Musharraf Woos Sindh Politicians on Dams
“If at least two to three dams are not constructed by the year 2020, the Sindh province will face a water shortage and its farmers will cry for water and there will be no water,” Gen Musharraf told a gathering of Sindh MPAs at Governor’s House. “You are the leaders. You have to turn the tide and convince those people who cannot understand the benefits of new dams.”
The Sindh chief minister, governor, Karachi corps commander, provincial and federal ministers, advisors, senators and MNAs also attended the meeting.
People need to shed the misperceptions of the past and look at the reality of the water situation in Pakistan, which is that the country will face a water shortage of up to 30 million acre feet by 2025 if no dams are built, Musharraf said.
The government is trying to manage water more effectively, which would reduce the shortage to 15-20 MAF by 2020, he said, but this would still mean Pakistan needing to build two or three dams. Three dams would also generate 15,000 megawatts each year, which could “change the destiny of Pakistan”.
Gen Musharraf said the feasibility study and technical drawings of Kalabagh dam are complete. The feasibility for Basha is finished but the technical drawings are not. A feasibility for Akhori dam should be finished by 2007-08. If the government starts working on these dams now, Kalabagh can be finished by 2012, Basha by 2014 and Akhori by 2016, he said.
He rejected arguments by opponents of Kalabagh that the dam would damage mangroves and stop backflow of seawater. Each new dam would give Sindh an additional 2.2 MAF of water and increase its water share under the 1991 provincial water accord.
Gen Musharraf later went to Quetta for a three-day visit during which he will spend time at the Staff and Command College, meet local politicians and be briefe