Water committee demands updated availability data
By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: The technical committee on water resources headed by AGN Abbasi is dissatisfied with the data presented by WAPDA and the Planning Division about water availability. The committee ordered WAPDA and the planning division to present updated water availability figures, sources said.
This was the second formal meeting of the committee, which was constituted by President Pervez Musharraf in August 2003 to finalise water availability data to help ascertain the feasibility of new water reservoirs.
An official present at the meeting said that the WAPDA water member and planning division secretary gave presentations on water needs, availability figures and the surplus situation for the new reservoirs.
Mr Abbasi told the participants of the meeting that the committee would visit the four provinces and other stakeholders to reconcile WAPDA’s figures, said the official.
Mr Abbasi and other members raised questions about water sector projects that the planning division had approved without pre-feasibility studies. They also asked whether the required water availability situation had been properly analysed, said the official.
“Members of the technical committee challenged WAPDA water availability figures, especially the fact that they had estimated a negative availability of eight million acre feet (MAF) of water,” said the official. “They questioned this figure and asked WAPDA officials to rectify it because the presented figures meant that building new dams was unfeasible.”
Committee members criticised WAPDA for presenting four different figures at different forums. “They said that WAPDA had presented a water availability figure of 142 MAF to the Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) conference a few months ago and 156 MAF to the Memon Committee,” said the official. “WAPDA data availability figures said that five MAF of water was being used by the NWFP above rim station.
The date provided also stated that Afghanistan would not use more than 0.5 MAF of water from the River Kabul, leaving about eight MAF of water from the river for Pakistan.”