The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government issued an “emergency evacuation order” for two districts after the Munda Headworks Bridge in Charsadda, which controlled the flow of Swat River, collapsed on Friday night due to devastating rain-induced floods in the province.
Charsadda; people running for their lives pic.twitter.com/UiDMV4fNXS— Samar Haroon Bilour (@SamarHBilour) August 26, 2022
According to the “warning” issued by a provincial government official at night, “It’s now certain that Charsadda and Nowshera districts, including surrounding areas, will be flooded in a few hours.
“Residents of the districts have been asked to evacuate their homes to save their lives.”
It added, “All citizens living close to the river, down the flow from that point are warned to ‘evacuate immediately’.”
The K-P government called in the army for help as the death toll rose to 238, including 71 children and 55 women, in the province.
Further, the under-construction 800 megawatts Mohmand dam hydropower project was also hit by the extraordinary Swat River flood situation.
The Mohmand Dam is being constructed on the Swat River about five kilometres upstream of Munda Headworks Bridge in Mohmand district. The total cost of the project is Rs309.6 billion.
According to a statement issued by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), “Floodwater entered the diversion tunnels breaching and overtopping the protection dyke, which adversely affected the project’s construction activities.”
It said that exceptionally high-water flows were expected in the Swat River in the coming hours.
Wapda took precautionary measures and “is closely watching the situation to mitigate any further damage”.
The Mohmand Dam is an important hydropower project to ensure food and energy security.
The PTI government had kicked off the construction work on this project along with work on the Diamer-Bhasha dam project.
Experts said the Diamer-Bhasha dam project may also be hit by the devastating floods.
To a query, the Wapda official said that no untoward incident had taken place at the site of the project.
The Wapda official said that construction work on Mohmand Dam hydropower project commenced in May 2019, adding that construction work on the project was progressing at a good pace.
“Enhanced security arrangements at the site of the project resulted in carrying out construction work day and night to meet the construction schedule.”
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the work is continuing on 13 different sites of the project by adopting strict precautionary measures. “WAPDA is determined to complete Mohmand Dam by mid-2026.”
However, experts said that the completion of this project could suffer delays if “it receives a major hit by fresh floods.”
According to details, the government had started construction work on this project with the sole objective of flood control, agriculture development, provision of drinking water to Peshawar and hydropower generation.
The dam is a type of concrete faced rockfill with 213-metre height and its gross storage capacity is 1.293 MAF and 0.676 MAF live storage.
Besides supplementing 160,000 acres of existing land, about 18,237 acres of new land would also be irrigated because of the Mohmand Dam. Annual benefits from it have been estimated at Rs2.23 billion.
In addition, 300 million gallons of water per day will also be provided to Peshawar for drinking purpose with a benefit of Rs957 million.
Mohmand Dam is of immense importance for mitigation of floods, as this is the only project that can save Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera from the devastating floods. Annual benefits in terms of flood mitigation have been estimated at Rs1.467 billion.
The project will provide 2.86 billion units of cheap yet environment-friendly electricity to the national grid every year as well as annual revenue of Rs45.76 billion.
Overall annual benefits of the project stand at Rs51 billion
The multipurpose Mohmand Dam hydropower project will phenomenally contribute towards water, food and energy security of Pakistan.
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