LAHORE: Electricity generation is a major concern for much of the world, since demand is rising with growing human population. Hydropower is electricity generated using the energy of moving water. Electricity generated from water is entirely renewable, since water is an abundant natural resource and no water is expended during the electricity generation process.
Hydroelectric energy is one of many sources of electricity in the world. It seems hydropower will still be used in the next century or more, because the world will still have plenty of running water and the need for lots of non-polluting energy. It is clean, non-polluting and prevents floods.
World has built 45,000 large dams so far while Pakistan has built only two large dams with 7% of world’s irrigated area, which shows the criminal neglect in safeguarding the life-giving waters.
Pakistan has the 21st largest river in the world in terms of annual flow, many small rivers and one of the largest irrigation systems with abundant canals. There is proven potential to generate more than 40,000 megawatts by hydroelectric power alone.
A large number of small dams can be easily constructed by entrepreneurs under a liberal public-private partnership policy. Hydroelectric power should be given top priority as it is the cleanest and cheapest form of energy.
According to a World Bank report of 2006, Pakistan was fast moving from being a water-stressed country to a water-scarce country. Pakistan providentially had the largest irrigation system, but water fatalities from the system were the highest in the world, due to which its agricultural sector has been affected badly. The population was increasing rapidly, but as compared to the population, capacity of the agricultural sector was reducing rapidly due to water shortage.
Construction of more dams can resolve energy crisis and prevent the economy from damages to crops and precious land by the floods.
The entire Pakistan depends on dams. It can produce 5,923MW of electricity by constructing four dams – Bhasha, Munda, Kurram Tangi and Akhori – while Bunji, Dasu and Golen Gol Dams could produce 11,526MW. It is time to take action and construct more dams.
The writer is an environmentalist.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2012.
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