KARACHI, To cater the needs of arid areas of Khirthar range at the boundary of Sindh and Balochistan, work to construct small dams on two fierce rainwater rivers of the hilly area has been kicked off.
According to Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) following the award of contracts for Nai Gaj and Naulong dams, the contractors have been mobilised to the sites to start construction work on the projects.
The WAPDA was directed to construct a number of small and medium-sized dams in the four provinces and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in addition to executing mega projects in water and hydropower sectors. These small and medium dams are being constructed for socio-economic development of the people of remote areas in the country. The projects will help store water for irrigated agriculture, mitigate floods, generate low-cost hydel electricity for the local populace, and provide employment opportunities and emancipation of women.
Nai Gaj and Naulong dams have been taken up in compliance with the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari for betterment of the people in backward areas.
The Nai Gaj Dam is being constructed across Gaj River in district Dadu of Sindh with a total project cost of about Rs.26.2 billion. The
194-foot high dam will store 300,000 acre feet of water to irrigate about 29,000 acres of land. The project will create employment opportunities for 6,500 persons during the construction, operation and its maintenance. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated more than Rs.3 billion.
The Naulong Dam is being constructed on Mula River in Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan with a total project cost of about Rs.16billion. The project, with a water storage capacity of nearly 250,000 acre feet, will irrigate 47,000 acres of land. Some 4,300 employment opportunities will be generated during the construction, operation and maintenance of the project. Benefits of the project have been calculated more than Rs.2 billion per annum.
It is pertinent to mention that high efficiency irrigation systems – drip, sprinkler, etc. – are also being introduced at the project to maximise benefits of the stored water. The Federal Government has announced to provide upto 25 acres of land to the poor women of the project areas.