ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday approved, in principle, the financing plan for Diamer Basha Dam.
The premier directed the water and power, planning and finance secretaries to expedite work on the financial proposal and start related preparations to ensure physical work on the dam kicked off before the end of 2017.
The dam portion of the project will be constructed through Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocations and Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) generated resources.
The remaining financing for the power-generation portion will be arranged on commercial basis by the ministry either through Wapda or through leasing its existing projects.
‘ADB alone cannot fund Diamer-Bhasha dam’
The dam was approved for construction by Council of Common Interests (CCI) in 2009. Efforts to finance it through multilateral donors had been prolonged.
Pakistan needs to urgently enhance its storage capacity to tackle water scarcity. Storage capacity across existing dams has been fast depleting due to silting with the country's agricultural production declining due to routine dry spells. These challenges need to be overcome by ensuring greater storage capacity.
The Diamer Basha Dam will provide 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) of gross storage. Of this, 6.4 MAF will be live storage and a capacity to produce 4500 MWs of cheap and clean energy. The premier also appreciated the fact that the land acquisition for the dam had been completed.
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