Pakistan faces many critical problems and some of them are
directly related to shortage of irrigation water. The problem has further
aggravated due a drought-like situation. Added to this has been waterlogging and
salinity due to seepage of water from canals etc. which has rendered millions of
acres of land un-cultivable. Engro Asahi Polymer and Chemicals has developed a
possible solution based on locally produced material. This can help in
controlling seepage as well as ensure additional supply, otherwise lost due to
According to some experts the water losses in the Indus river
are constantly increasing. The overall losses in the Indus are calculated at
around 30 per cent higher as compared to the last year. An estimated loss of Rs
146 billion has been occurred to Sindh's economy which includes Rs 133 billion
alone due to drought, water shortage and sea intrusion.
The Governor of Sindh, Mohammedmian Soomro inaugurated the
PVC Geomembrane watercourse lining demonstration site in District Thatta
recently. The demonstration site has been developed by Engro Asahi in
collaboration with On-Farm Water Management, Government of Sindh, to demonstrate
seepage control using PVC Geomembrane lining. This demonstration was in
pursuance of the decision of the Sindh Economic Recovery Task Force subcommittee
dealing with irrigation water losses.
While addressing a diversified audience, the Governor said
that water conservation was one of the biggest challenges of the day and that
the Provincial Government was dealing with it on priority basis. The Governor
was pleased with the public-private sector partnership in the promotion of
modern technology in the agricultural sector and emphasized the need for
developing a comprehensive strategy to make the irrigation system more
In various presentations made earlier, it was highlighted
that 50 million acre feet of water is lost annually in Pakistan due to seepage
in canals and water courses. In Sindh alone, 15 million acre feet is lost due to
salinity. This water, if saved can help in making millions of acres of
waterlogged land cultivable. The increased cultivation and agricultural
production will help in reducing the trade deficit and improve the macroeconomic
performance of the country.
The demonstration site, a 820 meter long watercourse, was
lined with PVC Geomembrane. According to data collected and verified by the
On-Farm Water Management, pre-lining water losses were 44 per cent of total
water discharged. However, after applying the PVC Geomembrane lining water
losses were reduced successfully to less than three per cent — including
The seepage control provided by Geomembrane lining is
significantly superior to other available alternatives. In terms of cost, PVC
Geomembrane is cheaper than the traditional method of brick lining with
concrete. Moreover, the useful life of PVC Geomembrane lining is around 40 years
which is significantly greater than traditional lining methods. PVC Geomembrane
is easy to install and readily available since it is based on indigenous
materials processed by the domestic PVC calendering facilities.
This project has been undertaken with the help of Japan.
Hasan Ali Chanhio was officially invited by the Japanese government and visited
several concerned organizations and departments to get conversant with the
methods and style of management of Japan's agriculture sector.
In his address H. E. Kazumi Dekiba, Consul General of Japan,
appreciated the efforts of Sindh Economic Recovery Task Force, headed by Dr.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister of Finance, Government of Sindh. He also
suggested, "In connection to Geomembrane lining in canal network, I
personally feel that there is a need to establish a kind of community base
association also, or a kind of platform, where all the farming land-owners and
farmers join hand in hand to take good care of this facility and maintain it in
an efficient way. I also have a kind of apprehension that after spreading the
lining some kind of disputes may arise among these private land owners. Hence,
this association or community based organization could settle those disputes