Construction of dams indispensable for preventing floods

October 05, 2022

By Muhammad Mudassar

The construction of dams is indispensable for the development of a country as these water reservoirs produce energy, irrigation water, and also help prevent floods.

While talking to WealthPK, Muhammad Nadeem, Sub Divisional Officer, WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority), said there are 24 rivers in Pakistan covering a huge area that can be used to build power plants for low-cost and environment-friendly electricity.

According to WAPDA, Pakistan has an estimated hydropower potential of 60,000MW, out of which 7,320MW have already been developed.

In August 2022, the precipitation in Pakistan was about 243% higher than the normal average, which resulted in the wettest month of August since 1961, as per the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). Flash floods resulting from rains claimed over 1,500 lives and the projected loss to the economy was around $40 billion.

Sindh province has been hit the worst by floods. It is estimated that 33 million people have been affected by floods, 14 million of whom are from Sindh province. Sindh is primarily a rural region, where most of the people rely mainly on agriculture for their livelihoods.

The disaster caused by the impacts of climate change resulted in a loss of 80% (1.8 million tons) of the total expected rice production in Sindh. Additionally, there was a loss of 88% (3.5 million bales) of the total expected cotton production, according to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

In terms of economic loss, Sindh suffered a loss of around $1.3 billion in rice, cotton, and sugarcane crops. In addition, it suffered a loss of $374 million in tomato, onion, and chili, and $13 million in livestock.

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), this flash flood caused destruction of 765,000 houses, partial damage to 1.14 million houses, damage to around 12,700 kilometers of roads, and loss of 936,000 cattle.

Deputy Collector of Irrigation Abdul Wadood Khan said that if new dams, especially small or medium-sized ones, were built in time, the rainwater could have been stored and utilized for irrigation in Pakistan, which often faces water shortage.

The official said Pakistan is blessed with a large number of small and big rivers. These rivers have plenty of natural sites that could be developed into dams to avert floods and address the longstanding water woes of the country.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk