The Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority confirmed a promising outlook for agriculture in the areas irrigated by the Nara Canal, following the completion of its Rs6 billion rehabilitation project next year.
The 226-mile long canal, which resembles a river due to its massive flows, carries 13,000 cusecs of water during peak season against its designed capacity of 20,000 cusecs. The water loss and dry spells allow the canal to irrigate only 800,000 to one million acres land as opposed to 2.6 million acres, which was the initial plan.
According to the consultant engineer, Nazeer Lashari, the project which started in August 2011 will be completed by June 2013. “It involves raising the embankments, de-silting and construction of three fall structures, which get rid of the silt carried in the water,” he said. Lashari was briefing the media about the project at the head regulator of Ranto Canal in Sanghar, on Friday.
The World Bank is contributing 75 per cent of the project’s finances through a loan while the rest of the 25 per cent is being borne by the Sindh government. The project has been started under the Sindh Water Sector Improvement Plan (WSIP) by a Chinese company, China Water and Electrical (CWE).
The canal which springs from the Sukkur barrage irrigates crops in four districts, including Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Umerkot and Tharparker, through its four sub-canals. The Ranto Canal rehabilitation project, which branches off from the Nara canal, is also part of the WSIP. Lashari said the canal’s capacity will increase to 6,000 cusecs from the current capacity of approximately 2,000 cusecs.
According to Abdul Rasheed Mehar, the WSIP Social Mobilisation manager, almost 173 distributaries and minors are being rehabilitated under the ongoing project by the CWE.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012.
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