ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd) has said that a more integrated mechanism is needed to harness water resources across the country to attain the water, food and energy security of Pakistan.
The comments came while he was briefing a National Security Workshop delegation, National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad. The delegation visited the WAPDA house today, headed by Maj Gen Asif Ali.
The visiting delegation comprised members of the National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh, Legislative Assemblies of AJ&K and Gilgit Baltistan, bureaucrats, officers of the armed forces and members from the civil society.
The chairman informed that WAPDA has been constructing as many as eight mega projects, including Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam and Dasu, to increase preservation and water use by increasing the share of low-cost and environment-friendly hydropower in the National Grid.
These projects, scheduled to be completed one by one from 2022 to 2028-29, will cumulatively add 11 million acre-feet to gross water storage capacity, mitigate floods, irrigate 1.6 million acres of land and generate 9000 megawatt of hydel electricity.
Responding to a question, the Chairman apprised the delegation that WAPDA has been executing the projects with an estimated cost of US$ 26 billion. An innovative financial plan has been devised to arrange funds for Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams’ construction by exploiting its economic strength with less dependence on the national exchequer. WAPDA is the first public sector entity that has been given a stable outlook equivalent to Pakistan by the top three international credit rating agencies globally, i.e. Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor (S&P).
WAPDA is also the first public sector organisation in the country that is about to launch Green Eurobonds. We are planning to raise US$ 2.5 billion through the issuance of bonds in the next five years as per financial needs for construction of our projects, he added.
Dilating upon the factors behind the dismal water situation, WAPDA Chairman briefed the delegation that per capita water availability in the country has come down from 5650 cubic meters in 1951 to an alarming level of 908 cubic meters per annum, pushing Pakistan into the category of water-scarce countries. Pakistan can store only 10% of its annual river flows against the world average of 40%. To tackle the impending water scarcity, we need to have more water storages besides practising exemplary water conservation and management strategies, the Chairman said.