpose. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs51.6 billion, he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020
‘INDUS WATER SYSTEM HAS DESTROYED LIVES AND CULTURES’
By Sameer Mandhro Published: February 16, 2020
KARACHI: The Indus River has been destroyed as no other river system in the world, believes noted hydrologist Dr Hassan Abbas. “It has been cut, shut, dammed and diverted.”
Water experts, environmentalists and politicians, speaking at a Lahooti Melo session titled ‘Whispers of Sindhu: The Struggles of River Indus,’ asked the government and policymakers to rethink the water accords and the mighty river’s distributary system. The current system, they say, has destroyed centuries-old cultures, washing away villages and displacing entire communities.
According to Dr Abbas, the destruction of the Indus began in the 1850s, when the ruling British authorities began setting up canal colonies in the region. “It has not yet stopped. We want to continue it, even though it has destroyed this river and destroyed the lives, livelihood and cultures of communities.”
He highlighted the plight of those living near the Tarbela Dam, who do not yet have even the basic facility of electricity. “These people sacrificed everything 60 years ago. But on paper, they are simply ‘affectees’ who will be ‘given something,’” he added.
There are people in the delta region too whose lives have been upturned because of the dam. “But they are not [officially] recognised as affectees, since they were only affected 50 years later,” Dr Abbas pointed out. And, he continued, they were 1,000 kilometres away from the dam too.
Dams, in his view, can be catastrophic – a lesson that many countries in the world have learned after the construction of huge dams. Here, though, the lesson has been overlooked.
Environmentalist Ahmed Rafay Alam concurred, pointing to the Sukkur Barrage – the first man-made instrument on the Indus delta. “And look at the delta a century later!” he said.
Alam highlighted the looming problem of water scarcity too, adding that water was a provincial issue. “The entire system in the region will be upended by global warming,” he explained. “The origin of the Indus River lies in the monsoon and it will be destroyed.”
Senator Sassui Palijo focused on water scarcity too, observing that there was no water downstream of Kotri, disturbing Sindh’s agricultural sector.
“There was a time when the Indus was the major source of trade between Sindh and different parts of the world,” she remarked, adding that now, the Indus Delta – a Ramsar site – was in deplorable condition. “There is no water. There is massive internal migration.”
Blaming the current government for not taking Sindh’s water scarcity seriously, Sassui said that the parliamentarians believed the water flowing downstream of Kotri barrage was ‘being wasted.’
According to her, before the construction of dams and illegal canals, 80 MAF of water was released in winter and 100 to 150 MAF in summer. “This flow of water used to maintain the marine life, biodiversity and ecosystem [of the Indus].”
For the senator, the question of water scarcity was crucial. “We need to work on the basis of war footing, since the country is one of the five most vulnerable nations of the world,” she claimed.
Tracing the Indus River’s accords through history, Qaumi Awami Tehreek president Ayaz Latif Palijo said that the 1945 water agreement between Sindh and Punjab was not an agreement between two provinces. “It was an accord between two states,” he pointed out, adding that after the Radcliffe Award, Punjab was split into two. “Control over the water lay in India’s part of Punjab,” he explained.
He added that the 1960 Water Treaty was penned to secure the water share for Punjab in Pakistan. “Sindh was not part of the agreement. Punjab made the accord with India, keeping Sindh away from it,” he claimed.
“All the water accords are fraudulent, including the one in 1991,” criticised Ayaz, adding that Sindh was not being given the water it was due. According to the 1991 accord, he said, Sindh was to receive 117 MAF of water, but there was less than 90 MAF water in the system for it. “This fraud is not a new phenomenon. We have been observing it since 1947. Where do we lodge this complaint?”
He asserted that no parliament or judiciary had ever heard the case of the Indus River, adding that they had initiated long marches, sit-ins and protests, all in vain. “Where can we lodge this kind of complaint?”
Muhammad Nawaz Shah, another panelist, observed that the river did not carry water alone to Sindh. “It also brings with it silt,” he stated, adding that 1.88mm of silt used to be deposited in the Indus delta each year, but the number had now gone down to 1mm – less than the rise in sea levels. This leads to a rise in sea intrusion into the delta.
“The water in the delta system is not drinkable; sometimes, it is not even fit for agriculture,” he lamented, saying that the ecosystem had been destroyed.
Meanwhile, dozens of festival participants, including students from across Jamshoro and Hyderabad, planted trees at the Lahooti Melo’s venue, the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro. This was in line with the theme of this year’s Lahooti Melo: ‘Eco, Not Ego.’
Horticulturist Toufiq Pasha briefed attendees on how to plant a tree so that it can grow smoothly and support the environment.
Meanwhile, festival founder and organiser Said Samejo disclosed that the trees being planted were all indigenous, including species such as neem, peepal and moringa.
“The land is our mother and we should treat it as our mother. It is time to give back to our motherland,” he maintained, adding that everyone should plant trees.
Apart from panel discussions and technical workshops on climate change, global warming and their impact on indigenous communities, the festival also hosted live music sessions, featuring the fakirs of Bhit Shah, Shafi Fakir, Kaif Ghaznavi, Sanam Marvi, Taj Mastani, Fareed Ayaz, Akbar Khamiso Khan and others.
“I travel to Hyderabad every year for the Lahooti Melo,” enthused Sughra Batool, a visitor from Karachi. “It is a real combination of music and genuine subjects of discussion and understanding, giving my friends and myself something to learn.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2020.
WORLD BANK DECLARES PAKISTAN’S $73M WATER PROJECT UNSATISFACTORY
By Shahbaz Rana Published: February 16, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s three successive governments have failed to keep a small project of $73 million on track, which was conceived 12 years ago to ensure better management of water resources in the Indus River basin.
The Water Sector Capacity Building and Advisory Services project can be a classical case study, which the World Bank has finally declared as “unsatisfactory” after losing its last hope to revive the scheme. The project had been approved by the Washington-based lender in June 2008.
The original completion date of the project was February 2014, which had been extended to June 2021.
In its latest report on the Water Sector Capacity Building and Advisory Services project, known as WCAP, the World Bank has described progress on the project as “unsatisfactory”, a notch below the previous rating of moderately satisfactory. The report has been made public this week by the World Bank.
The project implementation following the additional financing approved in 2015 continues to be slow and well behind agreed work plans, stated the report.
“The project targets cannot now be met in the time remaining for project implementation,” noted the report. A joint midterm review by the bank and implementing agencies in June 2019 agreed, in principle, on project restructuring and a correction to the amount of IDA credit, it added.
Since 2008 the country has been run by three mainstream political parties – the Pakistan Peoples Party (2008-13), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (2013-18) and now the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Since 2008, the project had been overseen by the Ministry of Water and Power till 2018. Now, the project has been given to the Ministry of Water Resources after the PTI government separated the water division from the power division.
During the 12-year period, there was one common factor in all these governments – the bureaucracy. In its previous reports, the World Bank had also blamed the bureaucracy for the delay in execution of the scheme.
Without achieving any targets, Pakistan spent $40.7 million out of the total loan of $73 million, showed the World Bank report.
The stated project objective was to improve the management and investment planning of water resources in the Indus River basin.
With Pakistan being a water-deficient country, the interventions planned under the loan were aimed at enhancing the economic usage of the scarce resource, improving governance and enhancing technical efficiency.
During the PML-N government’s tenure, the Ministry of Water and Power’s desire to keep control over the project through its grade-21 officer stalled progress on the scheme.
The proposed actions on the institutional capacity building were aimed at timely completion of the current World Bank-funded projects. Project documents showed that due to delay in the construction of ongoing hydroelectric power projects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) would be 1.36% lesser.
In November 2015, the World Bank approved an additional credit of $35 million to scale up project activities and consolidate the gains made under the initial phase. The board had also extended the project implementation period by five years and five months to allow time for the implementation of new and scaled-up activities.
In June 2008, the World Bank initially approved a $38-million loan to improve management and investment planning of water resources in the Indus River system. However, project implementation was slow in the first three years.
There was a plan to increase the number of modern tools operationalised and used for decision-making from two in 2008 to 13 in 2021. No progress could be made on this indicator until today, according to the World Bank report.
The loan had also been secured to upgrade 90 telemetry stations but not even a single station could be upgraded, said the report.
The project design included establishing seven decision support tools for water resource management but there was no progress on this target too, stated the report.
Water balance and flow data could not be made accessible to the public, said the World Bank.
The three successive governments could not carry out one assessment for improved operations of the hydraulic infrastructure in the past 12 years. Due to bureaucratic tussles, work on important studies like upgrading capacity of the Federal Flood Commission in managing floods and upgrading of the Master Plan of Flood Management of Hill Torrents of Pakistan was also delayed.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2020.
NEWS COVERAGE PERIOD FROM FEB 03 TO FEB 09, 2020
WAPDA TO CONTRIBUTE RS271BN TO HYDRO PROJECTS FROM ITS REVENUE
Khalid Hasnain Updated February 03, 2020
LAHORE: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) will contribute Rs271 billion as equity for three mega hydropower projects, it has emerged. This followed after the authority completed three previous much-delayed hydropower projects under a fast-track policy and generated nearly Rs80bn in revenue.
“For the last few years, we introduced a multi-pronged strategy to arrange funds for the completion of various important projects. So far, we have implemented this strategy well on Neelum-Jhelum, Tarbela 4th extension and Golen Gol hydropower projects. These projects helped us earn Rs80bn, increasing our own financial resources and contribution (equity) for three mega projects — Diamer-Bhasha, Dasu and Mohmand dams,” said Wapda Chairman retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain.
“When any work is finished on the dot, it saves money, energy and time. But if it is delayed, several issues come up, including cost escalation,” he told Dawn.
According to a recent report, from Wapda’s Rs271bn equity, Rs176bn will go to Diamer-Bhasha dam (DBD), Rs66bn to Dasu project and Rs29bn will go to Mohmand hydropower project. The authority will recover its equity through tariff which hinges on timely payments by the Central Power Purchase Agency-General within a period of nine years for DBD, five years for Dasu and six years for Mohmand.
Under the financial plan devised for these projects, Rs1300bn has been estimated for the overall DBD which includes Rs234bn provided by the federal government under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), Rs176bn through Wapda’s equity, Rs100bn through local commercial financing and Rs475bn from foreign commercial financing.
Similarly, Rs443bn has been allocated in total for Dasu hydropower project of which Rs66bn will come from Wapda’s equity, Rs80bn from IDA-1/2 credit, Rs37bn from Credit Suisse loan, Rs31bn from export credit agencies, Rs45bn from World Bank, Rs144bn from local financing or Sukuk Bond and Rs3bn from local financing or loan.
For the Rs309bn estimated overall for the Mohmand dam project, Rs114bn will come from PSDP, Rs29bn from Wapda’s equity, Rs33bn from local commercial financing and Rs83bn from foreign currency financing.
For the 4,500MW DBD project with live storage of 6.4 million-acre feet, the bid evaluation process for main civil works of DBD (dam part) is currently under way.
For the 2,160MW Dasu project (stage-1) — a run-of-the-river project with a total installed capacity of 4,320MW — civil work is under way.
And work on the 800MW Mohmand hydropower project — a multipurpose dam with live storage of 0.67 million-acre feet — has also been initiated.
“Wapda is embarking on a disciplined, targeted approach to improve working capital and is taking tactical steps to improve liquidity by accessing the capital markets early enough to obtain favourable terms. Given the need to raise approximately $2.5bn over the next three to four years, we intend to explore the option of a Green Eurobond of benchmark $500 million size for which the authority has concluded two rounds of NDR in the Far East, Dubai and London. A total of 57 institutions were accessed, including leading international institutional investors, private banks and hedge funds,” reads the report.
“Wapda being the largest and bona fide supplier of hydel power has embarked upon a grand plan to develop mega hydropower projects and plans to fast-track them. It will help us to enhance the share of hydropower in the overall generation mix to keep the consumer-end tariff within affordable limits, besides creating a buffer for water security of the country,” said the Wapda chairman.
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2020
NO WATER SHORTAGE FOR KHARIF IF INDENTED QUANTUM PROVIDED, SAYS MINISTER
A Correspondent February 03, 2020
BADIN: Sindh Minister for Agriculture Ismail Rahu has said that the provincial government is focusing more on the agriculture sector and taking all possible measures to provide relief to the farming community.
Speaking to local reporters during his visit to different areas of Badin on Sunday, the minister said there would be no water shortage in the upcoming Kharif season if Sindh was provided water as per its indent.
He confidently stated that the province would produce a bumper wheat crop this year, and held out the assurance that wheat growers would get a fair price of their crop both from Sindh government and millers.
Mr Rahu said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in Sindh was the only provincial government in the country which was ensuring relief to its people despite facing a financial crisis.
He ruled out any threat to the Sindh government, and said those who were daydreaming to topple it were just trying to save their own skin. Such people, he said, would face wrath of the masses for their misrule and misdeeds.
Mr Rahu also warned the ruling coalition at the Centre against any attempt to amend of do away with the 18th Constitutional Amendment. “Such ulterior motives are aimed at control provinces from Centre,” he said.
Criticising policies of the Pakitan-Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government, the minister observed that inflation had gone all-time high and resulted in an unprecedented increase in the prices of essential commodities in the country. He noted that the poor masses were living a miserable life due to the situation, and held the PTI government responsible for it. “The federal government should better step down before it is ousted in a public revolt,” he said.
Mr Rahu said that recent statistics showed that the present government at the Centre was the most incompetent in the country’s history. While it could deliver nothing, it was creating more and more mess due to bad governance, he added.
He alleged that the PTI-led government was causing a rise in the prices of petroleum and other products to ensure financial benefits to those who had financed the party in the past.
He cautioned that the ruling coalition imposed on the masses was exposing the country to grave threats.
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2020a
KOHALA HYDROPOWER PROJECT HITS SNAGS
By Zafar Bhutta Published: February 4, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Kohala Hydropower Project has hit a snag after the Chinese firm refused to accept a dispute resolution plan approved by the government.
Kohala Project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The 1,124 MW project is being developed by Kohala Hydropower Company Private Limited. China Three Gorges Cooperation, IFC and Silk Road Fund are sponsors of the project under the Policy for Power Generation Projects 2002 on a built, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.
The company was issued a Letter of Support on December 31, 2015, which was amended subsequently pursuant to which it is required to achieve financial closing by December 31, 2019.
The project was at an advanced stage towards achieving financial close when the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government stopped its due facilitation for land acquisition and related matters in July 2018 demanding a substantial increase in environmental flow of the project from the already approved level of 30 cumecs in the river Jhelum.
Along with a host of issues with the Chinese developer of this project, water flows had been a major issue in completing the Kohala project. The government had approved a revised plan of water flows to resume work on the project.
In a meeting held on October 2, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had approved additional e-flow releases in Jhelum river below Kohala dam; construction for sewage treatment plans and water bodies as environmental mitigation measures; exclusion of the project from application of commercial code and market rules; inclusion of Chinese Yuan as foreign specified currency for borrowing and repayment of loans as well as its use for tariff indexation.
However, the ECC did not agree with the company’s proposal regarding true up/down for foreign exchange loss or gain in excess of 5% due to delayed payment by power purchaser and delayed payment rate of Kibor plus 4.5% under power purchase agreement.
Officials told The Express Tribune that this decision of the ECC was conveyed to the company. The sponsor company had informed the government of Pakistan that the matter of true up-down of foreign exchange loss or gain due to delayed payment was presented to the board of China South Asia Investment Limited-CSAIL, as the main sponsor, and it had conveyed the new proposal to the government.
It said that any foreign exchange loss or gain in excess of 7% incurred by the company solely due to exchange rate variations from due date for payment of invoice up to the date of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) allowing the company to exchange the payment received from power purchaser into foreign currency will be trued up/down under Tripartite Power Purchase Agreement (TPPA).
The Chinese firm had further proposed the government that the delayed payment rate (DPR) to be agreed under the TPPA and Implementation Agreement will be Kibor plus 2% without compounding provided, however, in case of delay in payment under TPPA beyond 90 days, the delayed payment rate for such further delay in payment will be Kibor plus 4.5% without compounding.
Sources said that the Pakistani authorities had tried to convince the company to accept the decision of the economic decision making body taken earlier but the company had emphasised on position approved by its board after consideration of the matter twice due to incurring actual losses on this account in their other three wind projects.
Officials of the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) said that the China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd (CSAIL) is the lead sponsor in the upcoming three hydropower projects (HPPs) namely 1,124MW Kohala Hydropower Project, 720MW Karot Hydropower Project and 640MW Mahl Hydropower Project.
“The subject statement most probably relates to Kohala Hydropower Project, which is in the advance stages of achieving financial closure. It is not only a priority project of CPEC, but also one of the largest amongst the IPPs with a $2.4-billion investment. There are various proposals under discussion with CSAIL for fast track completion of the project and the same are under finalisation,” said the official.
This demand to address water issue was made amid concerns raised by people of Muzaffarabad after the 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project reduced the environmental flow in river Neelum to mere nine cumecs due to which sewage discharge and social environmental issues erupted in and around Muzaffarabad city.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2020.
AUDIT REPORT FINDS FLAWS IN WB-ASSISTED WATER PROJECT IN SINDH
Amin Ahmed February 05, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Auditor General of Pakistan has observed that the World Bank-assisted ‘Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project’ aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of irrigation water distribution in area water boards of Ghotki, Nara and Left Bank, is at low performance that will ultimately affect the overall performance and achievement of the project.
Key findings of the audit report of the project for the financial year 2018-19, show non-production of record and vouchers, misstatement in use of vehicles, non-recovery of sales tax on services, unauthorised re-appropriation of funds, non-achievement of PC-1 targets, unauthorised regularisation of staff, non-submission of adjustment account, excess drawl of salaries over PC-1 provision, incurrence of expenditure on activities beyond the scope of the project, drawl of loan from AWB and non-transparent hiring of staff.
Pointing out the key issue for the future, the audit report says “the project is going to slow on its pace and has missed its target especially over the component “community development and capacity building” where the targets for the creation of desired number of farmer organisations and construction of dams is yet to achieve”.
The lapses on part of department indicate improper watch and absence of internal controls. The audit mainly recommends that causes of deviations from rules and procedures may be justified, recoveries as pointed out be made and the irregular expenditure may be regularised besides internal controls may also be strengthened to achieve the intended purposes.
The audit report pointed out that while reviewing the records of the project director of Sindh Water Sector Improvement Programme in Hyderabad for the year 2018-19, it was observed that an expenditure of Rs26.457 million was incurred for various purposes, however, relevant vouchers and payments details were not provided.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2020
SIDA CHIEF DECIDES TO REHABILITATE BADIN’S IRRIGATION CHANNEL, CHECK WATER THEFT
The Newspaper’s Staff Correspondent February 05, 2020
HYDERABAD: Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority chairman Abdul Basit Soomro has said poor condition of Akram Wah (lined irrigation channel) is the major irritant in the supply of water to the tail-end areas of Badin district.
Speaking to farmers during his visit to various sections of the channel and later meeting farmers at Alipur Regulator in the district, he said that a plan to rehabilitate the channel had been chalked out.
He found that concrete slabs placed along the dyke of the channel, which had completely been lined in the past, had fallen inside it and this was affecting its water discharge capacity. He noted that the water discharge capacity had diminished significantly.
The Sida chairman revealed that Akram Wah was not carrying the designed discharge from day one due to a technical fault. “Therefore, it is always fed through Phulelli Canal to meet the deficit”, he said, adding that Sindh government had now decided to rehabilitate it and soon a feasibility study would be started. He said its rehabilitation would help improve water supply to tail-end areas of Badin.
‘Akram Wah not carrying designed discharge from day one’
Mr Soomro noted that water theft by unscrupulous elements was another big reason behind failure to ensure water supply to the channel’s tail-end areas. He said that action should be taken against all such elements.
Left Bank Canal’s area water board chairman Qabool Mohammad Khatian said that there had been many complaints about unavailability of water in Badin’s tail-end areas. “That’s why we are visiting different sections of the channel right from its head to the Alipur Regulator,” he said, adding that engineers were asked to remove illegally fixed water-lifting machines and get FIRs lodged against water thieves.
He warned that the engineer concerned would face departmental action if these machines were not removed by his next visit to the channel.
Sida managing director Wali Mohammad Naich called for provision of funds and machinery to remove the concrete slabs from the channel. He said that he had already directed the officials concerned to address those issues which could be resolved easily.
He said that all issues would be covered in the feasibility study [for the rehabilitation of the channel], which would also suggest solutions.
The AWB chairman Mr Khatian also chaired a meeting of the board here on Tuesday to discuss measures to check water theft and ensure a smooth flow of adequate water up to the tail-end areas of Badin district.
Members of the board identified the factors contributing to the issue and stressed the need for carrying out a grand operation to check water theft.
They said water-lifting machines, illegally fixed pipes and breaking of modules to steal water or divert its flow in the left bank canals were the practices that created the problem.
Mr Khatian sought consent of the board members for the operation which they agreed to. He said notices would be issued to farmers asking them to draw water in line with their specified measurement of watercourses and pipes. Subsequently, he added, the water-lifting machines would be removed after one week’s time.
He said open katchehries (public hearings) would be held in Tando Mohammad Khan and Badin districts to hear farmers’ complaints in the presence of the officials concerned.
The meeting decided to share figures of watercourses, machines, pipes and their sizes with law enforcing agencies personnel so that the engineers and officials concerned as well as the security personnel could check them in their surprise visits.
The meetings decided to form several committees comprising board members and engineers to supervise the grand operation. The AWB chairman directed officers to issue such notices as soon as possible to make arrangements for the repair of broken modules and damaged watercourses.
He called for utilising all available resources in this regard.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2020
Editorial February 07, 2020
THE Supreme Court-mandated commission formed in 2016 to look into Sindh’s water and sanitation issues had a gargantuan task. Not only did it have to identify the problems, it had to make recommendations and oversee their implementation. The Supreme Court has now dissolved the commission, while directing the provincial government to implement the body’s suggestions — included in its report submitted to the court in early 2018 — and file a compliance report within a month. One of the commission’s recommendations is that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board conduct a fresh survey of all water supply and drainage schemes and prepare a master plan for water distribution and sanitation in the city. Other suggestions include, among many others, an oversight body to monitor the KWSB, an overhaul of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, a survey of industrial areas by the revamped Sepa, and establishment of appropriately located landfill sites across Sindh.
Official apathy and corruption in the government apparatus — the massive fraud that is the RO plant initiative is but one example — have led to a stage where water and sanitation issues in Sindh are directly responsible for a steep decline in the quality of life. One does not have to travel far in the country’s largest urban centre before the consequences of this criminal neglect become obvious. Drains and natural waterways choked with overflowing garbage, roads inundated with sewage water, etc are all part of the ‘Karachi experience’. The commission’s findings were nevertheless an eye-opener. For instance, it seems there are 750 points of confluence between raw sewage and freshwater bodies — turning the entire 8,000km-long provincial irrigation network into a conduit for faecal material and hazardous organisms. Around 2,000 rural water supply and drainage schemes were found to be dysfunctional largely due to bad governance and the local councils’ incapacity to operate them. None of the sewage treatment plants in Karachi were in working order. Therefore, while the government ostensibly spends billions of rupees annually on these schemes, the people are forced to consume contaminated water and endure unsanitary conditions, thus increasingly falling prey to various water-borne ailments eg hepatitis, typhoid, diarrhoea, etc. The commission’s recommendations have kick-started work to rectify some of the problems, but the Supreme Court must ensure that the Sindh government does not slip back into its old ways. Moreover, those responsible for the dire state of affairs should be held accountable for their crimes.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2020
SHC SEEKS NAMES OF OUTLETS STEALING WATER FROM CANALS
By Our Correspondent Published: February 7, 2020
HYDERABAD: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has expressed displeasure over the Sindh irrigation ministry’s evasion over taking action against outlets that have been stealing water from the irrigation canals.
The Hyderabad circuit bench of Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui and Justice Muhammad Faisal Kamal Alam, during a hearing on Thursday, noted that the ministry had been flouting this court’s March 6, 2018, orders.
Two years ago, the court had directed the irrigation officials to submit a list of such outlets, which are provided after sanction from the highest levels of the Sindh government, operating in the province. The submission was supposed to be followed by across-the-board action for plugging those outlets.
The outlets violate Section 5 of the Sindh Irrigation Act, 1879, according to the petitioners, who apprised the court that in 1999, the provincial government had also promulgated an ordinance to outlaw 107 similar outlets in Sindh.
The bench pointed out that till the recent hearing, the Sindh irrigation secretary had only submitted two files for the relevant outlets. “Under the law, they [the irrigation officials] were required to submit [in the SHC] detailed list of the direct outlets on the main canals which are prohibited under the irrigation laws,” the court stated in its order on Thursday. “But they [the irrigation officials] have made evasive replies since the orders were passed on March 6, 2018.”
The court ordered the Sindh irrigation secretary to submit an affidavit disclosing the number of direct outlets in the province within 10 days, so that further action could be ordered.
Referring to the three identical petitions filed by Mazhar Ali, Ghulam Nabi Shah and Mumtaz Ali against the outlets, the bench noted that this public interest litigation had been pending for a long time. “… they [the petitions] require immediate attention to curtail and curb such exercise,” the bench stated.
Meanwhile, Sindh irrigation Minister Suhail Anwar Siyal, who visited the rehabilitated parts of the Phuleli canal on Thursday, said supplying irrigation water to tail-end farmers is the government’s top priority.
He claimed that after the rehabilitation of Phuleli under the Water Sector Improvement Project (WISP) the water supply has improved to areas in Badin and Tando Muhammad Khan districts which used to complain about the shortage.
He claimed that the provincial government would soon launch the restoration of the Akram canals, which also flows from Kotri barrage like Phuleli, through financing by a World Bank loan.
Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority chairperson Abdul Basit Soomro added that the authority has also rehabilitated three more canals including Nara and Ghotki feeder canals. “After three decades, farmers in the tail-end areas of these three canals have started to receive water,” he claimed.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2020.
CONSTRUCTION WORK ON DAMS UNDER WAY
OUR CORRESPONDENT February 7, 2020
QUETTA. Construction work on 19 dams is underway at a cost of Rs5 billion in 16 districts of Balochistan. “Lack of funds from the federal government is causing delays in construction work on dams.
The construction however will be completed soon,” Project Director 100 Dams Balochistan Shoaib Ahmed Tareen told. He said at least 24 dams were to be constructed initially through federal funds in Balochistan, out of which designs of five dams were sent back for remodification while work was underway on 19 dams in 16 districts.
He said that the work on construction of these dams was slow due to the lack of funds from the federal government, “It is expected that the work on these dams will accelerate after the funds have been released by the federal government and soon the work will be completed,” Tareen said. “about 300 small dams are also being constructed in Qilla Abdullah, which will help raise water levels in the district”, he added. In response to a question, Tareen said the cost of 19 dams in the province was estimated to be over Rs5 billion.
WATER SHORTAGE ISSUE ECHOES IN NA
By Kashif Abbasi | 2/8/2020 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: The water shortage issue in Islamabad echoed in National Assembly on Friday, when ruling party`s legislator told the House that the scarcity of the precious commodity could be gauged from the fact that recently a dead body was given bath with mineral water.
Speaking on the floor of the House, PTI`s MNA from Islamabad Ali NawazAwan,whoisSpecialAssistant to Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Affairs on Friday told the National Assembly that residents of Islamabad have been facing shortage of water but Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) headed by PML-N Mayor is not taking any interest in resolving the issue.
He said the capital city had been receiving 56 million gallon per day (mgd) against the total demand of 120mgd, which had now been reduced to 40mgd after suspension of supply from Khanpur Dam af ter dredging in its left bank canal which takes water to Sanjani filtration plant.
He said no new water reservoir had been constructed during the last two decade for Islamabad, which was fast growing city with over two million populations.
He said a few days ago a dead body was given bath with mineral water in G-10.He said Khanpur Dam supplied 16mgd water to Islamabad, which can be increased to 34mgd.
He said if 34mdg was supplied f rom the dam, water crisis in Islamabad will be resolved.
He said that the Islamabad mayor had no interest in the city`s af f airs, as he spends 10-day of a month in UK and five days in Saudi Arabia for Umrah. He said that residents of G-6, G-7, G-8, G-9, I-10, etc., were facing acute shortage of water.
Mr Awan said the government was focusing on starting Ghazi BrothaProject worth Rs150 billion to provide water to residents of Islamabad.
He said a team was due to visit Khanpur Dam on Monday to explore option how can water supply to Islamabad be increased to 34mgd.
He said the mayor had two billion in MCI`s account, but he was taking no step to fix leaking water pipelines, besides checking water pilferage.
During the last two decades and so no concrete step had been taken to resolve the issue of water scarcity as projects like Ghazi Brotha and Charah Dam exist only in files.
GOVERNMENT GIVES NOD TO FEASIBILITY OF 14 SMALL DAMS
By Muhammad Ilyas Published: February 8, 2020
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has approved to initiate feasibility plan pertaining to the construction of small dams to store rainwater in the Koh-e-Suleiman Range.
Sources said soon the construction of 14 small dams will be started with the help of foreign and local experts.
In the first phase, experts have so far completed their survey to construct small dams at the selected places. A briefing has also been given to Buzdar on the matter and he was informed that this move will lead to resolving the water shortage at Koh Suleiman. Chief Minister Buzdar has approved that work should be started to prepare feasibility and engineering study for the small dams.
Addressing a meeting after the briefing given to him, the chief minister said rainwater was wasted every year in the rivers. “It is very important to preserve this water and use it. We have completed the identification of 14 places for the construction of small dams in Koh-e-Sulaiman. In the first phase, construction of small dams at five places will be started immediately. These places are Haathi Mar, Jalebi Mor, Fazila Chowki and Fort Munro where two dams will be constructed.
The construction of these dams will not only overcome the damage during the rains but the construction of small dams would also provide water for the crops. The chief minister directed the authorities concerned to start work immediately at five places in Koh-e-Sulaiman Range.
After preparing the feasibility plan of the dams, the Punjab government will immediately release the funds so that the construction could begin.
The shortage of water has not only made it difficult for the locals to make a living but will improve after this decision by the government.
In the meantime, the officials also said that the water wastes due to the rains in the summer and winter, but now, according to the research of small dam experts, places are being constructed where the precious water is being lost.
Apart from this, the water level in the area will also be improved allowing farming in the area.
Punjab Chief Minister Buzdar was informed that the construction of the dams would be done at the aforementioned places once the feasibility was completed.
Sources in the Planning and Development department said the government’s priority was to resolve the issue immediately. Later, the government will provide the funds. The funds have been kept in the current fiscal year’s budget to tackle the water problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2020.
‘ISLOOITES FACING CHRONIC WATER SHORTAGE’
APP February 9, 2020
Islamabad : Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Affairs Ali Nawaz Awan on Saturday said scarcity of water is one of the major issue faced by the residents of capital city.
He stated this while addressing an inauguration ceremony of West Water Treatment Plant at UC-1 Saidpur, here on Saturday.
He said efforts were underway to resolve water issue by initiating various water related projects in the capital including water sewage treatment plants.
He said as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding Clean and Green Pakistan, CDA provided land for Saidpur in first phase followed by more plant installations at Union Council (UC) Bhara Kahu, UC Phulgaran and two others.
He said rural development is one of the core agenda items of PTI.
He said excavation works for construction of underpass on Express Highway at G-7-G-8 has also been started as promised.
The SAPM said in last 15 years no water project was initiated in capital city, adding that most areas are facing water scarcity in various sectors.
He said to avert accidents and maintain traffic flow; the incumbent management of the authority has initiated a number of projects including construction of pedestrian bridges.
PTI opposition Leader Metropolitan Corporation Raja Sheraz Kiani was also present on the occasion. The water plant inauguration ceremony was also attended by a large number of people.