In a significant development, the completion of eight under-construction water and hydropower projects by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is set to elevate Pakistan's water security and energy landscape. The completion of these projects will extend the country's carry-over water capacity from 30 days to 45 days, marking an addition of 9.7 million acre-feet (MAF) in water storage. Simultaneously, WAPDA's hydropower generation is poised to double, reaching over 18,000MW with an increase of 9043MW.
This announcement came during a comprehensive briefing provided to a delegation from the PAF Air War College Karachi during their visit to WAPDA House on 27 November. Led by Air Commodore Raja Imran Asghar, Deputy President of the College, the delegation comprised officers from Pakistan and allied nations including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
Secretary WAPDA Fakharuzzaman Ali Cheema extended a warm welcome to the delegation, with Advisor (Hydrology and Water Management) Shahid Hamid delivering insights into WAPDA's role, functions, and development plans. The briefing also covered the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change and water security in Pakistan. Member (Power) WAPDA Jamil Akhtar, along with other senior officers, were present during the session.
The delegation learned that WAPDA is currently undertaking its largest-ever portfolio of development projects in the water and hydropower sectors. These projects, scheduled for completion from 2024 to 2029, aim to enhance water, food, and energy security in Pakistan. Notable initiatives include Diamer Basha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Dasu (Stage-I), Kurram Tangi Dam (Stage-I), Nai Gaj Dam, Kachhi Canal Extension, Tarbela 5th Extension Project, and the Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme (K-IV).
In addressing the water and hydropower scenario in Pakistan, the delegation was informed that per capita water availability has declined significantly, reaching 908 cubic meters per annum from 5650 cubic meters in 1951. Pakistan currently stores only 10% of its annual river flows, far below the global average of 40%. The completion of WAPDA's under-construction projects is expected to alleviate the water scarcity and enhance hydropower generation in the country.