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WAPDA vision 2025

The most ambitious development programme in Pakistan's history

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi,
 Islamabad
July 30 - Aug 05 , 2001

The high profile vision 2025 was unfolded at a seminar arranged by WAPDA and inaugurated by the President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in Lahore on Monday. The Chairman Water & Power Development Authority Lt. Gen Zulfiqar Ali Khan highlighted WAPDA vision which envisages meeting the entire needs of water and power generation requirements of the country at a total expenditure of 45 billion US dollars.

Inaugurating the seminar on "Water Resources and hydropower development programme; vision 2025", President Musharraf, attired in his Military uniform, commended the efforts of his comrade General Zulfiqar to put the long-ailing WAPDA on the right path. Gen. Musharraf disclosed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif sought Army's help in managing the affairs of troubled WAPDA. "Accepting the PM's suggestion, I asked Lt. Gen. Zulfiqar Ali Khan to assume the charge of Chairman WAPDA, though he (Zulfiqar) was a bit shy.... but he took up the great challenge and proved his mental by plugging in the leakages and pulled out the corporation for a turnaround," General Musharraf remarked.

He said that WAPDA was on a right path and marching towards a great recovery. The Vision 2025, he said, was also a marvellous achievement under which short-term strategies have been developed for the good of the country. Elaborating WAPDA Chairman, said, six of the schemes that form part of Vision 2025 are due to be launched next month. They include the Gomal Dam in NWFP, Hingol Dam and Mirani Dam in southern Balochistan, the Greater Thal Canal in Punjab and the Right Bank Outfall Canal in Sindh. The cost of these five schemes is estimated at nearly 5 billion dollars. At current prices, the total cost of the Vision 2025 programme which also includes Basha Dam on the Indus River in the Northern Areas, 320 kilometers upstream of Tarbela Dam is estimated at $45 billion.

Chairman said that these six projects, costing 6.29 billion dollars, would help generate 2817.4 MW power besides creating water storage facility of 5.04 Million Acre Feet (MAF) which will bring 1,936,200 areas of land under cultivation in all four provinces of the country.

He said that the objective of the seminar was to seek participation of the interested parties including national and international investors for the fast track and cost effective implementation of the projects. "The seminar aims to share details and status of projects, of foreign and local investors," he said.

The Chairman said that due to sedimentation, Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs have already lost 4.26 million MAF capacity and this loss would be 5.94 MAF by year 2010 which was almost equivalent to the original storage capacity of Mangla Dam.

He lamented that so far existing reservoirs could store 17.1 MAF water out of total storage potential of 64.4 MAF which was only 11 per cent of available surface water. "We can cultivate around 22.5 million acre cultivable land by using the available water resources," he observed. He added that same was the case of hydropower generation as only 16 per cent of our total capacity could be achieved.

General Zulfiqar Ali Khan said that according to a study, we may face power shortage of 650 MW by the year 2006. However, by harnessing the potential to generate 40,000 MW, this shortage could easily be overcome. He said that during the last 20 years, the share of hydropower in total generation had reduced from 60 per cent to 20 per cent.

The Vision 2025 is to be implemented in three phases. The federal cabinet approved the Vision 2025 programme in August last year. Under Phase 1 of the three-phase programme, WAPDA has been given the go-ahead to undertake detailed engineering and feasibility studies for Basha Dam and the Greater Thal Canal, as well as for Kachi Canal in Balochistan, the Chashma Right Bank Canal in NWFP, the Thal reservoir project in Punjab, and three projects in Sindh: Riverne Area Development, Thar Canal and Sehwan Barrage. The total cost of these projects is estimated at $11.71 billion (at the current exchange rate of 64 rupees to the US dollar).

Priority hydroelectric generation projects in Phase I include: Jinnah ($162 million), Malankand-III ($80 million), Allai Khawar ($110 million), Golen Gol ($104 million), New Bong ($110 million) Khan Khawar ($86 million), Duber Khawar ($109 million, and Pehur High Level ($8 million).

In January this year, the federal government also approved Phases II and III of the Vision 2025 programme. Hydroelectric project to be built under Phase II include: raising the height of Mangla Dam to increase its reservoir storage and power generation capacity ($850 million), Thal Reservoirs ($58 million), Doyian ($346 million) Neelkum-Jhelum ($1.5 billion), Kohala ($1.4 billion), Matiltan ($110 million), Gulpure ($150 million), Abbasian ($250 million), Rajdhani ($113 million), and several combined cycle power generation projects ($2.9 million).

Phase III includes 16 schemes, including dams and generation projects: Basha ($6 billion), Dasu ($3.1 billion), Patan ($2.97 billion), Thakot ($2.56 billion), Bunji ($2.69 billion), Munda ($1.56 billion), Chakothi ($167 million), Naran ($262 million), Suki Kinar ($750 million), Patrind ($167 million), Azad Pattan ($266 million) Karot ($252 million), Thar Coal Project ($1.6 billion) Lakhra Coal Project ($360 million, and several combined cycle power generation projects ($1 billion).

Vision 2025 is the most ambitious development programme in Pakistan's history, and its implementation will, of course, depend on the country being able to find the money to finance it. Even so, its basis reflects very creditably on both the Federal Government.

Among the international lending agencies that have shown interest in co-financing the Vision 2025 programme is the Asian Development Bank (ADB). However, it is not yet clear as to what will be the size of ADB's investment. Before firming up its investment plans, the ADB is expected to consult other lending agencies and donor countries that may be interested in providing funding for the programme. A report prepared by WAPDA and the federal government on Vision 2025 was circulated amongst ADB's partners earlier this year and is said to be under consideration by them.

The World Bank is also said to have shown interest in partly financing the Vision 2025 programme, but its support is said to be conditional upn counterpart financing by the Pakistan government and WAPDA. According to the Economic Affairs Division, financing for the progrmme is also being discussed directly with China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and several other friendly countries.