Growing Water Crisis Poses Existential Threat to 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 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

Comments

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.


http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/11/climate-change-blamed-for-sindh-flooding-2.html
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.
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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: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/09/16/2410787_p2/pakistan-search-for-energy-could.html#ixzz1YBKY4KxS
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.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/05/18/every-30-minutes-an-indian-farmer-commits-suicide-biotech-is-not-to-blame/2/
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.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/302326/neelum-jhelum-project-pakistan-pushes-china-to-release-promised-500m/
Riaz Haq said…
US State Dept & Sen Feinstein defend US aid to Pakistan, according to Dawn:

WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Tuesday defended aid to Pakistan amid calls from senators for a full review of whether economic and military assistance there serves the US national interest.

“We believe our assistance to Pakistan still continues to provide dividends for the American people in trying to grow and strengthen Pakistan’s democratic institutions, boost its economy,” said spokesman Mark Toner.

“In the long term, you know, those are the kinds of things we’re seeking to achieve,” he told reporters one day after Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham made a full-throated call for reevaluating the aid.

His comments came shortly after US Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein said that cutting assistance to Pakistan would be unhelpful but warned that calls to do so had strong congressional support.

“I don’t think that’s useful,” she told reporters. “My understanding is that there’s some overtures under way to restore the relationship. Well, that’s fine, but I suspect that if a bill were to come to the floor which fenced money, the bill would have a good chance of passing,”she said.

US lawmakers have expressed mounting anger at Pakistan, accusing military and intelligence officials there of supporting the Haqqani network blamed here for attacks on US forces and targets in Afghanistan.

“I can only express my profound disappointment with the relationship” and the “deterioration” in an already troubled alliance that “goes up and down, and up and down, and up and down,” she said.

“My very strong feeling is you can’t walk both sides of the street with respect to terror,” said Feinstein.

Relations slid to a new low last month when Nato air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border, prompting Pakistan to boycott an international conference in Bonn on Afghanistan’s future.

“This is a very complex relationship,” Toner said, adding that the deadly border incident “was difficult for the Pakistani people, for the Pakistani government.”

“They have reacted in a way that shows how important and how significant this tragedy was for them,” Toner said.

“It’s absolutely essential that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US, other international partners, work through this and beyond. It’s in all our interests.”

But Republican Senator Mark Kirk told AFP that McCain and Graham, who serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, “are right.”

“Military aid to Pakistan is unsustainable, and in this time of deficits and debt, we ought to save the money,” he said, warning that if Pakistan has chose “to embrace terror and back the Haqqani network,” it should do so “without subsidies from the US taxpayer.

Kirk has also called for bolstering ties to India and “making India a military ally of the United States and to encourage India to fill the vacuum in Kabul once we leave.”


http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/07/us-state-dept-defends-pakistan-aid.html
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.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/304366/diamer-bhasha-dam-adb-agrees-to-provide-technical-financial-support/
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.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\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.
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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.

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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.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=83815&Cat=9
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.


http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article554122.ece
water testing said…
Water protects 70.9% of the Global exterior,and is important for all known types of everyday life.On Soil, 96.5% of the global water is discovered in sea, 1.7% in groundwater, 1.7% in snow and the ice limits of Antarctica and Greenland, a little portion in other huge water systems, and 0.001% in the air as steam, atmosphere (formed of strong and fluid water debris hanging in air), and precipitation
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.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/351745/the-food-water-energy-nexus--pakistan-walking-a-tightrope/#comment-617375
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.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gC8sjJnQh2zAV1dxx-fMAZlKG0FA?docId=CNG.cc5ff6942ce75ef4fd87ae4d1d3fa477.51
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.


http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=152015
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.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\09\25\story_25-9-2012_pg5_4
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Korean news agency Yonhap on Zardari's visit:

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari agreed Tuesday to bolster all-round economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas of railways and hydropower, the presidential office said.

Zardari arrived in Seoul on Monday for a three-day official visit, and held summit talks with Lee with a focus on strengthening cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure construction, energy and development assistance, the office said.

The two sides signed two memorandums of understanding, one calling for Pakistan to provide supportive measures for South Korean aid projects to the country and the other calling for cooperation in railway modernization and related projects in Pakistan.

Lee and Zardari noted that trade between the two countries climbed to US$1.56 billion last year following a fall in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis, and that South Korean firms are getting actively involved in infrastructure, chemical and other projects in Pakistan, the office said.

Zardari expressed gratitude for South Korea's official development aid to the country, and South Korea agreed to help Pakistan draw up a national development plan, known as the "Country Partnership Strategy," by the first half of next year, the office said.

Zardari also offered congratulations to South Korea on its election as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and the two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation at the global body. Pakistan also holds membership on the council.


http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2012/12/04/57/0301000000AEN20121204008900315F.HTML
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.


http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/hobbled-on-energy-india-ponders-a-multitude-of-dams/
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......


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/03/3238781/deforestation-water-energy-pakistan/
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."


http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140311/misery-mounts-drought-hit-southeast-pakistan-0
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.
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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.
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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.

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=246356
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.


http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/10/u-s-seeks-financial-adviser-for-pakistan-s-4-500-mw-diamer-bhasha-hydro-project.html
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, www.fbo.gov, 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: mahassan@usaid.gov.

http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2014/10/u-s-seeks-engineering-review-of-pakistan-s-4-500-mw-diamer-bhasha-hydro-project.html
Riaz Haq said…
KARACHI: Asia's largest reverse osmosis plant, having a capacity to produce two million gallons of water daily, was inaugurated today in Pakistan's drought-ridden Sindh province.

The plant which is billed to produce two million gallons of water per day is expected to reduce the water crisis in Tharparkar district where last year hundreds of children have lost their lives by drinking untreated water.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the plant. Zardari, who is also co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party which heads the province, said his party was committed to provide clean drinking water to the people of the area.

Zardari said Asia's biggest RO plant has been set up at a cost of Rs 300 million while many smaller plants having a capacity of 10,000 gallons per day have also been set up across the region at a cost of around Rs 2.5 million each.

The Sindh government plans to install 300 reverse osmosis (RO) plants in water-starved regions of the province by February.

The number of the ROs already made operational is 150. Irshad Hussain, the chief operating officer of Pak Oasis, the company that has been working in Thar's water sector since 2004, said the government had allocated Rs 5.4 billion allocated to set up RO plants in the region.

He said these plants can be operated through electricity or solar energy and steps were being taken to convert most of the filter plants to solar energy.

"It is solar energy that matters here in this region as it makes operation of ROs cost effective," he added.

Taj Haider, a senior PPP leader who is overlooking the operation in the region said: "For years now people living in the region have had to travel several kilometres to fetch a few buckets of clean water from reservoirs in their area. The situation is going to change now for the people of Tharparkar.

Reverse osmosis plant uses a purification technology that remove salts and other pollutants from water.


http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-01-07/news/57791724_1_water-sector-osmosis-water-crisis
Riaz Haq said…
MITHI, Pakistan, Feb 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Worsening drought has led to over 80 percent of water resources in Pakistan's southern Tharparker district becoming unfit for people to drink, a new study says.

That has led to plans by the Sindh provincial government to invest 5.4 billion Pakistani rupees ($53 million) in installing 750 solar-powered reverse osmosis water purification plants across the sprawling desert district, to help get safe drinking water to the region's over 1.5 million people.

All of the facilities are expected to be set up and working by June this year, the government said.

Residents living near a first plant, inaugurated in January in the Misri Shah area of Mithi, the district headquarters of Tharparker, say it is transforming life in the parched region, where vanishing rain and drying groundwater supplies mean most available water is now saline or too high in fluoride.




"It is really hardly less than a miracle for us that we can now drink sweet and clean water, for the first time in my entire life," said 45-year-old Rekha Meghwar of Mithi, as she turns on the water plant's tap to fill her pitcher.

Billed as the 'Asia's largest (by capacity) solar-powered water purification plant', the facility will treat 3 million gallons of water daily, enough to meet the water needs of 300,000 people in Mithi and in 80 adjoining villages, according to officials in the Mithi town municipal office.

Constructed at a cost of 400 million Pakistani rupees or $4 million, the plant is expected to particularly benefit women, who currently often must fetch water from far-away hand-dug wells.

Sunita Bheel, a woman waiting in line for water from the new Mithi plant, said women in the area often walk two kilometers a day to fetch water from a hand-dug well owned by a landlord outside the village.



EFFECT ON MIGRATION

Local people said having water available for themselves, and their livestock, may stem increasing waves of migration from the area.

Anil Kumar, who lives in Morrey-Jee-Waand village, a few miles from Mithi, said 80 percent of people in his village and in seven other villages around it migrated last September to other areas in the region with supplies of dam water in an effort to find potable water for themselves and their livestock, and to seek jobs after crops failed.

"But they are now gradually returning to their villages when they learn about the sweet water (plant)," said the 65-year-old guar farmer, who looks after the property and belongings of neighbours who have migrated.

Today, Kumar rides every other day on his mule, strapped with two empty 30-liter drums, to the filtration plant to bring back water, he said.

Access to useable water is a key problem in drought-hit Tharparkar. Barely 5 percent of the population has access to clean and disease-free potable water, according to a study by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) and the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR).

One reason for this has been worsening fluoride contamination of underground water sources as less water recharges the drying system. The study found that the fluoride level at many locations in Tharparkar is at dangerous levels of over 13 mg/liter compared to the 1 mg/liter considered normal.

Excessive fluoride intake, from sources with more than 1.5 mg/liter of fluoride in the water, can cause problems such as bone deformation, dental problems, and damage to the kidneys and thyroid.

NO RAIN, NO RIVERS

Tharparkar depends heavily on rain-fed ground water, as it has no rivers. It receives an average annual rainfall between 200 and 300 millimetres, 80 percent of it during summer monsoon season, which runs from July to September. The rainfall recharges groundwater that must then last for the other three quarters of the year.

---

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/drought-hit-pakistan-turns-to-solar-water-treatment1/
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.


http://m.deseretnews.com/article/865634357/Utah-and-Pakistan-educational-institutions-team-up-to-solve-water-issues.html
Riaz Haq said…
Rainwater harvesting brings hope to farmers in #Pakistan’s #Punjab. #Water http://scroll.in/article/801240/rainwater-harvesting-brings-hope-to-farmers-in-pakistans-punjab … 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 using #NASA satellite images to monitor, manage groundwater resources. http://phy.so/376039608 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…
Excerpts from a right-wing Hindu publication hindunet.org on the history of water issues between India and Pakistan:


Following the partition of the sub-continent, India and Pakistan signed a "standstill agreement" on 18 December 1947 which guaranteed to maintain water supplies at the level of allocation in the pre-partition days. However, on 1 April 1948, India without any warning cut off supplies to Pakistan from both Ferozepur and Gurdaspur. The action was contrary to the letter and the spirit of the international law covering interstate river waters. The Barcelona Convention of 1921 on interstate river waters to which India was a signatory disallowed every State to stop or alter the course of a river which flowing through its own territories went into a neighbouring country and also forbade to use its waters in such a way as to imperil the lands in the neighbouring State or to impede their adequate use by the lower riparians. But India as the upper riparian of the Indus rivers was in a position of strength. India could deflect the Beas into the Sutlej above Bhakra or divert the Ravi into the Beas at Madhopur. It could construct a dam on Wular lake in the Kashmir valley and dry up the river Jhelum. A headwork on the Chenab at Dhiangarh, north of Jammu, could deflect the Chenab from its natural course into Pakistan. The major projects of the Bhakra, Pong and Thein dams then in the offing, if completed, could drain off the rivers of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.

------


The Indus water Treaty was signed at Karachi on 19 September, 1960 by Prime Minister Nehru and President Ayub Khan. Under the agreement India promised to supply waters to Pakistan for the payment of expenses for operating the Madhopur and Ferozepur head works and their carrier channels, and also to contribute Rupees 100 crore for construction of replacement headworks to Pakistan.


http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/sarasvati/sarasvati_river/punjabriverwaters.html
Riaz Haq said…
From Sashi Tharoor:


‘isolation’ is a bigger challenge for New Delhi this time: Firstly, because Uri involved fewer victims than Mumbai; secondly, because they were soldiers, not civilians as in 26/11; and thirdly, because various countries have bilateral reasons not to isolate Pakistan.
The US needs Pakistan because of Afghanistan, and China has major strategic interests there, especially a $46 billion economic corridor that is China’s single biggest overseas development project. As long as major powers choose to stay engaged with Pakistan, overlooking its misbehaviour, diplomatic isolation will have its limitations as a policy.

‘Surgical’ airstrikes seem superficially attractive, not least because, in Eliot Cohen’s marvellous formulation, they are an option rather like modern courtship — they offer the possibility of gratification without commitment. You fly from a great height, drop a few bombs and come back home, without taking the issue any further, leaving your victims to contemplate the smoking ruins.

What about Pakistani retaliation, which is sure to be swift and perhaps disproportionate? At what point do you stop the punishment that will inevitably provoke more reprisals? And what about the international opprobrium you will incur for violating the LoC or worse, breaching an international frontier?

Above all, what about the ancillary risks of further escalation? India’s overriding priority is economic development, which requires foreign investment and a peaceful climate for economic growth. How does that square with the military adventurism being advocated by our armchair generals? Investors, naturally, do not like to invest in war zones. Can we afford to drive away the funds without which we cannot pull our people out of poverty?

The possibility of India revisiting the Indus Waters Treaty signed with Pakistan in 1960 has also aroused some strategists, and even MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup, who said pointedly that “any cooperative arrangement requires goodwill and mutual trust on both sides”.
Under the treaty, India has control over three eastern rivers — Beas, Ravi and Sutlej —and Pakistan the western rivers of the Chenab and Jhelum. Swarup darkly hinted that it was in jeopardy: “For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation. It cannot be a one-sided affair.”
But the treaty under which the waters of the Indus and its five tributaries are distributed between the two countries is not purely a bilateral affair; it was brokered by the World Bank, whose involvement will be automatically triggered if India unilaterally abrogates it.

Nor can it be done like turning off a tap; various measures would be required to ensure that Indian cities do not get flooded with the water that is no longer flowing to Pakistan.


https://www.thequint.com/uri-attack/2016/09/25/scrapping-the-indus-treaty-will-isolate-india-globally-tharoor-modi-kozhikode-uri-terror-attack-kashmir-mumbai-26-11
Riaz Haq said…
#China and #Pakistan sign US$50 billion MoU for #Indus River Cascade. #Bhasha #Dasu #Patan #Thakot Dams. #CPEC http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2017/05/china-and-pakistan-sign-mou-for-us-50-billion-earmarked-for-indus-river-cascade.html China and Pakistan signed a US$50 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) on May 13 to develop and complete the Indus River Cascade, according to information from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The MoU was one of several signed related to improving and developing Pakistan’s infrastructure.
Yousuf Naseem Khokhar, Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) secretary for Water and Power, and Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan, Sun Weidong, signed the MoU under the CPEC agreement during the Diamer-Bhasha Project Conference hosted by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) in Beijing, China.
Under the MoU, China’s NEA would oversee building and funding the five hydropower projects that have an estimated total installed generation capacity of 22,320 MW and according to WAPDA, the Indus River has a potential of producing 40,000 MW.
The Indus River Cascade begins from Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, both located in the northwestern portion of Pakistan. Overall, Pakistan has identified a potential of 60,000 MW from hydropower projects.
The planned cascade includes the 4,500-MW Diamer-Basha project, which is already being constructed and four additional projects being developed: 2,400-MW Patan; 4,000-MW Thakot; 7,100-MW Bunji; and 4,320-MW Dasu.
In April, WAPDA awarded a pair of contracts to perform resettlement works associated with construction of the two-stage Dasu hydropower project to China's Zhongmei Engineering Group, worth about $18.56 million combined. The work includes the resettlement of Barseen, Kaigah, Khoshe, Logro, Nasirabad and Uchar.
WAPDA said the resettlement package includes utilities, roads and other amenities including schools, livestock accommodations and recreational areas.
In February, WAPDA announced it finalized the main contracts for civil works for stage-1 of the Dasu project, which is 2,160 MW. The Dasu hydropower stage-I project is estimated to cost about $4.2 billion and is located on the Indus River in the Kohsitan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Its location is about 240 km upstream of the 3,480-MW Tarbela hydropower complex and 74 km downstream from the Diamer-Basha site.
According to CPEC information, funding the Indus River Cascade represents China’s second-largest investment in Pakistan following $57 billion already committed to several infrastructure improvements under the CPEC.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian media on Bunji and Bhasha dams in Gilgit Baltistan:

China To Invest $27 Billion In Construction Of Two Mega Dams In Pakistan-Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan

https://swarajyamag.com/insta/china-pakistan-plan-for-construction-of-two-mega-dams-in-gilgit-baltistan

China and Pakistan have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of two mega dams in Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state that remains under latter’s illegal occupation. The MoU was signed during the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Beijing for participation in the recently concluded Belt and Road Initiative.

The two dams, called Bunji and Diamer-Bhasha hydroelectricity projects, will have the capacity of generating 7,100MW and 4,500MW of electricity respectively. China will fund the construction of the two dams, investing $27 billion in the process, a report authored by Brahma Chellaney in the Times of India has noted.

According to Chellaney, India does not have a single dam measuring even one-third of Bunji in power generation capacity. The total installed hydropower capacity in India’s part of the state does not equal even Diamer-Bhasha, the smaller of the two dams.

The two dams are part of Pakistan’s North Indus River Cascade, which involves construction of five big water reservoirs with an estimated cost of $50 billion. These dams, together, will have the potential of generating approximately 40,000MW of hydroelectricity. Under the MoU, China’s National Energy Administration would oversee the financing and funding of these projects.
Riaz Haq said…
#Mobile #CellPhone & #Satellites Improve #Farming in #Pakistan. #Irrigation #Agriculture #Water #Technology

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/mobile-phones-improve-farming-in-pakistan/3922948.html

Mobile phones and satellites are becoming valuable farming tools in Pakistan.

A new program there uses satellite information to estimate how much water a field needs. The satellite then sends this information by text message to farmers' mobile phones.

The program’s aim is to prevent the farmers from overwatering crops. A 2013 report from the Asian Development Bank says Pakistan has some of the most severe water problems in the world. The country’s water availability is similar to Syria’s, where a lack of rainfall has intensified civil war.

Pakistan is only able to store water that can last up to 30 days. That is far below the recommended storage amount of 1,000 days.

Several issues have led to Pakistan’s water crisis. They include climate changes, a growing population, local water mismanagement and a greater demand on farmers.

Many fear the water crisis could weaken relations between Pakistan and India. The two countries share the Indus River.

Turning off the water

Many older Pakistani farmers received agricultural training several years ago, when water was more readily available. They know the risks that come with underwatering crops.

But using too much water can reduce crop harvests.

The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources found that rice farmers were using more than three times as much water as they needed.

The council asked the Sustainability, Satellites, Water, and Environment research group, at the University of Washington, to get involved. The council wanted the research group to use science to help inform irrigation choices.

Pakistan's program started with 700 farmers in the spring of 2016. By January, 10,000 farmers were receiving text messages with a water amount advisory. For example, one message read: "Dear farmer friend, we would like to inform you that the irrigation need for your banana crop was 2 inches during the past week."

The messages come from a fully-automated system. It uses publicly available satellite information. It also uses models to compute how much water each farmer needs to irrigate.

A national effort

The council plans to expand the program for use across the country, and expects millions of farmers to participate. But first the system must be reviewed.

The researchers want to know how easy it is for farmers to use, and how many follow the irrigation advisories. They also want to know how accurate it is and whether it saves farmers money.

They are collecting responses from farmers over the phone.

Faisal Hossain is with the University of Washington. He says he has not seen a report on the results yet. However, the group heard from one farmer in the program who said he was able to get about 700 kilograms more wheat than his neighbor. The farmer said he believes the irrigation advisories made this possible.

Expanding the program may be difficult. The council may need to work harder to persuade farmers to trust the technology. Those working on smaller farms may not feel comfortable depending on mobile phone technology.

Mobile phones are already very common in Pakistan, however. And last year the Punjab government announced that it would give out 5 million smartphones to farmers.

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