PESHAWAR – The PTI Government in Khyber Pakthunkhwa has constructed eight small and medium dams during last five years, which are irrigating thousands of acres of barren and infertile land in the province.
The constructed water reservoirs include Mardankhel dam, Sarki Logar dam, Gholi Banda dam in Karak, Shahkaleem dam, Gul Dheri dam, Jalozai dam in Nowshera, Dar Malik dam in Kohat, Kandhal dam in Swabi and Palai dam in Charsadda districts, a senior official in Irrigation Department told APP on Sunday. To preserve water resources and strengthen agriculture sector, the PTI government will construct 17 more new small and medium dams in different districts, he said.
These new dams have approved by Provincial Working Development Party (PWDP) last year and a comprehensive mechanism was chalked during first 100 days plan of PTI Govt to expedite pace on these mega projects and efforts would be made to complete these projects by 2023, he addedg
The official said these projects are in addition to 255 mini hydro power stations completed till October 1, 2018 in 12 districts of the province.
The PTI government keeping in view importance of water sector, has allocated Rs 5645 million for 175 water projects including 171 ongoing costing Rs5643.997 million and four new with allocation of Rs1.003 million in current fiscal year. The new projects include construction of Barawai irrigation scheme Matta in Swat, feasibility study of Nakai dam at Nowshera, construction of Chamak Maira dam in Abbottabad, national food protection plan and construction of flood protection works besides irrigation channels in the province.
The irrigation department also completed mega Baizai Irrigation Project in Mardan that would irrigate more than 25000 acre lands in Mardan and Swabi besides completed Balambut Irrigation Scheme in Swat with capacity to irrigate 14000 acres land in Malakand divisions.
He said first-ever water policy has been prepared for effective management, supervision and monitoring of water resources in the province.KP is the first province that prepared a comprehensive water policy under 100 days plan of the PTI Government that would be implemented over next five years, the official said.
He said the policy will deal with key issues like pricing of water at delivery point and provision of free water supply for environmental and ecological requirements to combat challenges posed by climate change and global warming. Water policy for KP was necessitated after the province has signed Pakistan’s first ever water policy and charter during Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting in April this year.
As per the water policy, new Groundwater Authority (GW) will be setup in all provinces including Khyber Pakthunkhwa to ensure sustainability and transparency besides information technology based monitoring system at all divisions point from rivers and reservoirs for compilation and availability of all time data and overall water requirements for agriculture and domestic consumption, the official said.
He said 60 per cent of the population is directly engaged in agriculture, livestock and 80 per cent export of the country is based on these sectors. Agriculture is contributing to 25pc to GDP and employing 44pc of the labour force, and that the country can face drought like situation if new dams were noted constructed by 2030.
The official said around 90 to 95pc of surface water and almost all fresh groundwater is currently used in agriculture due to tube well operations and the province have needed a long term plan for its water’s sustainable management.
The new policy will also focus on increasing of development budget for strengthening of water resources from 3.7pc to 10pc by 2019 and eventually 20 percent by 2030, he said, adding water-starved Pakistan has all the potential to achieve self-sufficiency in food sector through sustainable conservation and management of water resources on scientific lines.