Wednesday, January 6, 2016

UAE Eyes Pakistan's Dasht River Water in Balochistan

A top UAE businessman has proposed building a 500 kilometer long pipeline to bring Pakistan's Dasht River water from the Makran coast to Fujaira for United Arab Emirates' water security.

Water-scarce Pakistan itself needs to store and use the Dasht River water for development of Balochistan, particularly Gwadar and other related projects as part of the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Abdullah Al Shehi, the CEO of GeoWash, has argued that the Dasht River floods annually, which has prompted the Pakistani government to empty the excess water through channels leading to the sea. That excess water, said Mr Al Shehi, could be put to use in the UAE, according to a report in the UAE's newspaper "The National".

Dasht River

Dasht River:

Dasht River is located in Makran region and Gwadar District, in the southwestern section of Balochistan Province, in southwestern Pakistan. The Kech River, a seasonal intermittent river, is a tributary of the Dasht River which flows southeast through the Central Makran Range in the Gwadar District of Balochistan into the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

Mirani Dam

Mirani Dam:

Mirani Dam was completed on Dasht River in 2006 to store over 300,000 acre-feet of fresh water to meet the needs of southern Balochistan. Mirani Dam is the largest dam in the world in terms of volume for flood protection with a floodstock of 588,690 cubic hectometer, according to International Commission On Large Dams (ICOLD). This water reservoir is essential for the development of a deep sea port and a major new metropolis in Gawadar as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In addition to supplying fresh water to Turbat, Jiwani and Gwadar cities, it has sufficient capacity to irrigate over 33,000 acres of farm land.

UAE Water Security:

The United Arab Emirates uses 80% of its fresh water for agriculture in its arid desert and the rest of the 20% for urban needs, according to The National. Here's the key question: Does it make more sense for the UAE to import food rather than grow its own food by importing fresh water? The second question is: Can the UAE focus on desalination for the water it needs for urban use?


Gwadar port was first conceived in late 1950s when Pakistan purchased the region from  the Sultanate of Oman. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been talked about since early 1990s. But nothing was done to develop until President Pervez Musharraf allocated time, money and focus to build first several berths at Gwadar deep sea port, Coastal Highway to connect it with Karachi and Mirani Dam in Balochistan to supply water on his watch.

Now water-stressed Pakistan needs to focus on building greater water storage capacity if it's really serious about developing Gwadar, Southwestern Balochistan and the Makran coast. It must not agree to export the Dasht River water to anyone, including the UAE. Instead, it should offer to export food as necessary to meet UAE's needs.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Water-Stressed Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

President Musharraf's Legacy

Mineral Wealth of Balochistan

Pakistan Farm Land Controversy

Recurring Floods and Droughts in Pakistan


Anonymous said...

Isn't Pak already a water deprived country ?

Syed Qasim Abbas said...

Need to stay as far away from these Arabs as possible......them are some bad characters

Riaz Haq said...

SQA: "Need to stay as far away from these Arabs as possible......them are some bad characters"

I think it's unfair and wrong to paint an entire group with a broad brush.

Water availability is a serious issue that should be addressed by Pakistani leaders to serve Pakistan's best interest.

Mayraj said...

Pakistan is a water stressed country. It needs all the water it has and more! These Gulf types seem to be exploiters. In fact may be exploiter should be their middle name!

Abdul Manan said...

I think if Pakistan should allow access water to UAE and received aid or loan without interest for big water infrastrucure projects like,Bunji,Diamir Basha,Dasu

majumdar said...

Prof sb, India is also eyeing Pakilands rivers. Not just the Dasht. All of them


r_sundar said...

This is by far the craziest idea I have ever come upon.

Riaz Haq said...

#China's CTGC to construct US$2.4 billion 1,100-MW #Kohala hydroelectric project in #Kashmir #Pakistan - HydroWorld …

China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) announced today, it will develop the planned 1,100-MW Kohala hydropower project, a run-of-river scheme that will be built on the Jhelum River in Azad-Jammu-Kashmir (AJK).
The project is scheduled for commission in 2023.
AJK is a self-governing administrative division of Pakistan west of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2014, Pakistan’s National Transmission and Dispatch Co. and China International Water and Electric Corp. (CWE) -- a subsidiary of Three Gorges Dam -- finalized a 30-year tariff at 7.9 cents per unit and estimate the project will cost about US$2.4 billion.
The Kohala hydroelectric scheme will have a gravity, roller-concrete compacted dam on the upper branch of the Jhelum, 40 km from Muzaffarabad. The powerhouse, on the lower branch of the Jhelum near Barasala, will house four 275-MW Pelton turbines.
CWE is required to construct the project on a build, own, operate and transfer basis. In 2014, local published reports said the average tariff for the first 12 years was set at 8.9 cents per unit and during the following 18 years would be 5.1 cents per unit. The average tariff for the 30-year life of the project is 7.9 cents per unit.
The tariff ensures 17 per cent return on equity on internal rate of return basis. The project is expected to earn carbon credit from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for clean energy development under the Kyoto protocol.
CTGC said the Kohala project is its largest investment in the Pakistani hydropower market.
The project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 3,000-km-long network of roads, railways and energy infrastructure to assist development in Pakistan and boost growth for the Chinese-border economy.
Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority issued a supporting letter for the project the week of Dec. 19.

Riaz Haq said...

Dams in Balochistan:

Burj Aziz Khan Dam

Garuk Dam

Naulong Dam

Pelar Dam

Sabakzai Dam

Saindak dam

Hingol dam

Mirani dam

Shakidor Dam

Sukleji Dam

Wali Tangi Dam

Winder Dam,_Pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Dams in Balochistan

Akra Kaur Dam Gwadar Akra Kaur River 21 metres (69 ft) 21,000,000 m3 (17,025 acre·ft) 1995
Amach Dam Mastung Amach River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 1,675,000 m3 (1,358 acre·ft) 1987
Baghak Dam
Band-e-Chaman Dam Turbat Band-e-Chaman River 15 metres (49 ft) 2,467,000 m3 (2,000 acre·ft) 1994
Bisialla Dam
Bostan Darra Dam Quetta Darra Manda River 20 metres (66 ft) 210,000 m3 (170 acre·ft) 1987
Brewary Dam
Kuchnai Dara Dam
Duz Durg Dam Mastung Duz Dur River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 49,000 m3 (40 acre·ft) 1984
Galangoor Dam
Ganj Dara Dam
Ghargi Dam Pishin n/a 15.2 metres (50 ft) 123,000 m3 (100 acre·ft) 1986
Ghat Amoon Dam
Ghunza Dam Pishin n/a 15.2 metres (50 ft) 220,000 m3 (178 acre·ft) 1984
Ghuti Shela Dam
Giwari Dam
Gogi Dam Ziarat Gogi River 16.5 metres (54 ft) 493,000 m3 (400 acre·ft) 1981
Gokar Dam
Gur Dam Kalat n/a 15.2 metres (50 ft) 498,000 m3 (404 acre·ft) 1982
Haero Dam
Hingi Dam Quetta Hingi 15 metres (49 ft) 201,000 m3 (163 acre·ft) 1995–96
Hub Dam Malir Hub River 48 metres (157 ft) 1,057,000,000 m3 (856,924 acre·ft) 1979
Khad Koocha Dam Mastung Kad Koocha River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 117,000 m3 (95 acre·ft) 1984
Khajeer Dam Qila Saifullah Khajeer River 15 metres (49 ft) 308,000 m3 (250 acre·ft) 1991
Khori Dam
Kohar Dam
Nari Kach Dam
Kullan Dam
Lalai Dam
Machka Manda Dam
Mana Storage Dam Ziarat Mana River 19.8 metres (65 ft) 1,825,000 m3 (1,480 acre·ft) 1961
Mangi Dam Ziarat Boin Viala River 18 metres (59 ft) 130,000 m3 (105 acre·ft) 1982
Mirani Dam Makran Dasht River 39 metres (128 ft) 373,000,000 m3 (302,396 acre·ft) 2007
Morinko Dam
Murghai Check Dam
Murghai Kotal Dam
Nali Mirdadzai Storage Dam
Nishpa Dam Mastung Nishpa River 15 metres (49 ft) 115,000 m3 (93 acre·ft) 1994
Nousahr Dam
Nundra Kapper Dam
Palian Dam
Pinakai Dam Qila Saifullah Pinakai River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 48,000 m3 (39 acre·ft) 1994
Rindak Storage Dam
Sabakzai Dam Zhob Zhob River 34.75 metres (114.0 ft) 32,700 acre·ft (40,334,856 m3) 2016
Sasnak Mana Storage Dam Ziarat Sasnak River 19 metres (62 ft) 271,000 m3 (220 acre·ft) 1993
Sassi Punnu Dam
Shadak Dam Pishin Shadak River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 86,000 m3 (70 acre·ft) 1983
Shadi Kaur Storage Dam
Shagai Dam Quetta n/a 15.2 metres (50 ft) 381,000 m3 (309 acre·ft) 1993
Sherran Manda Dam
Shiker Dam Pishin Shiker River 19 metres (62 ft) 61,000 m3 (49 acre·ft) 1988
Spin Dam
Spinkarez Dam Quetta Nar River and Murdar River 29 metres (95 ft) 6,800,000 m3 (5,513 acre·ft) 1945
Tabai Dam Quetta Tabai River 15 metres (49 ft) 175,000 m3 (142 acre·ft) 1994
Takhtani Dam
Tang Storage Dam
Tanga Dam
Tangi Dababri Dam
Tangi Dam Qila Saifullah Tangi River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 75,000 m3 (61 acre·ft) 1997
Thamarak Dam Pishin n/a 15.2 metres (50 ft) 241,000 m3 (195 acre·ft) 1986
Tooth Dam Kalat Tooth River 16 metres (52 ft) 490,000 m3 (397 acre·ft) 1991
Torkehezi Dam
Trikh Tangi Dam
Under Base Dam Qila Saifullah Under Base River 15.2 metres (50 ft) 86,000 m3 (70 acre·ft) 1985
Walitangi Dam Quetta Walitangi River 24 metres (79 ft) 510,000 m3 (413 acre·ft) 1961

Rizwan said...

Obviously people will try to do what's in their own interest, UAE included. The only issue is whether Pakistani officials will do what's in the interest of Pakistan or their own pockets. I would not put it above Pakistani officials to sell badly needed Pakistani assets to line their own pockets. I strongly suspect shady dealings against the interests of Pakistan and favoring Chinese firms in the Pak-China Corridor deal, and associated energy and mineral development projects. It would be interesting to know what's up with that. Riaz Bhai, I would appreciate it if you can shed some light on that.

Riaz Haq said...

Balochistan's Mirani Dam built during Musharraf years is the largest dam in the world in terms of volume for flood protection with a floodstock of 588,690 cubic hectometer.

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

Khurshid said...

Like Rizwanbhai, I am not for selling our important resources.

Mush-Fan said...

CPEC will lead the country into more debt!!!
The debt versus benefit ratio is very much tilted.

Majumdar said...

There can be a win win solution here. Build a pipeline which will carry both oil and water. During the monsoon months (June-Sep) the pipeline can carry water to UAE. In the rest of the year, the pipeline can carry oil and gas from Dubai to Pakistan.


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...

Why #SaudiArabia bought 14,000 acres of #California farm land? #CaliforniaDrought #dairy

Saudi Arabia's largest dairy company will soon be unable to farm alfalfa in its own parched country to feed its 170,000 cows. So it's turning to an unlikely place to grow the water-chugging crop — the drought-stricken American Southwest.

Almarai Co. bought land in January that roughly doubled its holdings in California's Palo Verde Valley, an area that enjoys first dibs on water from the Colorado River. The company also acquired a large tract near Vicksburg, Arizona, becoming a powerful economic force in a region that has fewer well-pumping restrictions than other parts of the state.

The purchases totaling about 14,000 acres have rekindled debate over whether a patchwork of laws and court rulings in the West favors farmers too heavily, especially those who grow thirsty, low-profit crops such as alfalfa at a time when cities are urging people to take shorter showers, skip car washes and tear out grass lawns.

"It's not easy to completely grasp the business model of the Middle East, but it may not be about business at all," said John Szczepanski, director of the U.S. Forage Export Council. "The primary focus is food security, and the means to that end lie in acquiring the land and resources to ensure long-term supply."

For decades, Saudi Arabia attempted to grow its own water-intensive crops for food rather than rely on farms abroad. But it reversed that policy about eight years ago to protect scarce supplies.

To further conserve water, the country has adopted bans on selected crops. This year, the kingdom will no longer produce wheat. In December, the government announced the country will stop growing green fodder, livestock feed derived from crops like alfalfa, over the next three years.

Almarai already farms worldwide to make sure that weather, transportation problems or other conditions don't interrupt supplies. The expansion in the American Southwest was a "natural progression" in its effort to diversify supply, said Jordan Rose, an attorney for the company's Arizona unit.

"The cows feed multiple times a day, and they need to be certain that they are always able to fulfill that unwavering demand," she wrote.

Despite the widespread drought conditions, the U.S. is attractive to water-seeking companies because it has strong legal protections for agriculture, even though the price of land is higher than in other places.

"Southern California and Arizona have good water rights. Who knows if that will change, but that's the way things are now," said Daniel Putnam, an agronomist at the University of California, Davis.

Over the last decade, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates emerged as significant buyers of American hay as their governments moved to curb water use. Together they accounted for 10 percent of U.S. exports of alfalfa and other grasses last year.

The land purchases signal that Almarai doesn't just want to buy hay; it wants to grow. And it's not the only Arab-owned Gulf company to take that approach.