50 SMALL DAMS IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF KARACHI

Construction of small dams around Karachi is an attempt to reserve monsoon rain water which has been going waste since inception of the country

By AZAM ALI
Jan 03 - 09, 2005

Karachi to have about 50 small dams and retention weirs in its suburbs within next five years. One of these small dams has already been inaugurated by the City Nazim Niamatullah Khan while development work for nine other small dams is in progress.

Construction of small dams around Karachi is an attempt to reserve monsoon rain water which has been going waste since inception of the country.

The first small dam has just completed this week in the Eastern of Karachi located at Mubarak a village in Hawksbay Keamari Town which is 180 feet long and 22 feet high.

World Bank and Asian Development Bank have provided financial support of Rs. 122 million for initial projects of water management projects around Karachi while local government has also been urged to allocate amount for the same.

The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) has set up a separate department in this connection under the title of 'Drought Emergency Relief Assistance Program (DERAP). Under the leadership of a District Officer Union Council Program. Sources said that local authorities are in connection with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to get more grants for extra retention weirs and small dams. The World Bank has already given signal to the local authorities that WB would provide assistance to a proposals those provide relief to the drought-hit areas.

These are the most important and undisputed dams in the area which would keep the only rain water of the locat lands. This practice now attracting to nationalist political leaders who are opposing big dams like Kalabagh dam. It is also learnt that NGOs are also being persuaded to build retention weirs in interior Sindh and other parts of the province. Elected representatives of the Sindh assembly are also taking interest in the small projects of dams which could be built within their affordable resources.

Younus Arain, the District Project Manager told PAGE that construction of 10 small dams is in progress and 10 more similar dams are planned. By next 18 months Karachi's suburban localities will have 20 small dams. The locations for more dams are being searched by a team so that planning work for future could be started. He said that the best location we consider where rain water could be stored with minimum efforts. He said that these projects would give new blood to suburban localities and even within down town.

A process of selection of location for dams is also one of the most important works which is still underway. The locations are ideal where rain water could be brought or already comes without any disruption.

At present the above department has selected about 25 locations around Karachi city, that include Hawksbay Keamari, RCD Highway, Boarder of Sindh-Balochistan, Lyari river, Gadap, National Highway, Malir, Town etc.

Apart from new blood to different categories jobs including agriculture and industrialization, there would be a great help to a prolonged water shortage within Karachi city. Karachi is getting water from two sources one from Hub Dam and other from Keenjhar Jheel but the supply is too short for the city's demand. The Hub Dam is now providing 10 million gallon water per day while supply from Dhabeji fluctuates from 450 MGD to 600 MGD. 30 percent of the total supply to Karachi is wasted daily due to dilapidated water distribution system.

Sources said that now citizens from the suburban localities are putting pressure on CDGK, Sindh Government and Union Councils to construct more dams in their areas so that entire rain water could be utilized. One of the project managers said that within jurisdiction of Karachi annual rain water is quite sufficient to meet some important needs.

Another test in the suburban localities indicated that suburban land is so capable to become fertile and within one year or so agriculture activities would bring a revolution for farmers.

The DERAP has also prepared and submitted a proposal for Part II DERAP project in which many water proving infrastructure would be built around Karachi. In this project there are about 60 projects of water supply system apart from 10 more dams and 26 weirs. Four more dams are under construction in Gadap town, these small dams are being constructed by the local authorities. A retention weir on Sukkan Nallah Dheh Dhando Karachi is being constructed with the cost of Rs.19.854 million. The construction of another small dam is in progress in Lyari Naddi at Murad Goth near Usman Tekry Village with the cost of Rs.19.820. The work is taking final touches.

Experts said that trend of constructing small dams and retention weirs has also gripped in the Punjab and NWFP provinces where monsoon provide sufficient amount of water every year. The experts said that in suburban localities of Karachi water could also be fed into the land in case they get more than required water during monsoon season.