Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Recurring Floods and Droughts in Pakistan

Pakistan has increasingly been suffering from cycles of severe droughts followed by massive floods in the last few years. This recurring pattern of shortage and excess of water gives us a preview of the growing challenge of climate change. This situation calls for a comprehensive water management effort to deal with a potentially existential threat to Pakistan.

Flood-Drought Cycles:

Before the summer floods of 2010, the Indus had turned into a muddy puddle in parts of Sindh. Britain's Financial Times reported at the the time that "angry farmers marched through villages in Sindh demanding access to water. Those who can no longer turn a profit in the fields are increasingly resorting to banditry or migrating to urban shanties".

Earlier, there was a 2009 report by the Woodrow Wilson International Center saying that the melting Himalayan glaciers have exacerbated Pakistan’s shortages. And the World Bank warned that Pakistan could face a “terrifying” 30-40 per cent drop in river flows in 100 year’s time. Now large parts of Sindh are under water for the second year in a row, destroying lives and standing crops.

Growing Water Scarcity:

According to the United Nations' World Water Development Report, the total actual renewable water resources in Pakistan decreased from 2,961 cubic meters per capita in 2000 to 1,420 cubic meters in 2005. A more recent study indicates an available supply of water of little more than 1,000 cubic meters per person, which puts Pakistan in the category of a high stress country. Using data from the Pakistan's federal government's Planning and Development Division, the overall water availability has decreased from 1,299 cubic meters per capita in 1996-97 to 1,101 cubic meters in 2004-05. In view of growing population, urbanization and increased industrialization, the situation is likely to get worse. If the current trends continue, it could go as lows as 550-cubic meters by 2025. Nevertheless, excessive mining of groundwater goes on. Despite a lowering water table, the annual growth rate of electric tubewells has been 6.7% and for diesel tubewells about 7.4%. In addition, increasing pollution and saltwater intrusion threaten the country's water resources. About 36% of the groundwater is classified as highly saline.

So what can Pakistan do to manage these disastrous cycles of floods and droughts?

1. Build Dams and Dykes:

As the flood disaster takes its toll yet again, there are reports of USAID and ADB considering funding the $12 billion Diamer Bhasha Dam in Pakistan. The project is located on Indus River, about 200 miles upstream of the existing Tarbela Dam, 100 miles downstream from the Northern Area capital Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan region. The dam's reservoir would hold so much water that it could have averted last year's devastating floods. It would also provide enough electricity to end Pakistan's crippling shortages, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper. The massive dam on the Indus river would provide 4,500MW of renewable energy, making up for a shortfall causing up to 12 hours of load shedding on daily basis across Pakistan. The reservoir would be 50 miles long, holding 8.5 MAF (million acre feet) of water.

In addition to large dams, there is also a need to build and maintain dykes and start other flood-control projects in flood-prone areas like Badin and Thatta in Sindh.

2. Conserve Water:

Building Bhasha and several other proposed dams will help in dealing with water scarcity, but the growing population will continue put pressure on the vital resource.

Serious conservation steps need to be taken to improve the efficiency of water use in Pakistani agriculture which claims almost all of the available fresh water resources. A California study recently found that water use efficiency ranged from 60%-85% for surface irrigation to 70%-90% for sprinkler irrigation and 88%-90% for drip irrigation. Potential savings would be even higher if the technology switch were combined with more precise irrigation scheduling and a partial shift from lower-value, water-intensive crops to higher-value, more water-efficient crops. Rather than flood irrigation method currently used in Pakistani agriculture, there is a need to explore the use of drip or spray irrigation to make better use of nation's scarce water resources before it is too late. As a first step toward improving efficiency, Pakistan government launched in 2006 a US $1.3 billion drip irrigation program that could help reduce water waste over the next five years. Early results are encouraging. "We installed a model drip irrigation system here that was used to irrigate cotton and the experiment was highly successful. The cotton yield with drip irrigation ranged 1,520 kg to 1,680 kg per acre compared to 960 kg from the traditional flood irrigation method," according to Wajid Ishaq, a junior scientist at the Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology(NIAB).

Beyond the government-funded experiments, there is a drip irrigation company called Micro Drip which is funded by the Acumen Fund. Micro Drip develops and provides products and services as poverty alleviation solutions to small farmers in Pakistan’s arid regions. It provides a complete drip irrigation system along with agricultural training and after-sales support to enable farmers to extract a higher yield from their land at a much lower cost of input.

So what is holding up Pakistan's progress on water management?

1. Lack of Funds:

Pakistani government revenues continue to be limited by slow economic growth and widespread culture of tax evasion. The biggest culprits are the ruling feudal politicians who oppose any attempt to levy taxes on their farm income. The limited resources the state does have are usually squandered on political patronage doled out to ruling politicians' supporters in the form of capricious grants, huge loans (defaulted with impunity), and plum jobs in bloated government and the money-losing state-owned enterprises. The result of this blatant abuse, waste and fraud is that the budget allocations for vital long-term investments in education, health care and infrastructure development projects are regularly slashed thereby shortchanging the future of the nation.

2. Corruption and Security Concerns:

The NY Times recently reported that "Washington’s fears of Pakistani corruption and incompetence has slowed disbursal of the money". The story reinforces the widely-held view that even after the funding is arranged, the corrupt and incompetent politicians and their hand-picked civilian administrators make any development progress slow and difficult. Such problems are further exacerbated by significant security issues in parts of the country severely plagued by ongoing militancy.

Existential Threat:

The Taliban who get all the coverage do not pose an existential threat to Pakistan. Generations of military families have periodically fought FATA insurgencies. For example, Shuja Nawaz, the author of Crossed Swords says that his grandfather, his uncle and his cousin have all been deployed in Waziristan by the British and later Pakistani governments in the last century and a half. American withdrawal from the region will eventually calm the situation in Waziristan, and the rest of the country.

Climate change and the growing water scarcity are the main long-term existential threats to Pakistan and the region. Water per capita is already down below 1000 cubic meters and declining
What Pakistan needs are major 1960s style investments for a second Green Revolution to avoid the specter of mass starvation and political upheaval it will bring.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Political Patronage in Pakistan

Corrupt and Incompetent Politicians

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Culture of Tax Evasion and Aid Dependence

Climate Change in South Asia

US Senate Report on Avoiding Water Wars in Central and South Asia


Anonymous said...

Surprised to see no India bashing ... a welcome change indeed.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Surprised to see no India bashing ... a welcome change indeed."

India is playing its traditional role as a "villain" by objecting to US funding of the much-needed Bhasha dam in Pakistan, something I should have mentioned.

Shams said...

How the f--- will a dam in Gilgit control floods in Sindh when it is the rains in Sindh that are causing the f----- havoc? The goal has to be to build diversion channels in Sindh to areas where water could be stored. There are such locations in low-lying Thar and parts of Sindh Right Bank. But since that water will only be available to Sindh, Pakistan's Punjabi government and news media will never propose that. Neither, unfortunately, do you.

Riaz Haq said...

Shams: "How the f--- will a dam in Gilgit control floods in Sindh when it is the rains in Sindh that are causing the f----- havoc? The goal has to be to build diversion channels in Sindh to areas where water could be stored."

The current floods due to monsoon rain in Sindh could not have been prevented by Bhasha dam, but last year's floods could have been by storing the water that deluged large parts of KPK, Punjab and Sindh.

Building diversion channels downstream and building dams upstream are not mutually exclusive. Both should be done to smooth out water flows and prevent cycles of flooding and droughts....and produce the much-needed electricity as well.

Suhail said...

There are two reason for the floods in Badin this time, as follows:

1- Excessive rainfall, which you've addressed in your mail along with corrective measures.
2- Breaches in the Left Bank Outfall Drain (LBOD) which probably has a bigger impact. LBOD serves the purpose of draining waste water from lower Punjab and northern Sindh (the Seraiki areas) into the Arabian Sea. There is extensive pumping out of subsoil water to reduce salinity in the soil in these regions and all this water drains into the LBOD. Besides, being a drain canal in the originating areas, all surface drains including rainwater drain into LBOD. In southern Sindh the LBOD becomes a dyked canal with the sole purpose of carrying the run off water from the north into the sea. Over the years discharge through LBOD has increased while the dykes are weakened because of lack of maintenance, thus causing this present disaster. To redress this situation, LBOD needs to be expanded and strengthened. Similarly, there is an RBOD serving the same purpose on the other side of the Indus. There were no breaches in RBOD this time but can happen in future affecting Thatta and vicinity.

Shams said...

Last year's flooding in Sindh was much bigger than this year because the nearly 30 inches of rain in Sindh was added to by KPK and Punjab rain outflows, which caused the bursts in nearly all dykes. Last year, Tarbela Dam storage never reached more than 80 percent of its designed capacity and there were calls to blast the glaciers on K2 to get more water in.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on how Pakistani scientists view the latest Sindh floods:

ISLAMABAD: A weather scientist on Friday blamed climate change for the unprecedented torrential monsoon rains in Sindh that have caused severe flooding in the 16 districts of Sindh province.

“If we look at the frequency and the trend of the extreme weather events impacting Pakistan then it is easy to find its linkage with climate change,” said Dr. Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry Advisor, Climate Affairs in a statement here.

The pattern of recent extreme weather events in Pakistan show clear indication of increased frequency and intensity of such events in Pakistan which is in line with the international climate change projections, he added.

Dr Qamar, who is also the lead author and architect of the country’s first Draft National Climate Change Policy, said Pakistan is heading for increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, which includes frequent floods and droughts.

“We need to adapt and plan for that,” he said and added, the formulation of Draft National Climate Change Policy is the first step in this direction.

He said the rains in Sindh are the highest ever recorded monsoon rains during the four weeks period. Before the start of these rains in the second week of August, Sindh was under severe drought conditions and it had not received any rainfall for the last 12 months.

The last severe rainfall flooding in Sindh occurred in July 2003, he said and added, but this time the devastating rains of 1150 mm in Mithi, Mirpurkhas 676 mm, Diplo 779 mm, Chachro 735 mm, N. Parker 792 mm, Nawabshah 547 mm, Badin 512 mm, Chhor 456 mm, Padidan 381 mm Hyderabad 249 mm etc during the four weeks period have created unprecedented flood situation in Sindh.

According to Dr. Qamar, the total volume of water fallen over Sindh during the four weeks is estimated to be above 37 million acre feet, “which is unimaginable.”

He said that the rainfall was predicted well in advance by Met Office and the disaster management agencies were well prepared. “But the scale of this natural calamity combined with the topography of the area having very poor natural drainage. Most of water stagnates and breaches in LBOD and irrigation channels further complicated the scale of flooding.”

Dr. Qamar said that it was also forecast that in Pakistan climate change would be causing considerable increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coupled with erratic monsoon rains causing frequent floods and droughts, and increased temperature would result in enhanced heat and water stress conditions, particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions.

Anonymous said...

u know this could be one of US weather manipulation weapons being used to create unrest in PAkistan.

Too much of a coincidence two mega innundations in 2 years and NOTHING of the sort in next door India amreeka's new best buddy in Asia

For further details:

Scary stuff if they have anything near this capability!

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Too much of a coincidence two mega innundations in 2 years and NOTHING of the sort in next door India amreeka's new best buddy in Asia"

I guess you are unaware of the climate change crisis in India that is increasing rural poverty and driving thousands of farmers to suicide.

Mohan said...


US manipulates the weather ? If they could do that, they would have done so in China.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting excerpt from a report about Pakistan's power sector published in Miami Herald:

There is no place where the country's energy shortage isn't profound. Rural areas are without electricity for up to 16 hours a day while towns often go without for as many as 12 hours daily, forcing factories to close and plunging homes into darkness.

Natural gas supplies are rationed, with factories in the country's most populous province, Punjab, going without two days a week.

Pakistan's economic output is cut by at least 4 percent because of the shortages, the government estimates, something that hampers the country's hopes to battle extremism by creating more economic opportunities. The outages also feed political discontent, triggering frequent, if local, street protests.

Solving the energy problems is a top priority for the United States' aid program, with a State Department delegation here this week, led by Ambassador Carlos Pascual, the Obama administration's special envoy on international energy affairs.

But Pakistan's plans for a 1,700-mile natural gas pipeline from Iran, which would provide Pakistan with a cheaper source of fuel for electricity generation, is a stumbling block.
Despite Pakistan's huge hydroelectric potential, it hasn't built a big dam project since the 1970s. Since the U.S.-backed government of President Asif Zardari was elected in 2008, a mushrooming chain of "circular" debt has enveloped the power sector.

The government has assumed $3.6 billion of the power industry's debt. The government-owned power grid owes another $2.5 billion to private-sector generators, even as the government, according to Finance Ministry figures, spent at least $7.4 billion on electricity subsidies during the 2008-2010 period.

Washington and international lenders such as the International Monetary Fund have repeatedly urged Pakistan to cut subsidies, which anemic government finances cannot afford.

Critics say that the government hasn't added to the electricity infrastructure in its three-and-a-half year term, while sinking billions of dollars into unproductive subsidies and taking on debt.

Of the $3.6 billion debt the government assumed, half were bills the government itself hadn't paid, said Ejaz Rafiq Qureshi, the spokesman of the Pakistan Electric Power Co., the state-owed national electricity grid. The rest is owed by private consumers.

At the end of August, a group of nine private power plants demanded that the government pay them within 30 days $540 million it owed for power generation.

Roughly half of Pakistan's current electricity output of 13,000 megawatts comes from the private generators. But there is more capacity that the government doesn't use. Government-owned equipment that could generate another 2,000 megawatts has been sidelined because of poor maintenance. Private equipment that could generate another 2,500 megawatts has been taken out of service because the government hasn't paid its bills, said Abdullah Yusuf, who represents the private producers. Combined, that amounts roughly to the entire immediate shortfall.

"If you had this capacity available, straight away your problem would be solved," said Yusuf.

A longer-term energy project is Pakistan's proposed $12 billion Diamer Basha dam, which would add 4,500 megawatts to Pakistan's electricity generating capacity. Washington is considering providing significant funding to the project. Separately, the U.S. Agency for International Development is currently working on projects that will add 900 megawatts to the Pakistani grid next year.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a US State Dept blog post on US AID efforts for energy projects in Pakistan:

The United States and Pakistan reviewed progress on ongoing energy programs and recommitted themselves to pursuing practical solutions to Pakistan's energy needs during the latest Pakistan-United States Energy Dialogue this week. Ambassador Carlos Pascual, U.S. Department of State Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs, joined Pakistani Minister of Water and Power Naveed Qamar to reaffirm the partnership. They met September 14-15 in Islamabad.

"As all Pakistanis know, reliable and affordable energy is critical to Pakistan's prosperity. Without it, businesses can't operate and families can't light and cool their homes. Pakistan's future depends on power," Ambassador Pascual said at the opening of the Dialogue. "There are no quick fixes to this crisis, but the United States and international partners are willing to help. We will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to resolve this energy crisis."

Ambassador Pascual reaffirmed the United States' long-term commitment to working with Pakistan to establish a commercially-viable and sustainable power sector. During the Dialogue, the U.S. and Pakistan reviewed ongoing cooperation in the energy sector. USAID highlighted its ongoing energy programs, which will bring more than 900 MW of power to the Pakistani grid by 2012. The programs include construction and rehabilitation of three hydropower plants (Satpara, Gomal Zam and Tarbela) and three thermal power plants (Guddu, Muzafargarh, and Jamshoro).

This extra energy will bring power to approximately 7 million people, eradicate 20 percent of Pakistan's existing power shortage, reduce annual oil imports by more than one million barrels and help store water for irrigation and flood control. The increases to the energy sector will also bring job opportunities for as many as 2.5 million heads of households.

The U.S. delegation welcomed Pakistan's plans, elaborated in the Integrated Energy Sector Recovery Report and Plan, to put the power sector on a commercially-viable and sustainable path. In the Dialogue, Pakistan underscored its commitment to strengthen energy sector governance and efficiency, pursue regulatory reforms, improve financial management, and create a business climate that helps drive investment.

Key topics of discussion at the energy dialogue included: an overview of the power sector and challenges it faces; the current policy and regulatory framework, and possible reforms; availability of primary fuels; the role of the private sector; and regional energy initiatives.

The U.S. underscored that these measures will help develop a stronger foundation for investment. Both sides agreed to continue technical exchanges in areas that can help improve power availability. The U.S. also welcomed Pakistan's continued engagement with international financial institutions and the private sector to assess feasibility of viable hydropower projects and appreciates its commitment to international environmental and societal standards, while also focusing on the importance of water management.

Anonymous said...

Habib said...

In Pakistan everybody is cutting trees from the forest areas for cooking and heat in cold season because there is no electricity most of the time. Outside of Islamabad area politicians are not doing anything because Taliban is cutting trees without permission to supply the poor people. I think we need trees to prevent flood.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Forbes story blaming drought as the main cause of an Indian farmer committing suicide every 30 minutes:

Bt cotton seeds are genetically modified to produce an insecticide that kills Bollworm, a common cotton pest in India. In 2002, the government of India allowed Monsanto to start selling Bt cotton to farmers in India. In the years since, Bt cotton has pervaded cotton farming in India.

As CHRGJ sees it, the problem is this:

Farmers take out loans to purchase the [Bt cotton] seeds, but when the crop fails due to lack of access to water, they often fall into debt. Many kill themselves by consuming the very pesticide they went into debt to purchase.

Bt cotton bears at least partially blame for these tragedies, according to CHRGJ, because it is more water intensive than other cotton seeds. The report cites studies showing that “Bt cotton performs better under irrigated conditions.”

In 2006, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India evaluated the performance of Bt cotton in India based on a survey of Bt cotton farmers and agricultural data. The final study concluded that the yields obtained with irrigation are typically higher than those without irrigation, but that:

in all cases, the yields of Bt cotton are higher than the yields of Non-Bt cotton . . . The results indicate a sizeable impact of Bt cotton on the yield and value of output under both irrigated and unirrigated conditions.

This finding is corroborated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Long-term Agricultural Projections for last year, which described the impact Bt cotton has had on cotton yields in India:

Improved cotton yields in India, largely due to the adoption of hybrid cotton containing the Bt gene, have raised India’s production and exports in recent years. Yield growth is projected to continue as the area planted to hybrid cotton expands and cultivation practices improve. The increase in cotton output is expected to enable India to increase domestic textile production and exports. Its export volume has already surpassed those of Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, and it is expected to maintain this rank throughout the forecast period.

In any event, it should not come as a huge surprise to most cotton farmers that access to water is essential to crop performance. Cotton is an especially thirsty plant. It can take more than 25,000 liters of water to produce a single kilogram of cotton. To put this in perspective, it takes only 500 liters of water to produce a kilogram of potatoes.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune update on Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric project:

ISLAMABAD: As Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) completes 28 per cent work on the 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, the cost of which has gone up from Rs84 billion to Rs333 due to inordinate delay, Pakistan is pushing China to release the promised $500 million loan to bridge the shortfall of funds.

The cost of the project has increased after it was redesigned in the wake of the 2005 earthquake. Work on the project is progressing but the shortfall of funds and issues in land acquisition are still problems that need to be addressed to complete the project.

Wapda has also had to procure two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) at the cost of Rs17 billion to overcome the delay of two and half years. “We will be able to reduce implementation time by two years by using TBMs that are expected to reach Karachi by January 25, 2012,” sources said.

Average completion level on the project is 28%. Some areas are progressing better, like the powerhouses, which are at 40% completion.

In the powerhouse, four turbines with a capacity of 242MW each will be set up. A separate plant of 45MW will also be set up at the diversion tunnel which was completed on October 15. A total of 60 kilometres of tunnels have to be completed including 35.6 kilometres of tunnels needed to push water to drive the turbines.

“As much as 17 kilometres have been completed,” sources said adding that work was underway on the coffer dam that is expected to be completed by February next year.

Sources said that a consortium of six banks including Exim Bank of China is providing financing for the project. “We are pushing Exim Bank of China to extend a $500 million loan to bridge the shortfall of funds,” sources said adding that other banks in the consortium were also being asked to extend additional $700 to $800 million loans.

The project cost has escalated on different accounts including Rs38 billion due as interest on loan, Rs45 billion on account of depreciation of rupee against dollar, from Rs45 to Rs86. Further cost increases were because of rate of land acquisition and procurement of two TBMs that cost Rs17 billion.

The government is to procure total 3,900 kanals of land out of which about 68 kanals is still outstanding, including the crucial portion of about 18 kanals for which payment of Rs1.2 billion has already been made to the AJK government.

“Despite payment, local people are reluctant to hand over land which may further delay the completion of the project,” sources added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Express Tribune report on ADB financing of Bhasha dam:

Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for technical and financial cooperation in the construction of multi-billion-dollar Diamer-Bhasha Dam.

The MoU will be inked next week, said the Ministry of Water and Power after a meeting between Water and Power Minister Naveed Qamar and the Manila-based lending agency’s Director of Energy Wing Rune Stroem on Friday.

Stroem is leading a delegation to assess detailed engineering design of the dam, which will store 8.5 million acre feet of water for irrigation purposes and generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity.

The delegation, the first formal mission on Diamer-Bhasha Dam, will also review the cost component and consider options to make it a bankable project, as the ADB alone cannot finance the full cost estimated at $11.2 billion.

The government and the ADB also agreed to organise roadshows in three different countries with the assistance of international lenders, equipment suppliers and others concerned for seeking co-financiers for the project, said the water and power ministry.

An official of the Economic Affairs Division said the ADB has not yet formally conveyed the exact size of the loan but there are indications that the agency may extend up to $4.5 billion that will meet 40 per cent of financing needs.

After a refusal in 2008, the World Bank also recently expressed its willingness to finance the project, said the official. The US has also committed to financing the project under the Kerry-Lugar Act, but it also has not given the exact size of its share in the financing.

Stroem said the mission was giving highest priority to Diamer-Bhasha Dam and looking for its early execution. Praising the progress made so far on the project and the efforts to resolve related matters, he said the project would help improve socio-economic life of people and bring prosperity in the country.

Naveed Qamar said the ADB’s role as lead financier of the project would help attract other donors and sponsors to fund mega projects in Pakistan. He said the project would be a milestone for the country’s economy and meet water and power needs.

The government is attaching high priority to the project and has completed all formalities for its construction, hinting at its approval at the Council of Common Interests, the highest constitutional body on inter-provincial matters.

Qamar said most of the land for the project had been acquired and the resettlement package was being implemented. The ADB mission also discussed the energy efficiency programme and matters relating to other mega water and power projects being executed by the government with the cooperation of the bank.

Stroem said the bank was also considering various other projects for financial and technical assistance in the water and power sector.

Matters relating to power sector reforms and rehabilitation of electricity generation companies were also discussed. The mission was told that rehabilitation of power companies was under way, which would be completed at the earliest.

Riaz Haq said...

ADB asks Pakistan to tie all loose ends to proceed with Bhasha dam construction, according to Daily Times:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the lead financer of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam on Tuesday suggested Pakistan to focus on resolution of revenue sharing issue between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) as well as affected population and address issues of environment degradation for smooth execution of the mega project.

ADB’s Head of Energy Division Rune Stroem while speaking to a select group of journalists along with the ADB’s Country Director to Pakistan Werner Liepach after conclusion of his visit to Pakistan aimed at ‘critically reviewing the mega project’. He said, “ADB is fully aware that there will be strong debate on revenue sharing and ADB can give advice but at the end the issue will have to be decided by the Council of Common Interests.” The KP government is disputing over the ownership of 18 kilometres long belt with GB government in a bid to get share in income from the power generation. The GB legislative assembly has passed the resolution against the provincial government claim and intends to take the matter to the Supreme Court if it is not amicably resolved.

“Pakistan has not been focusing on social aspects of the project as much as one could hope,” Stroem said and added that the success of the project hangs on local people satisfaction with resettlement activities. “The resettlement work has been done but still there are gaps where the government needs to bring in improvement as per international standards,” he added.

Explaining the gaps, Stroem said individual activities were going on at relatively small scale and lots of pilot projects have been initiated. He said the legal dispute over sharing of revenues between GB and KP has to be worked through and on environment no sufficient work has been done yet.

Stroem said there was a need to ensure minimum water flows during storage to offset negative impact on the environment. He said no water flows at the time of construction and storage will have adverse affects.

Having an estimated cost of $11.20 billion the project is planned to be completed in 12 years that will generate 4,500 megawatts (MW) electricity besides storing 8.5 million acres feet water for agriculture purposes. The project’s groundbreaking has been performed twice. The ADB official said that the agency has not yet fully assessed the price and completion period but the total cost may change due to price escalation.

Stroem said that an unwritten agreement has been reached with the government. According to that the ADB will play its role as senior lender, co-financer and will be the financial adviser to Pakistan on the project. He said next week both the parties will review the draft of the Memorandum of Understanding that clearly defines the role of the ADB in project execution.

He said the project can’t be donor-driven instead the government is the primary driver and it’s cognizant of the fact. The ADB was helping the government to structure the project and make it bankable. “It is the most complex and the most comprehensive project the ADB has ever financed.”

Liepach said that the ADB has not yet framed clear views on the dam financing requirements but the export credit will be major source of financing. Other than the export credit the international financial institutions and commercial financing would also be availed to complete the project, he added. Stroem said the Water and Power Development Authority will evaluate the bids for the project but the ADB will also review to ensure transparency. The ADB has strong anti-corruption policies and the agency’s involvement will give more credit to the project, he added.\12\14\story_14-12-2011_pg5_9

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Dr. Ataur Rahman's Op Ed in The News on building Pakistan's knowledge economy:

Agriculture represents the backbone of our economy. It can serve as a launching pad for transition to a knowledge economy, as it has a huge potential for revenue generation. But that can happen only if agricultural practices are carried out on scientific lines and use of technology maximised. The four major crops of Pakistan are wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane. They contribute about 37 percent of the total agricultural income and about nine percent to the GDP of Pakistan.
Wheat is the most important crop of Pakistan, with the largest acreage. It contributes about three percent to the GDP. The national average yield is about 2.7 tons per hectare, whereas in Egypt the yields are 6.44 tons per hectare and in European countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom they are above seven tons per hectare. We presently produce about Rs220 billion worth of wheat. If we can boost our yields to match those of Egypt, it can generate another Rs350 billion, allowing us to systematically pay off the national debt and make available funding for health and education.

However, the government has been reluctant to invest in research, water reservoirs and dams and extension services so that the country continues to suffer. Some progressive farmers in irrigated areas have been able to obtain yields of 6-8 tons per hectare but they are very much a minority. In rain-fed areas the yields are normally between 0.5 tons to 1.3 tons per hectare, depending on the region and amount of rainfall. In irrigated areas the yields are normally higher, in the range of 2.5 tons to 3.0 tons per hectare. Improved semi-dwarf cultivars that are available in Pakistan can afford a yield of wheat between 6-8 tons per hectare. It is possible to increase the yields substantially with better extension services, judicious use of fertilisers and pesticides, and greater access of water from storage reservoirs and dams that need to be constructed.

Cotton represents an important fibre crop of Pakistan that generates about Rs250 billion to the national economy, and contributing about two percent to the national GDP. Pakistan is the fourth-largest producer of cotton in the world, but it is ranked at 10th in the world in terms of yields. The use of plant biotechnology can help to develop better cotton varieties. Bt cotton produces a pesticide internally and safeguards the plant against chewing insects. The yields of Pakistani seed cotton and cotton fibre are both about half those of China. A doubling of cotton yields is doable and it can add another Rs250 billion to the national economy.


The failed system of democracy in Pakistan is strongly supported by Western governments. It serves Western interests as it leads to docile and submissive leaders who serve their foreign masters loyally. The stranglehold of the feudal system thrives with no priority given to education. More than parliamentarians have forged degrees and the degrees of another 250 are suspect. The Supreme Court decision of verification of their degrees is flouted and ignored by the Election Commission. The bigger the crook, the more respect he is given by the government and the biggest crooks are conferred the highest civil awards. The economy has nosedived and we are today ranked among the bottom six countries of the world in terms of our expenditure on education.

Riaz Haq said...

Saudi Arabia to help rebuild devastated water networks in Pakistan's flood-hit areas, reports Arab News:

Saudi Arabia signed an agreement in Riyadh on Monday with the local chapter of UNICEF to rebuild a massive water supply network in Pakistan devastated by ravaging floods.

The move follows an instruction from Crown Prince Naif, deputy prime minister and interior minister, who authorized Saudi officials to finance the repairing and renovation of some 76 potable water networks to ensure a clean and regular water supply to flood-hit families in the country’s Balochistan province.

“The cooperation agreement was signed by Saeed A. Al-Harthi, advisor at the Ministry of Interior; and Ibrahim Al-Ziq, UNICEF representative to the GCC,” said a statement released by the ministry.

The statement said this support from the Kingdom comes within the framework of the ongoing King Abdullah's Relief Campaign for Pakistani People (KARCPP), which has so far raised more than SR400 million to help people affected by floods in Pakistan.

Crown Prince Naif, who is also the KARCPP's general supervisor, has ordered the implementation of the water project, which will cost more than SR6 million.

Clean drinking water is not available in flood-hit areas even today because the entire water supply network was destroyed during the floods, said a Pakistani embassy official. “The water safety situation in Balochistan worsened as a result of the flooding and this also resulted in existing water sources being contaminated,” he added.

A month of incessant monsoon rains in the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh left at least 7 million people affected and claimed more than 400 lives recently. It was the second year running that disastrous flooding hit Pakistan and many of this year's victims had only just begun to rebuild their lives.

Balochistan is one of the five provinces of Pakistan. With an area of 347,190 square kilometers, it is the largest province of Pakistan with about 9 million people and constituting approximately 44 percent of the total landmass of the country.

Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of efforts to help the people of Pakistan. The Kingdom was the largest donor to Pakistan's flood relief effort.

As part of the campaign, Saudi citizens and Pakistani expatriates cumulatively raised more than SR80 million in a separate campaign. Saudi Arabia was also the first and the only country to set up two field hospitals to Pakistan to provide medical services for flood victims there.

The Kingdom has also contributed about SR60 million to UNICEF to support polio eradication in Niger. The funds will be used to purchase oral polio vaccines and other accessories to allow the government of Niger and its partners to immunize up to 3.77 million children.

Riaz Haq said...

German tunnel boring machines (TBMs) worth Rs 8bn to reach Pakistan by end of Jan 2012 for Neelum-Jhelum dam project, reports Daily Times:

LAHORE: The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is installing two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) at a cost of Rs 8 billion on 969 megawatts (MW) – Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project to reduce construction period of the project by about 18 months aimed at estimated benefit of Rs 60 billion.

The two German-manufactured TBMs, being imported by the contractor, are expected to reach Pakistan by the end of this month.

WAPDA Chairman Shakil Durrani stated this while briefing the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeem-ul-Haq during their visit to Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project components including underground powerhouse, weir site, diversion tunnel, de-sander and main tunnels etc. Federal Secretary Planning Asif Bajwa, AJK Chief Secretary Muhammad Shahzad Arbab, Planning Commission Member Energy Shahid Sattar, WAPDA Member (Water) Raghib Abbas Shah, Member (Power) Muhammad Qasim Khan and senior officers concerned were also present during the visit.\01\14\story_14-1-2012_pg5_16

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts from The Nation story on $513 million ADB loan for water and power projects in Pakistan:

Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) has singed two loan agreements worth of $513.24 million that included $270 million for the tranche-2 of the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Investment Programme (PIAIP) and $243.24 million for tranche-3 of the Power Transmission Enhancement Investment Programme.

Secretary Irrigation Department Punjab and Country Director Asian Development Bank in Pakistan have signed the first agreement of "Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Investment Programme (PIAIP) Tranche-II". This agreement aims at sustainable improved delivery of services for irrigated agriculture and better water management in Punjab. The project aims to provide reliable irrigation supplies to the Lower Chenab Canal Command area.

According to the agreement this project would include construction of a new barrage complex to be located approximately 275 meters downstream of the exiting Khanki Headwork on the river Chenab, which new barrage complex shall include a main weir and under sluice; gats and hosting arrangements; and operating deck and access road bridge. Construction of a canal head regulator adjacent to the new barrage and a lead channel to the existing lower Chenab canal and the dismantling of the existing Khanki Headwork and provision of implementation support to the project executing agency for construction supervision and management expenses of PMO barrage. The project is expected to be completed by the 30th June 2016. Secretary Economic Affairs Division and Country Director Asian Development Bank in Pakistan singed the second agreement Power Transmission Enhancement Investment Programme tracnhe-III.

This agreement targets to enhance the efficiency of the overall power transmission system and to provide an adequate and reliable power supply to a greater number of commercial, industrial and residential consumers. The projects shall comprise following, a new 600km 500 KV transmission line from Jahmshoro to Moro, Daudu and Rahim Yar Khan, a new 500 KV grid stations a Moro and expansion/ augmentation of 3 existing 500 KV grid stations at Jamshoro. Dadu and Rahim Yar Khan. A new 125 KM 220 KV transmission line from UCH-II power plant to the 220-grid station at Sibbi, and a connection between the UCH-I and UCH-II power plants. A new 200 KV grid station at Mansehra and procurement of transmission system equipment. This project is expected to be completed by 31st December 2015.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Part 1 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:

The fertile alluvium deposited by the mighty Indus river and its tributaries in Pakistan have given the country’s demographic heartland of Punjab an agrarian edge. Yet, errant canal planning and over-pumping from tube-wells have degraded vast tracts of land. Salinity and water-logging afflicts around 6.3 million hectares of land and an additional 4,000 hectare of land gets affected every year (estimates from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, November 2011). Climate change and conflicts over hydroelectric impoundment infrastructure have also made the arable lands of the country further vulnerable to flooding, as we saw in the epic floods of 2010 when an estimated 20 million people were displaced.

Amidst all these challenges to the farming economy of the country, there are glimmers of hope that Pakistan’s elite are trying to reconnect with the land in sincere and innovative ways. During my last trip to Lahore – the capital of Punjab province and Pakistan’s second-largest city (after Karachi), I was heartened to see urbanites retreating to farms in the surrounding countryside. Previously such farms were merely ornamental playgrounds of wealthy families but now there is a growing interest in these ranks to reconnect with the earth for societal good.

Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.

Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year..

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Part 2 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:

...Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in his family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!

Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some promises by WAPDA as reported in The News:

“WAPDA is also working on projects that will generate 35,500 MW of hydroelectricity including 22,800 MW run of the river projects,” WAPDA Chairman Sahkeel Durrani said.

“We are committed to ensure that Pakistan takes full advantage of its hydroelectricity production potential,” he said.

The first unit of 96 MW hydropower project at Jinnah Barrage has already been commissioned and it would start operating on full capacity by the end of this year, he said.

Durrani said that the 121 MW Allai Khwar project at Battagram is almost complete and would start generating power within few months.

“Duber Khwar - a 130 MW hydroelectric project at Kohistan, is scheduled to generate full power by December 2012,” he added. In addition Satpara Dam is generating 17.36 MW of hydroelectricity.

The 72 MW Khan Khwar hydropower project in 2011 is already generating its installed capacity, Durrani said.

“This is a humble contribution of WAPDA to reduce the gap between demand and supply of electricity,” he said.

Work on high capacity hydroelectricity projects is in full swing. He said the feasibility study and detailed engineering and design of 7,100 MW Bunji project in Gilgit Baltistan has been completed and is currently under review of WAPDA experts.

He said feasibility study of Dasu Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkwa has been completed. This dam he added would store 1.15 million acres of water and produce 4320 MW hydro electricity. “Consultants for preparation of detailed design and tender documents have been mobilized,” he added.

“Hydroelectric power projects having the potential to recover cost in short time are darlings of world donor agencies,” he said. Finances for such projects are available with much ease than other power projects.

There are 17 run of the river power generation sites that have been identified by WAPDA experts and work on the feasibility studies on most of them have been initiated.

These include some high power potential projects like 2100 MW Tungas, 2800 MW Yulbo at Sakurdu, 2800 MW Thakott at Besham and 2800 Patan at Patan.

He expressed confidence that the speed of work at Neelum Jehlum Hydroelectric Project would accelerate as the high tech tunnel boring machines have arrived at site. He said this would help WAPDA to complete the 969 MW power project on schedule in 2016.

Durrani said the 496 MW Lower Spat Gah; 665 MW Lower Palas Valley; and 600 MW Mahl; run of the river projects would be completed under Public Private Partnership. He hoped that the private sector would come forwards to grab this lucrative opportunity.

Chairman Water and Power Development Authority hoped that resources for 896 MW Tarbela (extension) and 1401 MW Munda Dam would be soon mobilized. Munda with a storage capacity of 1.3 million acres feet (MAF) would also act as buffer against floods in Khyber Pakhtumkhwa.

He said Mangla raising would add 2.88 MAF of water in the reservoirs. He said 34 MAF additional water storage would be available after completion of Munda Dam, Dasu Dam, Gomasl Zam Dam and Satpara Dam. He said Diamer Basha and Khurram Tungi Dam - both of which are ready for construction would add 9.3 MAF in water reservoirs.

He said the current water storage capacity in the country is 11.91 MAF after depletion of 4.37 MAF due to silting in the existing dams.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on need for water conservation:

FAISALABAD: Adoption of modern water conservation methods and agricultural practices is imperative to cope with water scarcity as Pakistan has been placed in red zone due to low per capita water availability at 1,000 cubic metres.

These were the views of speakers who addressed a seminar titled “Remote sensing and hydrological modelling for irrigation water management”, organised by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage and Water Management Research Centre, University of Agriculture Faisalabad on Saturday.

University Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad said Pakistan was on the verge of water scarcity and should take extra measures to fight the challenge by creating awareness. In 2050, he said, the water situation would be alarming with per capita water availability at 550 cubic metres.

India has 1,600 cubic metres of water per person per year while major European countries have up to twice as much ranging from 2,300 cubic metres in Germany to 3,000 cubic metres in France. Ahmad said remote sensing could help get important data on crop production and irrigation needs.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an Express Tribune Op ed on water-food-energy triangle:

Food production requires water and energy, the extraction of water requires energy, and energy production requires water. Food prices are highly sensitive to energy costs – which indirectly affect the GDP of a country as high costs of processing, irrigation, fertiliser and transportation affect production and lead to lower exports.

This nexus poses a challenge to governments and population. The lack of energy security, lower agriculture yields and higher cost of relief goods is leading us towards unrest and uncertainty. This threatens our masses, our government and our business as 70 % of our country’s production is dependent on our agricultural sector.

Hunger and poverty are on the rise while we remain clueless about the future. Our reservoirs need to be secure and more dams need to be constructed faster, as draught and famine are fast turning into a possibility.

Agriculture, in Pakistan or elsewhere, consumes more than 70% of global water demand. For example, countries that produce meat require up to 20,000 litres of water for every kilogramme of meat produced, compared to at least 1,200 litres to produce a kilogram of grain. We do not realise the need for secure water resources due to illiteracy and lack of community awareness.

Climate change, in the shape of torrential rains, has also affected our country; we are one of the few countries facing a chronic food emergency today.

Economists forecast that global demand for energy will increase by 40% by 2030, and that this energy will draw heavily on freshwater resources. Over 75% of global demand for energy from 2012-2030, will be dependant on fossil fuels – predominantly coal. The Thar coal reserves need to be developed rapidly, as this is the only way to ensure job security, resource mobilisation, income and prosperity for the population. It makes good business sense for leaders to work on this. Furthermore, we have to ensure fast-tracked building of dams between now and 2015, a failure to do so may lead us to bankruptcy, as people will lose faith in the nation’s ability to sustain itself and business will suffer colossal damages.

We need good business and we need to understand the difference between dependency on others and self reliance. Bad governance is a major issue in Pakistan, eating up business and politics and leading us to ruins. Pakistan faces risks ahead as its next big war will not be over power or money – it will be over food, water or energy. All are vital as we struggle to survive. For Pakistan, failure is not an option.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on financing of the Neelum-Jhelum project:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan desperately needs $704 million to complete the strategic Neelum-Jehlum hydropower project on time as the current available capital is only enough for four to five months, sources in the ministry of water and power told The News.

“The cost of the project has swelled to over Rs333 billion for which the Planning Commission is evaluating the revised PC-1 of the project which will be given approval by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec),” a senior official, who is directly involved in the project, said.

“Pakistan needs a credit line at any cost to maintain the ongoing pace of construction of the project, otherwise project would get delayed,” the official added.

If the project is not completed on time by 2016, India would find itself in a better position to first complete the Kishan-Ganga hydropower project on the Neelum River in the held Kashmir.

Under the Water Treaty, the country which completes the project first on Neelum river will have the first water priority rights. Pakistan is already in a legal battle at the International Court of Arbitration in Hague against India over faulty design of the Indian project.

Keeping in view the strategic emergency of the project, the official said, Pakistan needs $704 million and in this regard the government is under dialogue with various donor countries.

“China has already committed $483 million loan, but it has delayed the disbursement of the credit line,” the official said and added that the Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani is scheduled to visit Beijing some time this month and top priority of the agenda of the premier is to ensure the credit line from the EXIM Bank of China.

“Similarly, Islamic Development Bank has also committed $326 million for the project and the authorities in Pakistan are seeking additional $255 million.”

Moreover, the Saudi Development Fund has also committed $80 million but authorities are asking them to increase the credit line to up to $230 million, the official said. However, negotiations to this effect between Pakistan and Saudi Arab are underway. The UAE has also committed $100 million. The OPEC Fund has also indicated to extend $31 million which may go up to $80 million.$704-million-credit-line

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AFP report on World Bank loaning over a billion dollars to Pakistan for hydro energy and drip-sprinkler irrigation projects:

The World Bank said Tuesday it would fund two projects totaling $1.09 billion, in energy and irrigation, aimed at supporting Pakistan's growth agenda for reducing poverty.

The World Bank's executive board approved the projects Tuesday, the development lender said in a statement.

The $840 million Tarbela IV Extension Hydropower Project will add power generation capacity of 1,410 megawatts, contributing a crucial source of electricity for the economic growth and development of Pakistan, the World Bank said.

Only 15 percent of Pakistan's vast hydropower potential has been developed, the Bank noted.

The Tarbela IV Extension Hydropower Project will use the existing dam, tunnel, roads and transmission line for generating additional electricity in summer months when demand for electricity and river flows are high, it added.

"The beauty of this project is that it will help Pakistan reduce the gap between supply and demand of electricity by maximizing the benefits of existing infrastructure of Tarbela Dam without requiring any land acquisition or relocation of population," Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank country director for Pakistan, said in the statement.

"The direct beneficiaries will be millions of energy users, including industry, households and farmers who would get more electricity at a lower cost and suffer fewer blackouts."

The $250 million Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Program Project is aimed at getting maximum productivity out of irrigation water by weaning farmers away from the traditional and "wasteful" flood irrigation, the Bank said.

The project will emphasize more modern methods like drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, which in turn will encourage crop diversification, it said.

The hydropower project includes a $400 million, 21-year loan from the Bank's International Bank of Reconstruction and Development that includes a grace period of six years.

The remaining $440 million of the Tarbela project and $250 million for the irrigation project are credits from the International Development Association, the World Bank's concessionary lending arm.

These 25-year loans have a 1.25 percent interest rate and a five-year grace period, the Bank said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's TED blog on Peter Diamandis, the author of "Abundance":

Diamandis starts off his talk with some fast-cut clips of “crisis! Death! Disaster!” he’s collected from the last six months. The news media, he says, preferentially presents us with negative stories, because that’s what we pay attention to. And there’s a reason for that: since nothing is more important than survival, the first stop for all this awful information is the amygdala, the human early warning detection system that looks out for things that might harm us. In other words, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to the negative, dark side.

“So it’s no wonder that we’re pessimistic. it’s no wonder that people think the world is getting worse.” But Diamandis didn’t co-found Singularity University on a mere whim. From here, he swings into his more usual, optimistic mode: “We have the potential in the next three decades to create a world of abundance [the theme of Diamandis' recent book.] I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do,” he says. “As humans we’re far better at seeing the problems way in advance. Ultimately, we knock them down.”

Diamandis runs through some stats from the last century to show how things have improved for humankind. And he outlines some of the extraordinary advances made, particularly within the technological realm. After all: ”The rate at which technology is getting faster is itself getting faster.” And based on the likes of Moore’s Law ride some incredibly powerful technologies, not least robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and nanomaterials.

Now, some stories:


Napoleon III once invited the King of Siam to dinner. Napoleon’s troops ate with silver utensils; Napoleon ate with gold utensils; the King of Siam used aluminum utensils–precisely because at that time, aluminum was the most valuable metal on the planet. It was only with electrolysis that the metal became cheap. Similar moves are happening in energy in our current times; solar energy, for instance, is now 50% of the cost of diesel in India.


We talk about water wars. And yet we fight over 0.5% of the water on the planet. Diamandis talks of Dean Kamen’s Slingshot device, which can generate 100 liters clean water from any source. Coca Cola is apparently going to test this in the field soon–with a view to deploying it globally. Given how much water that company consumes, this is a big deal. Or, as Diamandis puts it, “this is the kind of innovation empowered by this technology that exists today.”


Diamandis talks of the recently-announced Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, challenging teams to incorporate medical diagnostic tools into a mobile device. “Imagine this device in the middle of the developing world,” he says, starrily. What of the potential of someone swabbing an unrecognized disease, calling it into the CDC and preventing a pandemic? Heady stuff.


“The biggest protection against the population explosion is making the world educated and healthy,” says Diamandis, detailing that 5 billion people will be connected online by 2020. “What will these people want and desire?” And why wouldn’t that cause an economic injection rather than an economic shutdown? Why won’t they be healthier through the use of the Tricorder, better educated because of the likes of Khan Academy or using 3d printing to be more productive than ever before?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian report on glaciers in Karakoram range in Pakistan:

The glaciers flowing between the towering peaks of the Karakoram range on the Pakistan-China border have grown in size in the last decade, according to new research.

The impact of climate change on the ice in the greater Himalaya range has been controversial because of an unfounded claim by the United Nations' climate science panel over the rate of melting in the region. However the melting of vast volumes of ice into the sea in most other parts of the world has been clearly demonstrated. In March, scientists showed that far less ice was being lost across the Himalayas than had been estimated from sparse ground surveys on the remote slopes.

The new study shows that glaciers in one important part of the mountain range are growing. "We provide a detailed glacier-scale evaluation of mass changes in the central Karakoram," said Julie Gardelle, at CNRS-Université Grenoble, who led the research published in Nature Geoscience on Sunday. "In our warming world, there are regions of the Earth where, for a few years or decades, the atmosphere is not warming or is even cooling. So it is not really a big surprise that there are some regions where the temperature is not rising and the Karakoram may be one of those."

The scientists used 3D altitude maps obtained from satellites in 2000 and 2008 to track the changes in the glaciers. Prof Graham Cogley, of Trent University in Canada, who was not part of the research team, called the approach a "ground-breaking" advance.
Prof Jonathan Bamber, at the University of Bristol, said Gardelle's research was consistent with global gravity work. But he cautioned: "Nine years is a very short period to draw strong conclusions about trends in glaciers. If you are looking for a climate effect - as opposed to a weather effect - you usually take a 30-year period as a minimum, on the assumption that this averages out the interannual variability."

Cogley emphasised that, despite the relatively ice small growth seen the Karakoram, global glacier and ice cap melting is continuing and contributing to rising sea levels. "The world exhibits enormous variety, but that doesn't mean we cannot make valuable generalisations about how it is changing," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Pak Observer report on British aid for flood affectees:

The UK Government will build 27,000 flood resistant permanent homes in Pakistan that can provide some 189,000 women, men and children a permanent roof in addition to helping 28,500 families to repair their homes damaged by last year’s floods. According to George Turkington, Head of DFID-Pakistan “the UK has provided shelter and built flood resistant houses for more than half-a-million children, women, and men who have lost their homes in last year’s devastating floods.”

“It is of deep concern that eight months after the devastating floods in Sindh many people still live in severely damaged or temporary shelter.. That’s why the UK is building flood resistant permanent shelter for another 27,000 families, and will help tens of thousands more to repair their homes”, DFID official said in a statement. “This is testament to the deep friendship and bond between the UK and Pakistan – we will always stand by and support each other,” George Turkington added.

As part of the continued aid to last year’s flood-hit people om Sindh the UK agencies is also offering packages of 405g of vegetable seeds, 2 kg of sunflower seeds.

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank agrees to fund Dasu Dam in Pakistan, reports Express Tribune:

Following the signing of an agreement with the government of Pakistan for providing $840 million for the 1,410-megawatt Tarbela 4th Extension Project, the World Bank has also agreed to extend financial assistance to the 4,320MW Dasu Hydropower Project.

It has also been agreed that the project will be constructed in phases after work on the 4,500MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam is initiated and its financial plan is finalised.

Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Shakil Durrani stated this while presiding over a meeting here at the Wapda House to discuss the report submitted by an international panel of experts.

Addressing the meeting, the Wapda chairman said international financial institutions were taking keen interest in providing funds for Wapda projects due to excellent ‘economic internal rate of return’ (EIRR) of these schemes.

The Dasu project is part of the least-cost energy production plan of Wapda aimed at harnessing the country’s hydropower resources to improve the share of hydroelectricity in energy mix.

The project will be constructed on the Indus River, seven km upstream of Dasu village and 74 km downstream of Diamer-Bhasha Dam. The project is situated on the Karakoram Highway, about 350 km from Islamabad.

According to a statement issued by Wapda, the priority is to construct Diamer-Bhasha Dam for which land acquisition process has already started and 13 contracts for offices, colonies and roads have been awarded.

Dasu Hydropower Project will follow the initiation of work on Diamer-Bhasha Dam. Detailed engineering design, for which the World Bank is providing funds, and tender documents are likely to be completed in early 2013. Afterwards, construction work will commence.

The project will generate 21.3 billion units of electricity per annum and will also have positive impact on existing hydropower stations including Tarbela, Ghazi Barotha and Chashma.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakTribune on WAPDA's power & water projects:

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) here on Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power that WAPDA is working on 20,000 megawatts (MW) hydel power generation projects and assured that 10,276 MW at lowest rates will be made available in the country by 2020.

The Senate body met in the Parliament House with Senator Zahid Khan in the chair, Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, secretary Zafar Mehmood and Petroleum Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan also attended the meeting. The members of the committee questioned that who would be judging the claim of WAPDA in 2020 when no one from the members of this committee will be in the parliament. However, WAPDA officials assured the committee that what they are committed to make sure through their efforts by 2020 that 10,276 MW power through hydel projects would be available in the country.

A WAPDA official explained that less than committed financial resources is the main hurdle in delay and cost overrun on water and power sector development projects and sought help of the committee in providing funds to WAPDA as per committed amount to make its planning predictable.

WAPDA Chairman Shakeel Durrani was optimistic about the average annual flows and water storage potential of the country and informed that some 17.8 million acres feet (MAF) water would be available for storage in future in the country (enough for three dams like Diamer Bhasha Dam).

The live storage of the Diamer Bhasha Dam would be 6.8 MAF and WAPDA has already released Rs 5 billion for land acquisition and Rs 13 billion for construction or establishment of required infrastructure for the construction of dam like roads, residential colony and offices power availability. Explaining the access water availability scenario, he informed that average annual flows to Kotri Downstream were 31.3 MAF during 1976-2010. However, during 2012 alone 54.5 MAF flows to Kotri Downstream were recorded.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Wall Street Journal story on Indian farmers' dependence on rain:

The southwest monsoon arrives over India mainly via winds from the Arabian Sea. It usually hits the mainland through the southern state of Kerala by late May or early June and then gradually moves north to cover the entire country by mid-July.

The timing, distribution and quantity of monsoon rains are vital to India's agriculture sector and economy. Nearly two-thirds of the country's farmlands are rain-fed, and about 600 million people are dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 17% of gross domestic product.

This year, the monsoon arrived late over Kerala. Its progress over the rest of India has been sporadic, and rains have failed to pick up over eastern and northwestern parts of the country.

To date, rainfall is about 17% below the 50-year average, But in northwestern grain bowl states such as Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan the deficiency has been much worse, with rainfall of 60%-70% below average.

Parts of the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and the southern state of Karnataka have also been affected with the rainfall deficiency ranging from 30% to 70%.

How the monsoon gathers momentum as it progresses toward India's mainland varies from year to year. D.S Pai, head of long-range forecasting in the India Meteorological Department, said this year, the build-up of moisture-laden monsoon winds from the Arabian Sea had been weak and had shifted toward the eastern half of the country from the west due to the play of certain sea winds.

El Niño, a weather phenomenon that usually disrupts rainfall in India, is also expected to emerge in September and could further deepen the crisis. Recently, the India Meteorological Department said that rainfall through the monsoon season is likely to be 85% of the long-period average.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on Russian interest in building Diamer Bhasha dam:

Russia is seeking direct award of a construction contract for the $13 billion Diamer Bhasha Dam in a government-to-government deal without resorting to international competitive bidding, sources say.

Faced with water and power shortages, Pakistan is looking for funds from China and Russia, who in turn want a government-to-government deal without international bidding.

The government’s search for funds came after multilateral donors asked Pakistan to get a no-objection certificate from India for the dam’s construction.

China and Russia want a similar arrangement for undertaking the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which has faced fierce opposition from the United States.

According to sources, Pakistan and Russia are likely to strike a final deal on the dam during visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Islamabad next month.

“A meeting of Pak-Russia inter-ministerial commission will be held before the visit of Russian president, which will work out a mechanism for financing mega projects,” a government official said.

In a meeting of the Inter-governmental Commission (IGC) held here on Monday, government officials gave a detailed briefing to the Russian team on planned energy projects. However, sources said, Russia made no firm commitment to the dam.

According to the official, it was just a preparatory meeting to discuss different projects, which could be tabled during deliberations with the Russian president.

In the IGC meeting, the Russian side was told that Bhasha Dam was a strategic project with power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts to overcome the energy crisis. It will have water storage capacity of 8.5 million acre feet to feed the agricultural sector.

Chinese offer

The Chinese government has already offered Pakistan skilled labour for the construction of Bhasha Dam. China has 17,000 skilled workers, who have worked on the giant Three Gorges Dam, which is producing 30,000 megawatts of electricity.

On the other hand, multilateral donors have asked Pakistan to seek a no-objection certificate from India to pave the way for financing the dam, which they say is situated in a disputed territory. Instead, they have offered to finance another project – Dasu hydropower, but the government has rejected the plan and wants to complete Bhasha Dam first.

On Monday, a delegation of the World Bank, headed by Country Director Rachid Benmessaud, called on Federal Water and Power Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and once again offered to finance phase-I of the Dasu project.

Dasu hydropower project is situated 7 km upstream of Dasu village on Indus River and 350 km from Islamabad. The project is located in Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on ongoing hydroelectric dams and irrigation canals construction in Pakistan:

The prime minister said that the timely completion of hydropower projects was vital for controlling floods along with mitigating water and power shortfall. The government is prioritising the water storage projects, he added.

Raja directed the WAPDA chairman to expedite the work on Kachhi canal, Rainee canal, RBOD-1 and RBOD-III. These projects would be instrumental in controlling the floods as well as for irrigation purposes, he added.

The chairman apprised the prime minister about the progress on eight ongoing projects with cumulative capacity of about 1,500 megawatts (MW).

Out of these, six projects of about 400 MW including Jinnah Dam 96 MW, Gomal Zam Dam 17MW, Satpara Dam 17 MW, Allai Khwar 121 MW, Duber Khwar 130 MW and Jabban Dam 22 MW would be completed in 2012 while the work on Neelum-Jhelum with production capacity of 969 MW and Golen Gol with capacity of 106 MW was progressing at full swing, said the chairman.

The prime minister directed the chairman to take up work on small and medium-sized dams especially in Balochistan and FATA on priority. The prime minister also directed WAPDA chairman to work on war footing to repair the breaches in the canal networks affected by recent floods in Sindh and Balochistan, so that the infrastructure could be restored.\09\25\story_25-9-2012_pg5_4

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times blog post on India's planned dams and India's lack of concern for environmental impact on India ad reduction of water for Pakistan and Bangladesh:

...India’s government was grappling with growing pressure to increase the dependability of its electricity service — for the growing numbers who have intermittent power and the 400 million who live without it.

As a solution, the government proposed constructing 292 dams throughout the Indian Himalayas — roughly a dam every 20 miles. If completed, the 7,000- to 11,000-megawatt dams would double the country’s hydropower capacity and meet about 6 percent of the national energy needs projected for 2030 (based upon 8 percent annual growth of the nation’s domestic product). The dams, the reasoning goes, would provide electricity to needy people as well as offset carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Scientists and citizens alike are crying foul, however, pointing out that the dams will probably displace millions and wreck ecosystems throughout the Himalayas.

No binding provisions are in place to ensure that displaced people receive adequate compensation and help with resettlement — and most of the projects are proceeding without adequate environmental impact surveys.

“The key issue is that there’s no requirement in India’s law to do cumulative impact assessments,” said R. Edward Grumbine, a senior international scientist at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Kunming Institute of Botany. Dr. Grumbine and his colleague, Mahara Pandit at the University of Delhi, wrote one of the first scientific papers discussing the dams, recently published in Science.

How these dams may affect communities and ecosystems in neighboring downstream countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan is little discussed.

Climate change offers a further strike against the projects. By 2050, scientists predict, the water supply from the Brahmaputra and Indus — two major rivers among the 28 that would receive dams — will decrease by about 20 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Those reductions would in turn cut the rivers’ capacity to produce electricity, undermining the dams’ purpose.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on Pakistan climate change policy:

Disaster-prone Pakistan has launched its first ever national policy on climate change, detailing how it plans to tackle the challenges posed by global warming, mitigate its risks and adapt key sectors of the country's economy to cope with its consequences.

Pakistan is highly vulnerable to weather-related disasters such as cyclones, droughts, floods, landslides and avalanches. Devastating floods in 2010 disrupted the lives of 20 million people – many more than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami – and cost $10 billion.

The climate change policy, developed with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recommends some 120 steps the country could take to slow down the impact of global warming, as well as adapt sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture.

Measures include flood forecasting warning systems, local rainwater harvesting, developing new varieties of resilient crops, promoting renewable energy sources and more efficient public transport.

"The National Climate Change policy takes into account risks and vulnerabilities of various development sectors with specific emphasis on water, food, energy and national security issues," said Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan, Minister for Climate Change at the launch of the policy is Islamabad on Tuesday.

But the policy needs a concrete action plan to back it up, with details, budgets and timelines first, some newspaper commentators said, adding that only then could there be a chance of effective implementation.

Questions have also arisen about where the money to fund implementation will come from and whether Pakistan's provinces have the capacity and expertise to put it in place.

Last year, a major U.N. report said the world needed to prepare better to deal with extreme weather and rising seas caused by climate change, in order to save lives and limit deepening economic losses.
UNDP's Pakistan Director Marc-André Franche said addressing changing weather patterns would help the country's economic development.

"Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries facing climate risks and mechanisms need to be devised for greener, more resilient options for growth and sustainable development, said Franche at the launch.

"I hope the policy will help key stakeholders in identifying capacities and skills for the successful implementation of the policy," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Hydroworld report on hydroelectric projects in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD, March 20 -- Government would complete the Neelum Jhleum Hydro project, Golen Gol and Dubair Khawar hydro projects within the stipulated time frame and resolve the issues related to any project.

This assurance was given by the Secretary Water and Power, Sikander Ahmed Rai while chairing a meeting with visiting Joint Supervisory Mission (JSM) of lead financers of three hydro power projects here today.

The consortium includes representatives from Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Fund Development, Kuwait Fund Development and Opec. The meeting was also attended by additional Secretary Ministry of Water and Power, Chairman Wapda and senior officials of Neelum Jheluim project, Golen Gol and Dubair Khawar project and ministry of Water and Power.

Secretary water and Power said that the government has also allocated the funds for the projects and financial support of the donors would help to complete the project in time. He said that the progress on three projects being reviewed and monitored regularly. Pakistan is facing energy shortage and timely completion of these projects would help to bridge the gap between demand and supply. He also thanked the delegation for visiting Pakistan to review the progress of the projects.

Earlier, the Chairman Wapda briefed the JSM that KhanKhawar hydro project of 72 MW and Allai Khawar Projects of 122 MW have been completed. While the remaining three projectsw of 1205 MW would be completed as per their schedule. Dubair Khawar project would be completed by June this year. Neelum Jhelum Hydro project of 969 MW by 2016 and Golen Gol project of 106 MW would be completed by 2015. He also informed that the Government has recently approved Rs 24 billionfor for Neelum Jhelum Project. He said that 47 % work on tunnel boring has been completed on Neelum Jhelum project.

The JSM appreciated the progress on three projects and stated that the consortium of financers would continue its support for energy projects. The JSM would also visit the sites of all the three projects to review the progress

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a World Bank report titled "Turn Down the Heat" released today:

The projected increase in the seasonality of precipitation is associated with an increase in the number of dry days, leading to droughts that are amplified by continued warming, with adverse consequences for human lives. Droughts are
expected to pose an increasing risk in parts of the region.
Although drought projections are made difficult by uncertain
precipitation projections and differing drought indicators, some
regions emerge to be at particularly high risk. These include north-western India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over southern India, increasing wetness is projected with broad agreement
between climate models.

Here's more from Daily Times:

The report has been prepared for the WB by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and peer reviewed by 25 scientists worldwide.

The report said that unless action is taken now to limit carbon release in the atmosphere, South Asia would suffer more extreme droughts and floods, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and declines in food production.

“Events like the devastating Pakistan floods of 2010, which affected more than 20 million people, could become common place,” the report said.

A warming climate will contribute to slowing the reduction in poverty, while the lives of everyone in the region will be altered by climate change, the impacts of progressive global warming will fall hardest on the poor.

Low crop yields and associated income loss from agriculture will continue the trend toward migration from rural to urban centers. In cities, the poor will suffer with temperatures magnified by the so-called ‘heat island effect’ of the built environments.

Safe drinking water will become increasingly constrained and alternatives, especially during and after flooding, are likely to contribute to greater water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.

In Pakistan the WB is working with federal and provincial governments to create better understanding and raise awareness of climate change risks and mitigation actions. At the policy level, it has provided advisory services to the Ministry of Climate Change towards the preparation of a National Climate Change Action Plan.

It is currently supporting the Federal Flood Commission in updating its National Flood Management Plan in the wake of floods of 2010 and 2011.

At the community levels, the Bank is extending a carbon finance program through Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), to help half of the population in the Chitral district access clean energy generated through hydropower.

However, the WB officials have expressed confidence that countries can roll back harmful fossil fuel subsidies and help put the policies in place that will eventually lead to a reduction in emissions.

“I am convinced we can reduce poverty even in a world severely challenged by climate change,” said WB Group President Jim Yong Kim. “We can help cities grow clean and climate resilient, develop climate smart agriculture practices, and find innovative ways to improve both energy efficiency and the performance of renewable energies..

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece on how low Pakistan is on water with just one-month storage left:

Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change due to its location, population and environmental degradation. According to a 2013 report from the Asian Development Bank, Pakistan has one month of water supply on hand. The recommended amount is 1,000 days. 80 percent of Pakistan’s agriculture relies on irrigation from the overstressed water system.
Pakistan’s average temperature is expected to increase around 3 degrees Celsius within the next 50 years — this will make food and water challenges even more taxing. A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change concludes that people are already migrating out of the Pakistan for just these reasons.
The study, which focuses on rural Pakistan, found “that flooding — a climate shock associated with large relief efforts — has modest to insignificant impacts on migration. Heat stress, however — which has attracted relatively little relief — consistently increases the long-term migration of men, driven by a negative effect on farm and non-farm income.”
It goes on to state that “agriculture suffers tremendously when temperatures are extremely hot … wiping out over a third of farming income.”
For those in Pakistan relying on the large timber industry for their livelihoods, the outlook is also grim. Deforestation is a major problem in Pakistan, with the country only retaining between two and five percent of its tree cover. About 43,000 hectares, or 166 square miles, of forest are cleared annually. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, this is the highest deforestation rate in Asia.
Deforestation is not an easy problem to address. Each of Pakistan’s five provinces has its own deforestation laws. There is a strong timber mafia that has a hold over many local and timber officials. And recently a shortage of natural gas for heating and cooking has led to an increase in the country’s middle-class cutting down trees for energy use. Pakistan’s population has more than quadrupled since it was founded in 1947, and the country now has an estimated 180 million residents. Deforestation contributes to flooding, and in 2010 Pakistan experienced devastating floods after a strong monsoon season that killed around 2,000 people.
“There is no doubt that deforestation is threatening the livelihoods of many poor people in our country who depend on the forests for their fuel and livelihood needs,” Syed Mohammad Ali, a development consultant, wrote in an op-ed last year. “Deforestation is also blamed for exacerbating the damage caused by natural disasters such as floods and landslides, since the absence of tree cover causes soil erosion and diminishes groundwater absorption. Researchers have also identified deforestation as a major factor behind expansion of the country’s heat zone, reduced flow in the Indus River as well as shrinkage of the Indus River Delta.”
In December the World Bank gave Pakistan nearly $4 million to study deforestation and how to address it. Naeem Ashraf Raja, the director of Pakistan’s biodiversity program, told the Washington Post that “officials also hope to convince the United States and other foreign donors to help launch programs to compensate landowners who agree not to cut trees......

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AFP story on Thar drought causing children's death:

The unfolding tragedy has grabbed the attention of the national media but aid remains scarce, a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, son of the late premier Benazir Bhutto, visited the area.

Thar desert, which begins around 300 kilometres (200 miles) east of Karachi and runs up to the border with India, is dominated by subsistence farmers who depend on beans, wheat, and sesame seeds for survival, bartering surplus in exchange for livestock.

It has been hit by a rainfall deficit of roughly 30 percent between March 2013 and February this year, according to government data, with the worst-hit towns of Diplo, Chacro and Islamkot barely touched by a drop of water for months.

At an army-run camp in Mithi, women dressed in the yellow, red and blue dress typical of the region's Hindu community, waited in a line for relief which many said was hard to come by.

"Please get me a food permit, I have been coming here since yesterday but in vain," one woman pleaded.

Hindus, a small minority in Pakistan's overwhelmingly Muslim population of 180 million, have been the worst affected by what is happening in Tharparkar.

"Of all the children we treated 75 percent were from the Hindu community," said Khatri, the doctor in Mithi.

Much of the aid so far has been provided by the charity wing of banned Islamist outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa, whose head Hafiz Saeed is wanted by India for allegedly masterminding the Mumbai attacks.

Hafiz Abdul Rauf, who heads the organisation in the area, said that the primary cause of the deaths was the grinding poverty that has afflicted the area for decades.

- Dying livestock -

An outbreak of sheep pox has aggravated the situation, according to residents who depend on livestock as a form of saving, selling an animal when money is needed for a special occasions such as weddings.

"We had 300 sheep, (but) because of 'Mata' (sheep pox) and drought, 150 of them died over the past two months," said Bheer Lal, 30, from one of the affected villages.

"Our life depends on the livestock and now they have gone our life is at stake."

Madan Lal, a senior official with the Sindh livestock department, told AFP that 12 vaccinating teams had been sent out to treat livestock on a "war footing".

Sono Khangrani, the head of Thardeep Rural Development Programme, an NGO working in Thar, warned the situation could deteriorate as spring gives way to the hot summer.

"Thar will see worse conditions in coming days. Hot weather will increase the drought in April, May and June," he told AFP.

"Thar has been facing this problem for years and years but this time the media highlighted the issue and forced the government to respond."

Anonymous said...

KARACHI, Pakistan, April 2 (UPI Next) -- The intrusion of the Arabian Sea into the mouth of the Indus River on Pakistan's southern coast is eroding land, forcing whole villages to relocate inland, and threatening fishing livelihoods, residents and environmental experts say.

As sea levels rise globally, low-lying coastal areas become vulnerable to the incoming saltwater.

The sea’s intrusion into the once-thriving Indus Delta in the coastal Thatta district occurs mainly because the Indus River does not carry enough water below the Kotri Barrage, a major dam 190 miles north of the coast, to hold back the saltwater from the river and its network of creeks and mudflats. The seawater intrusion turns fields and underground drinking water saline, makes land waterlogged and reduces fish catch.

In the early 20th century, the area was famous for production and export of red rice and fish. For centuries earlier, it was a center of trade and scholarship, partly due to the old port at the seafront town of Keti Bunder. Now the survival of this part of the dying delta region is threatened.

Local lawmaker Humera Alwani of the opposition Pakistan People's Party says that at the current rate of erosion, the 6,700-square-mile district of Thatta, with its population of 1.1 million, could be gone by 2025.

The effects and threats of the inflow and erosion are pronounced in Keti Bunder.

Mohammad Saleem, a lifelong Keti Bunder resident, watches daily as the sea erodes the earthen dike, near his wooden house.

Ten years ago, a few miles separated his house from the muddy waterline. Now, he points to a spot seemingly far out to sea where his and his neighbors’ homes used to be before encroaching seawater forced them out.

"We had to move here and set up our village all over again because the sea had entered our village over there," he said.

Houses are set on posts 2 feet off the ground.

Villagers will have ample time to leave if the sea makes its way to their village again after eating through the dike.

The water flowing near Saleem's home used to be drinkable -- from the Indus River -- but now it is all saline. He says the shoreline used to be a few miles farther out, meaning that river water used to surround the area until its flow was reduced, allowing seawater in.

The PPP's Alwani has predicted that if the sea level rise and seawater intrusion continue at the current pace, Thatta and a neighboring district, Badin, will be gone by 2025.

"Around 80 acres of land have been eroded by the sea in Thatta district alone. There used to be seven ports here but all of them were destroyed by the encroaching sea," Alwani, a member of the Sindh assembly, told UPI Next.

Over the past 30 years, the Arabian Sea has devoured about 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles) of land from the coasts of both districts, says Abdul Majeed Nizamani, chairman of the Sindh Growers' Board, which represents farmers, landlords, peasants and others involved in agriculture.

"The Sindh Development Review 2008-2009,” a provincial Planning and Development Department report, cites a study estimating Keti Bunder mudflat erosion at 66 feet per year with the rate in one of the four major creeks near the town was as high as 5,500 feet per year.

Though no official records exist, 34 of the sub-district's 42 settlements have disappeared under the sea, said Zahid Jalbani, a program manager at Strengthening Participatory Organization, which specializes in development advocacy.

The intrusion accelerated after a dam was built at the town of Kotri in 1955 to divert fresh water for irrigation and flood control, Jalbani said.

"The flow of freshwater in the Indus Delta is too low to push the seawater back and sustain the areas in and around it," he told UPI Next.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Sunday, July 06, 2014 - OBVIOUSLY, Arid Varsity by virtue of its name is known as a last line of defense against water scarcity, and joining the ranks & files by the present Vice Chancellor furthered the notion of its emergence as a change agent, especially for rainfed and dry land agriculture. Metrological footprints of Pakistan reveal abundant rainfall ranging from 200mm to 1500mm per annum, but our ignorance as a nation put us besides the lines by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1798) while sailing in the ocean said “Water Water Every Where, Nor Any Drop to Drink”. By turning the coin, situation seems more pathetic, as this country faces mayhem of floods claiming thousands of lives, economic devastation and convert booming crops into inundated, almost every year. Is that not a dark side of the situation demanding an action oriented policy by the higher ranks of the country?
In this program 5 farm ponds with a capacity of 55 acre-ft of water have been excavated. Experience indicates that these ponds were filled to their capacity in early rain showers of the monsoon season 2013. It can be safely opined, farm ponds of same size or even larger capacity for rain harvesting in the region are imperative to cater the crop husbandry in the years to come. The University has prepared a program of raising high value crops from these ponds. The developed farm ponds are sufficient to irrigate an area of 150 acres orchard crops including olive, grapes, citrus, fig, apricot, almond, pears besides tunnel vegetables especially tomato, cucumber, etc. using drip irrigation. The University rain harvesting model is meant for production and knowledge dissemination to the Pothwar farmers. Experts understand that rainwater harvesting can be extended to other parts of the country even in irrigated area and especially with sloping lands such as Cholistan, Thar, Thal, Baluchistan, KPK and AJK. Being a water professional Prof. Dr. Rai Niaz Ahmad, Vice Chancellor played a pivotal role for initiation and completion of this pilot project at the Farm.
Ground water provides a huge natural reservoir, for instance, Rechna Doab (area between Ravi and Chena) alone equates the capacity of 5 Mangla reservoirs. This is a loud and clear message for our policy makers considering option of harvesting flood water in the groundwater reservoirs, since the flood flows carry around 30 to 40 MAF of water every year to the Arabian Sea whereas the minimum flow required to the sea is only 10 MAF. These ponds would be greatly contributing towards recharge of groundwater reservoir, which is under threat at the moment.
The rooftop rainwater harvesting in the urban areas provides another opportunity for kitchen gardening of vegetables for domestic at household level. The practice of kitchen gardening is very famous and popular in most of the developed world where rooftop rainwater is harvested and used for vegetation. It is worth considering that devastation witnessed during the monsoon floods in Pakistan can be minimized if flooding waters are ponded both at upstream and downstream along the river banks as practiced in other parts of the world. In view of all this, Govt. of Pakistan needs to initiate a comprehensive program on rain/flood water management. Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi offers its services for preparing a mega project for rainwater harvesting both and urban rural areas of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Today Pakistan is home to the biggest earth-filled dam in the world at Tarbela, just north of Islamabad, and more than 150 others classed as "large".

With more than 30 per cent of its power coming from hydro-electric sources, such structures are also crucial to help alleviate a chronic energy crisis that has put a brake on industry.

But a campaign for non-structural measures to contain flooding is gradually gaining ground - with proponents arguing that man-made interventions can, counter-intuitively, exacerbate the floods.

There are two major arguments - the build-up of sediment in a dam shortens its useful lifespan, while the slowing of rivers due to the structures means that silt accumulates, decreasing their capacity.

Kaisar Bengali, who advises the chief minister of Baluchistan, said: "Dams create floods, dams don't prevent floods. When the floods occur, if you have a storage area you can store the water in that area. Dams have a reservoir so they create a lake. Barrages divert the water into canals. They don't have a reservoir."

Decisions on whether to release water are also controversial - dam managers may seek to keep reservoirs full for energy generation, whereas an early release could lessen floods.

Mushtaq Gaadi, an academic at Islamabad's Quaid-e-Azam university, noted that some of this year's worst flooding occurred in the Chenab river, where a key structure had lost significant discharge capacity due to the build-up of sediment.

"The most important and critical infrastructure at Chenab is Trimmu [barrage] which was built during the British era.

"Its discharge capacity has been drastically reduced. It was not capable of discharging more than 600,000 cusecs. Mainly due to the rising of the river bed level," due to silting.

Dams and barrages are difficult and expensive to de-silt and maintain, forcing Pakistan to turn to help from agencies such as the World Bank.

With the World Bank's aid, Pakistan completed its renovation of the Taunsa barrage in central Punjab province in early 2010 at a cost of US$144 million - only to see an embankment upstream of the structure catastrophically fail when the floods came in August.

This year, Pakistan was again forced to blow up dykes to divert flood waters from cities to less densely populated areas.

Dams are also responsible for luring people into harm's way by creating a false sense of security in areas that are naturally fertile flood zones. Many of 2014's almost 300 deaths could have been prevented had villagers not been living in such areas, said Gaadi.

Yet the government believes that more, not fewer dams are the solution, and has vowed to press ahead with new projects - such as the Diamer-Bhasha Dam in northern Gilgit Baltistan, projected to cost US$14 billion.

Shafiq-ur-Rehman, an environmental sciences professor at the University of Peshawar, said it showed a lack of long-term planning. "First we build dykes and spend millions of rupees on them and then we blow them up and drown people to save cities or other areas," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

From Hydroworld:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks bids to provide financial advisory services to the government of Pakistan for Pakistan's proposed 4,500-MW Diamer Bhasha hydroelectric project on the Indus River. Bids are due October 27.
USAID awarded a contract in September to MWH Global to perform an environmental and social impact assessment of Diamer Bhasha. It was reported last year that the World Bank and Asian Development Bank agreed to help finance construction of Diamer Bhasha (also spelled Basha).
Pakistan recruited firms in 2009 for design, construction supervision, and contract administration of Diamer Bhasha, which includes a 272-meter-tall roller-compacted-concrete dam, two diversion tunnels, two underground powerhouses of 2,250 MW each, a permanent access bridge, and hydro-mechanical and steel structural equipment.
USAID/Pakistan now seeks bids for financial advisory services in regard to financing Diamer Bhasha. Work is to include development of a financing strategy for the project, assistance in financing decision making and financial closure, and development of a computer-based financial model for the project. The work is expected to require one year at a cost of US$2.5 million to US$2.9 million.

Riaz Haq said...

The United States on Wednesday pledged support for Pakistan’s massive $14 billion 4,500MW Diamer-Bhasha dam project as top officials and business leaders explored investment prospects, amid exponential energy needs of America’s ‘critical partner’ nation.
Both the US officials – including US Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr Rajiv Shah and US Special Representative Dan Feldman – and Pakistan’s Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who is also defence minister, highlighted tremendous opportunities for American and international investors in the ‘transformational’ power generation and water storage project.
The officials spoke at a joint platform that brought together senior leaders and experts and business leaders at the US Chamber of Commerce at a meeting, co-hosted by the USAID and the US-Pakistan Business Council. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani and US Ambassador in Islamabad Richard Olson participated in the daylong conference, spread over several sessions.

Pakistan needs 10,000MW of power to meet its rapidly growing domestic, industrial and agrarian requirements. The materialisation of Diamer-Bhasha dam will be a giant step in that quest.
Besides producing 4,500MW of power, the dam will help with four million acre of water for irrigation, save millions from flash flooding, boost other hydro projects and contribute vitally to extending life of Tarbela Dam by 30 years.
The Obama administration officials assured the investors of effective results, citing results from US-financed energy up-gradating projects in Pakistan.
“We know that success can take hold,” Dr Shah said in reference to completion of small projects and addition to power generation capacity of large dams.
Daniel Feldman said the US and Pakistan have a wide-ranging strategic partnership and that Washington is in for a long-term economic and investment relationship with Pakistan, particularly in the energy field. “Investment in Diamer-Bhasha dam is the smartest choice for Pakistan,” Feldman remarked, reiterating the White House and Secretary John Kerry’s commitment to back economic and energy security of Pakistan.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is committed to encouraging foreign investment in various sectors of the economy and is crystal clear that the country needs both the Dasu and Bhasha dams. “We have demonstrated our commitment – and acquired land from own indigenous resources,” he added.
He apprised the meeting of government’s robust economic agenda, saying Islamabad has stemmed the economic downslide it inherited and now exports, GDP rate, remittances, revenue collection and industrial growth, have all registered marked growth.
“Despite demonstrations in Islamabad, the rupee has been fairly staying at stable exchange rate, while inflation has also been checked,” he added. Senator Dar said the government has paid off circular debt it had inherited from the previous administration.
Khawaja Asif said Washington’s support for the vital Diamer-Bhasha dam would cement the relationship between the two countries.

Riaz Haq said...

From Hydroworld on Diamer Bhasha dam in Pakistan:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) seeks bids to perform a technical engineering review and upgrade of plans for Pakistan's proposed 4,500-MW Diamer Bhasha hydroelectric project on the Indus River. Bids are due November 17.
USAID also has called for bids by October 27 to provide financial advisory services to the government of Pakistan for Diamer Bhasha. It awarded a contract in September to MWH Global to perform an environmental and social impact assessment of the project.
USAID has pledged US$200 million toward development of Diamer Basha, with funds to be used for assessment of environmental and social effects of the proposed project as well as preparation of a financial package. The project is to include a 272-meter-tall roller-compacted-concrete dam, two diversion tunnels, two underground powerhouses of 2,250 MW each, a permanent access bridge, and hydro-mechanical and steel structural equipment.
USAID/Pakistan now seeks bids for technical assessment, review and upgrade of the engineering design, cost estimates and documentation for Diamer Bhasha. The work is expected to require one year at a cost of US$5.59 million to US$6.59 million.
A solicitation notice may be obtained from the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities Internet site,, by entering Solicitation No. AID39114000059 in the "Keyword/Solicitation #" box.
Bidders are to submit separate technical and cost proposals by 4 p.m., U.S. Eastern time, November 17. For information, contact Maria Hassan, Acquisition and Assistance Specialist, Department of State, USAID Unit 62206, APO 09812-2206, Islamabad, Pakistan; (92) 51-2081285; E-mail:

Riaz Haq said...

The depletion of groundwater in Pakistan is likely to set an alarm bells ringing in the newly elected government which is already hit hard by massive power shortage, terrorism and economic downturn.

The underground water in is running out on fast pace as per capita availability of water drops to 990 cubic meters in 2013 as compared to 5,650 cubic meters in 1947. While India has 1,600 cubic metres of water per person per year while major European countries have up to twice as much ranging from 2,300 cubic metres in Germany to 3,000 cubic metres in France.

Owing to lurking water crises, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has placed Pakistan in red zone categorizing it as water-stressed country which is likely to face an acute water shortage over the next five years due to the lack of water availability for irrigation, industry and human consumption. If the downward trend prevails, it is likely that ground water table will nosedive more and in the result per capita availability will touch 800 cubic metres by 2020.

Moreover, the United Nations has lined up Pakistan among the “water hotspots” of Asia-Pacific Region, saying that the country faces major threats of increasing water scarcity, high water utilisation, deteriorating water quality and climate change risk.

According to Punjab irrigation department, Pakistan’s important government entity that monitors the level and quality of water before 1947, water table is going down 3 feet per year. Quoting the example of Lahore, most urbanised and densely populated city of Pakistan, it said that 20 years back water is extracted at 20 or 40 feet and now drilling has to be done at 800 feet to reach the water. Unchecked installation of tube wells aggravated situation. As per estimates, there is a continuous increase in the development of groundwater irrigation by tube wells. In the country the numbers of public and private tube wells installed (as per the source of Economic survey of Pakistan) in 2000-01 were 659,278 while in 2012-13 the amount of tube wells installed rose to 1175,073. With this phenomenon annual extraction of water has swelled up to 51 million-acre feet of water.

Irrigation Research Institute (IRI) deputy director Dr. Muhammad Javed said that multiple reasons accounted for the water depletion. “One of the major one is over-extraction or over-pumping of ground water. Water is being sucked out but recharge system that refill the ground water is not in place or mismanaged. Total discharge (withdrawal) of ground water is at 37 Million Acres Feet (MAF) against recharge (refilling) at 30 MAF, he added and said that it showed that a big gap is between discharge and recharge system.

Second vital cause for water scarcity is poor planning to store water. Pakistan has just 3 dams and scores of small barrages as compared to china having 22,000 and India 4,200 small and big dams. “Pakistan’s storage capacity is just for 30 days, whereas India has the ability to store water for 120-220 days,” Water and Power Development Authority Engineer Dr Rahim Buksh responded to a query. Meanwhile, Egypt has 1,000 days water storage capacity only on River Nile, America 900 days on River Colorado, Australia 600 and South Africa has the ability to store water for 500 days on River Orange.

“The per capita storage capacity in the United States stands at 6,150 cubic metres, in Australia 5,000 cubic metres but in Pakistan it is just 132 cubic metres that show how vulnerable 180 million Pakistanis are in terms of water availability,” he went on saying.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is planning to submit its plans for tackling climate change to the United Nations by September this year as the country’s Ministry of Climate Change is finalising the INDC (intended nationally determined contributions) draft.

In an exclusive interview with the RTCC, federal minister for climate change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan said that Pakistan’s INDC would mainly focus on mitigation and adaptation in six sectors including energy, transport, agriculture, forestry, industry and waste.

“How much will we mitigate and what will be our carbon emission level is still under consideration,” he said. “We will submit our INDC by September and reveal exact targets as soon as prime minister Nawaz Sharif approves the draft.”

The INDCs are the commitments that are required from more than 190 countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for addressing climate change beyond 2020. The proposals are intended to set the stage for the negotiation of a new global climate pact in Paris, in December 2015.

Pakistan is finalising its INDC with technical support from World Bank, Lead-Pakistan, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) and Pakistan Center for Climate Research and Development (CCRD).

Climate tracker: Who has pledged what for Paris summit?

The minister said that Pakistan remains to be one of the most vulnerable countries to adverse impacts of the climate change like floods, droughts, climate and weather variability; therefore effective adaptation measures will also be part of the INDC.

“The biggest challenge for Pakistan is to ensure survival of floods and droughts affectees and traditional crop patterns,” he said, adding Pakistan is a glacier-fed country and it would be facing severe water shortages and flooding in the next 25 to 50 years.

Pakistan suffered over US$25 billion loss in economic damages to public infrastructure, agriculture, irrigation network, health and educational facilities from five consecutive floods since 2010, he said. “We now need over 35 billion dollars to recover these damages.”

The minister said Pakistan needs support of rich countries to cope with the adverse impacts of the climate change as the country requires US$10-15 billion annually to ensure mitigation and adaptation measures.

“We urge the developed countries that are in fact polluting the world through their industries to extend financial support to Pakistan besides transferring technology and capacity building in climate change related fields,” he said.

- See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

The owner of the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, China Three Gorges Corporation, is willing to participate in a financing consortium to fund up to $50 billion of hydroelectric power projects in Pakistan.

The Chinese government-owned CTG expressed an interest in financing projects in Pakistan in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank subsidiary. This disclosure was made at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy on June 18. The offer comes on top of the $46 billion in financing for power and transportation infrastructure being provided by the Chinese government and Chinese banks to Pakistan for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

If the offer pans out, it would make China the biggest financier of infrastructure in Pakistan by far. CTG owns and operates the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 22,500 megawatts, nearly matching in one power plant the entire installed capacity of the Pakistani grid of 23,500 MW.

Read: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Lines of development – not lines of divide

According to studies conducted by the Water and Power Development Authority, Pakistan has an identified potential of producing up to 60,000 MW of hydroelectric power, of which 40,000 MW is located in a region called the Indus Cascade, which begins in Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through to Tarbela, the site of Pakistan’s biggest dam, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The biggest project the government has already identified and begun preliminary work on is the Diamer Bhasha dam, which would require $15 billion to construct and would have a nameplate capacity of 4,500 MW.

Pakistan’s energy sources have gone through cycles. Up until the 1980s, the bulk of electricity in Pakistan came from hydroelectric power. In 1994, as the country’s energy needs surged, the government initiated a policy to attract private investment in thermal electricity. Oil prices were low in that decade and so the government made the decision to use oil-fired power plants, a decision that proved costly when oil surged to $100 a barrel, prompting Islamabad to search for cheaper ways of producing electricity. Among those cheap ways is hydroelectric power and coal-fired thermal electricity.

Among other projects the government wants to seek Chinese financing for is the Neelum-Jhelum power project in Azad Kashmir. The 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric power project has been facing rising costs, mainly due to the delays caused by a lack of funding. The project was initially slated to cost $1.8 billion, but will now cost $4.2 billion due to the delays, a major cause of concern for its initial consortium of Middle Eastern financiers which included the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Kuwait Fund for Development (KFD), the Saudi Fund for Development and the OPEC Development Fund.

The government now expects to raise Rs100 billion ($1 billion) in local borrowing for the plant, in addition to $576 million in foreign borrowing. The government has approached the state-owned National Bank of Pakistan to arrange financing for the local currency component. The Middle Eastern lenders have so far committed $692 million, of which they have disbursed $260 million so far.

“The disbursement of the remaining $433 million has been stopped by the lenders as they are demanding that the contractors should provide performance guarantee for the additional work (variation orders) and cost escalation,” said one source familiar with the cabinet’s deliberations on the matter.

Riaz Haq said...

The leaders of the University of Utah and Mehran University of Engineering and Technology traded memorandums of agreement Tuesday in the new campus law building, formalizing an academic partnership for water research.

Although the signing of a memorandum of agreement does not bind either party by law to uphold agreements made regarding the project, the documents are treated with the highest respect by both institutions.

"Utah and Pakistan surely share common ground in this sector. We both cope with water scarcity and the need for better ground management," University of Utah President David Pershing said.

The partnership will serve as a model of cooperation, address critical water issues and train the next generation's water professionals, Pershing said.

The educational partnership is part of a program known as United States-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Water and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

Academic programs resulting from the project will include master's and doctorate degrees in three water disciplines at Mehran University, which provides many opportunities for research and will be the primary center for the project because it's located in the water-stressed Sindh province of Pakistan.

According to M. Aslam Uqaili, vice chancellor of Mehran University, the higher education institution received nearly 500 applicants for 50 positions in the upcoming academic water programs.

Meanwhile, U. faculty, staff and students will have several research opportunities as they collaborate with Pakistani academics and five other partner institutions, including Colorado State University.

"It aligns very well with strategic priorities of our institution," said Ruth Watkins, head of academic affairs at the U.

Watkins said the partnership will help bring in expert faculty to the University of Utah, assist in achieving the school's environmental goals, and increase the presence of women in technology and science.

Participating parties are also hoping the pending research will address four overarching water problems in Pakistan: surface and groundwater availability, hazard and risk management, environmental quality, and climate change.

"The situation in Pakistan, as far as water scarcity is concerned both for human consumption as well as for agriculture, is something that really does need to be tackled," said Hamid Asghar Khan, consul general of Pakistan in Los Angeles.

In some areas of Pakistan, young children die from the lack of proper drinking water, Khan said.

Finding water solutions Pakistan is just the beginning. United States Agency for International Development officials are hoping new technology will be applicable to other water-stressed regions throughout the world.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Govt considering financing options for Bhasha Dam project via @sharethis

After reluctance shown by World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance Bhasha Dam, Pakistan is considering different options including seeking multi-billion dollar loan from China and launching bond to attract overseas Pakistanis for investing in it.

“We are considering unbundling Bhasha Dam into construction of hydropower Dam then power turbines will be built into IPPs mode. We had already invested Rs100 billion on acquisition of land for Bhasha Dam,” official sources confirmed to The News here on Sunday.

Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal told ‘The News’ that the groundbreaking ceremony of Bhasha Dam would be held during the next calendar year 2016. He said that one Chinese company showed its interest to invest $40 to $50 billion in hydropower projects and currently they were conducting their feasibility studies to select projects.

He said that the government was also actively considering launching international bond to attract overseas Pakistanis for investing into this project. It is our endeavour to complete this project at all costs, he added.

One option is to seek assistance from China inside or outside the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for which Beijing had committed $46.2 billion for energy and infrastructure projects over medium to long-term basis.

The WB and ADB were not ready to finance Bhasha project owing to different excuses but the main hurdle was objections raised by New Delhi on this project.

So the options are limited as US had also indicated to provide financing but they have not so far delivered their promises in the past few years.

According to the technical feasibility for Diamer-Bhasha Dam Project, prepared by Wapda, the installed capacity would be 4,500MW. There will be 12 units having capacity of 375MW each and the average annual generation of the Dam will be 19,000GWH.

The Diamer-Bhasha Dam project is located on Indus River about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of Northern Areas capital Gligit and 40 km downstream of Chilas.

On the main Dam, the type of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam will be Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC). The maximum height of the Dam will be 270 m (highest of its type in the world). On diversion system, there will be 2 number Diversion Tunnel (right side) and 1 number Diversion Tunnel (right side). Regarding main spillways, there will be 14 gates and the size of each gate will be 11.0 x 16.5 m.

On the reservoir side, the maximum operating level of Diamer Bhasha Dam will be EI 1,160m and minimum operating level of EI is 1060m. The Gross Capacity of the Dam will be 9.0 BCM (7.3 Million Acre Feet MAF). The live capacity of the Dam will be 7.9 BCM (6.4 MAF).

Regarding the outlets of the Bhasha Dam, the technical feasibility illustrates that there will be 7 low level outlets and five sluicing.

On sluicing tunnels, the Diamer-Bhasha Dam will have one right bank (through conversion of one diversion tunnel) and on the left bank there will be another tunnel.

Riaz Haq said...

Rainwater harvesting brings hope to farmers in #Pakistan’s #Punjab. #Water … via @scroll_in

Extreme weather conditions and erratic rainfall had added an edge of desperation to Muhammad Khan’s struggle for survival, taking him and his family to the brink of ruin. But that is happily in the past now, says the farmer in Pakistan’s Punjab province whose life has undergone a dramatic change after he started irrigating his land from rainwater harvested in a small dam in the village.

“I had a bumper vegetable crop in the last season. I have recently bought a new tractor and also started sending two of my grandsons to a private school,” said the 65-year-old resident of Thoa Mehram Khan village in Punjab’s Talagang sub-district.

With the bounty of plentiful water, Khan has been irrigating 16 acres of his 50 acres of land from the small dam and growing off-season vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower as well as fruits such as grapes and watermelons. This was unthinkable earlier.

He is not the only one. Others in the village are also cultivating newer crops on land that was arid not so long ago. Rainwater harvesting is a relatively new and innovative concept for many farmers in the region who are delighted to have water for crops and livestock throughout the year.

“Rainwater harvesting has also helped raise the groundwater table from 450 feet to 200 feet in the village,” says Khan. “This is also inspiring people of nearby villages to pool money for building mini dams so they can reap the benefits of modern agriculture.”

To construct a mini dam for rainwater harvesting, a natural stream or nullah (water channel) near farmland is identified and then choked by building a wall in the front. An engine is installed and water supplied to farms through a pipeline.

The small dam, which is 15 feet in height, is built on government land in the village and has a catchment area of one square kilometre, a command area of 250 kanals (about 500 square metres) and storage capacity 29.21 acres/feet.

The cost of the $4,279 project, which has changed so many lives, was shared by 20 families of the village and by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, both sides paying $2,139, an official said.

The importance of harvesting water is underscored by a research paper published by the Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences, which estimates that the Potohar Plateau, including the Chakwal, Jhelum, Attock and Rawalpindi districts of Punjab province, covers an area of 2.2 million hectares and receives as much as 70% of its precipitation in just the monsoon season.

On top of this, groundwater supplies are depleting at 16 to 55 centimetres (6 to 21 inches) a year across Punjab province, according to a study by the International Waterlogging and Salinity Research Institute.

Going macro

An estimated 64% of the country’s population lives in rural areas and earns a living from agricultural activities such as crop cultivation and livestock rearing, according to the 2010 agricultural census carried out by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. There are 50,588 villages in Pakistan but all may not have terrain suitable for rainwater harvesting. The Potohar Plateau is believed to be the most suitable area in the country for natural places for rainwater harvesting with experts identifying 74 sites.

Around 145 million acre feet of water flows through Pakistan each year, but the country’s existing storage capacity is only 14 million acre feet. “Small dams and rainwater harvesting techniques could help the country increase its water storage capacity from 30 days to the international standard of 120 days,” said Dr Pervaiz Amir, country director for the Pakistan Water Partnership.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has 154 large dams, according to International Commission On Large Dams (ICOLD).

Here are the top 10 dams in Pakistan:

Construction Started: 1961

Completed: 1967

Located on: Jhelum River

Height: 147 meters or 482 ft.

Length: 3,140 meters or 10,302 ft.

Cost: $1.473 billion


Started: 1968

Completed: 1976

Located on: Indus River

Height: 143.26 meters or 470ft.

Length: 2,743.2 meters or 9,000 ft.

Cost: $1,497 million

Hub Dam

Started: 1963

Completed: 1981

Located on: Hub River

Height: 48 meters or 157 ft.

Length: 24,300 acres

Cost: Rs. 1,191.81 million


Started: 2002

Completed: 2006

Located on: Dasht River

Height: 39 meters or 127 ft.

Length: 1,020 meters or 3,350 ft.

Cost: Rs. 5,267.90 million


Started: 2004

Completed: 2007

Located on: Zohb River

Height: 34.7 m or 114 ft.

Length: 395 m or 1,296 ft.

Cost: Rs. 1.4 billion

Gomal Zam

Started: June 2007

Completed: June 2015

Located on: Gomal River

Height: 133 m or 437 ft.

Length: 231 m or 758 ft.

Cost: Rs. 18,056.060 million

Allai Khwar

Started: June 2003

Completed: March 2013

Located on: Allai Khwar River

Height: 51 m or 167 ft.

Length: 88 m or 289 ft.

Cost: Rs. 15,669.76 million

Duber Khwar

Started: June 2003

Completed: December 2013

Located on: Duber Khwar Dam

Height: 32 m or 133 ft.

Length: 202 m or 663 ft.

Cost: Rs. 22,208.1 million


Started: 1949

Completed: 1960

Located on: Kabul River

Height: 76.2 m or 250 ft.

Length: 140.2 m or 460 ft.

Cost: Rs. 156 million


Started: 1968

Completed: 1983

Located on: Haro River

Height: 51 m or 167 ft.

Length: N/A

Cost: Rs. 1,352 million

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan using #NASA satellite images to monitor, manage groundwater resources. via @physorg_com

Pakistan's water managers are looking to NASA satellites to help them more effectively monitor and manage that precious resource, thanks to a partnership with engineers and hydrologists at the University of Washington, Seattle.
"Satellites up in space looking at how much water we have underground, in rivers or in the atmosphere are providing routine observations that can help policymakers and on-the-ground managers make informed decisions," said Faisal Hossain, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. "From offering improved flood forecasting to indicating areas where groundwater resources are threatened, freely available satellite data can be an invaluable resource, particularly in developing countries."

After training at the University of Washington, the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources in January 2016 began using satellite data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission to create monthly updates on groundwater storage changes in the Indus River basin. This will allow them to see where groundwater supplies are being depleted and where they are being adequately recharged. Like all NASA satellite data, GRACE data are freely available for download from open NASA data centers (GRACE Tellus and the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
GRACE's pair of identical satellites, launched in 2002, map tiny variations in Earth's gravity. Since water has mass, it affects these measurements. Therefore, GRACE data can help scientists monitor where the water is and how it changes over time. Using tools developed by the University of Washington and partners at the University of Houston; Ohio State University, Columbus; and NASA's Applied Sciences Program, Pakistan's water managers and researchers can analyze the NASA data to estimate changes in the total amount of available water, as well as changes in groundwater supplies.

"Using these satellites, we can indicate the areas that are most threatened by groundwater depletion. We can tell the farmers and water managers and help decision makers formulate better and more sustainable policies," said Naveed Iqbal, an assistant director and hydrogeologist at the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources. Iqbal spent six months at the University of Washington learning how to analyze and process the GRACE data to enhance decision-making at his agency.
GRACE project scientist Carmen Boening of JPL, which manages the GRACE project for NASA, said, "This is another great example of the unique ability of GRACE to see changes in water resources on a regional scale and provide easily accessible information where data are otherwise limited."
Compared to traditional groundwater monitoring efforts, the satellite information offers less spatial resolution but huge benefits in terms of cost and efficiency. For example, Pakistani water managers spent eight years building a groundwater monitoring network in the Indus River basin alone, and that network provides readings only twice a year.
"It's so fundamentally difficult to do this monitoring in a conventional way—sending people and sticking probes in the ground to measure water. It takes a long time and it's expensive," said Hossain, who runs the University of Washington's Sustainability, Satellites, Water and Environment Research Group. "In some places you can't even send people because the terrain is too remote or there is mortal danger due to insurgency and political strife."

Riaz Haq said...

Overreacting to #Terrorism? #BrusselsAttacks #Obama #Trump #Cruz2016 #Islamophobia

Are terrorists more of a threat than slippery bathtubs?

President Obama, er, slipped into hot water when The Atlantic reportedthat he frequently suggests to his staff that fear of terrorism is overblown, with Americans more likely to die from falls in tubs than from attacks by terrorists.

The timing was awkward, coming right before the Brussels bombings, but Obama is roughly right on his facts: 464 people drowned in America in tubs, sometimes after falls, in 2013, while 17 were killed here by terrorists in 2014 (the most recent years for which I could get figures). Of course, that’s not an argument for relaxing vigilance, for at some point terrorists will graduate from explosives to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons that could be far more devastating than even 9/11. But it is an argument for addressing global challenges a little more rationally.

The basic problem is this: The human brain evolved so that we systematically misjudge risks and how to respond to them.

Our visceral fear of terrorism has repeatedly led us to adopt policies that are expensive and counterproductive, such as the invasion of Iraq. We have ramped up the intelligence community so much that there are now seven times as many Americans with security clearances (4.5 million) as live in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Donald Trump responded to the Brussels attacks with crowd-pleasing calls for torture or barring Muslims that even Republican security experts agree are preposterous.

On the same day as the attacks, a paper by James E. Hansen and other climate experts was released arguing that carbon emissions are transforming our world far more quickly than expected, in ways that may inundate coastal cities and cause storms more horrendous than any in modern history. The response? A yawn.

Hansen is an eminent former NASA scientist, but he’s also an outlier in his timing forecasts, and I’m not qualified to judge whether he’s correct. Yet whatever the disagreement about the timeline, there is scientific consensus that emissions on our watch are transforming our globe for 10,000 years to come. As an important analysis in Nature Climate Change put it, “The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.”

To put it another way, this year’s election choices may shape coastlines 10,000 years from now. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both mocked the idea of human-caused climate change, with Trump suggesting that it is a hoax invented by China to harm the American economy (he now says that last point was a joke).

The upshot is that Brussels survived this week’s terrorist attacks, but it may not survive climate change (much of the city is less than 100 feet above sea level).

Doesn’t it seem prudent to invest in efforts to avert not only shoe bombers but also the drowning of the world’s low-lying countries?


Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, says that the kind of threats that we evolved to deal with are those that are imminent rather than gradual, and those that involve a deliberate bad actor, especially one transgressing our moral code. Explaining our lack of concern for global warming, he noted,“Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, not flags.”

In short, our brains are perfectly evolved for the Pleistocene, but are not as well suited for the risks we face today. If only climate change caused sharp increases in snake populations, then we’d be on top of the problem!

Yet even if our brains sometimes mislead us, they also crown us with the capacity to recognize our flaws and rectify mistakes. So maybe we can adjust for our weaknesses in risk assessment — so that we confront the possible destruction of our planet as if it were every bit as ominous and urgent a threat as, say, a passing garter snake.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan expands monitoring of its 5000 #glaciers to reduce disaster risk. #water #climatechange via @Reuters

Pakistan will invest $8.5 million to expand a network of glacier monitoring stations tracking the pace of glacial melt in the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges, in an effort to strengthen early warning systems and reduce the impact of flooding in the South Asian country.

Almost half of Pakistan's 5,000 glaciers, covering around 15,000 square kilometers, are in rapid retreat, scientists say. The rate of glacial melt, which has risen by about 23 percent in the previous decade, is among the fastest in the world, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).

Last month, the government approved 892.5 million rupees for a four-year project to expand the network of monitoring stations as officials seek more accurate data on temperature, humidity, changing rainfall patterns and wind speed, while tracking the rate at which glaciers are melting.

"The initiative is indispensable for enhancing the country's climate resilience, and vital to the meteorological department's ability to timely release warnings about the flood risk," Ghulsam Rasul, director-general of the meteolorological department, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

"Based on data from these weather stations, timely warnings will be issued to provide a lead time of 60 to 90 minutes to communities in flood-prone areas to respond effectively to early flood warnings," he said.

Pakistan is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. In 2010, the country suffered the worst floods in a generation with more than 1,600 killed and over 14 million affected as floodwaters inundated over a third of the country.

Investing in disaster preparedness not only saves lives but also money with each $1 dollar spent saving $7 in tackling the aftermath of disasters such as floods, development experts have said.


Pakistan's meterological department also has submitted a six-year plan to modernize the country's aging weather forecasting system - at a cost of 16.6 billion rupees ($159 million) - to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for approval.

The plan proposes installing 22 meteorological radar stations across the country and 400 advanced automatic weather stations, while overhauling community-based weather observatory stations in 98 districts.

"Our radar network – comprising seven flood warning radars - is now very poor and obsolete," Ghulam Rasul said.

Besides expanding early warning systems, disaster management officials are focusing on getting early warnings to as many people as possible as quickly as possible, said Ahmad Kamal, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.

The agency has sought cooperation from the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and bodies regulating print and electronic media to disseminate weather forecasts and early warnings by SMS and print media when disaster threatens.

Kamal said as many as 10 million SMS alerts were sent to disaster-prone communities in 2015, adding that SMS alerts had proven to be the most effective way of communicating with remote communities, particularly in mountainous regions.

"Despite the same intensity of summer monsoon rains in 2015 as observed in the preceding years, loss of life and cattle in mountain areas was 80 to 90 percent less," Kamal said.

In a country of 200 million people, more than 140 million are mobile phone users, he noted.

"Loss of the life from disasters can be brought zero if one early warning SMS alert about any possible disaster is relayed to these big number of mobile phone users in the country," he suggeste