Two key barrages in Pakistan’s Punjab region are to be upgraded after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved project loans of $150 million to fund the work.

The project will rehabilitate the Trimmu and Panjnad barrages and improve their capacity to cope with increased floodwaters and reduce flood risks substantially, resulting in less loss of lives, livestock, crops, and homes. It will help the over-80 year old structures to provide more reliable irrigation water supplies to over 1.7 million hectares of farmland, benefiting around 600,000 farming families.

Support will also be given to train Punjab Irrigation Department staff and community members in flood risk and integrated water resources management. The assistance dovetails with a separate $700 million ADB multitranche financing facility, which is funding other irrigation improvements in Punjab.

ADB’s assistance includes a $50 million loan from its ordinary capital resources, and $100 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund. Counterpart assistance, equivalent to $23 million, will be provided by the Government of Pakistan. The project will run for about five years with an expected completion date of September 2020.