New surveys will be undertaken to find alternative, ‘non-controversial’ sites for building reservoirs along the Indus river to cope with water crises in Pakistan, Federal Minister for Water & Power Gohar Ayub announced in late February. He said funds would be allocated for the search during the next financial year.

‘Our water storage capacity is fast depleting and if additional reservoirs are not built, Pakistan will become the largest grain importer in the world in 2020,’ Ayub said. He blamed the problem on the silting that is, he said, drastically reducing the capacity of the country’s reservoirs; half a million tons of silt was daily deposited in the Tarbela, he said.

New reservoirs would also increase Pakistan’s hydroelectric capacity, Ayub said, and he agreed with statements by Senator Sharqat Mehmood that hydro power, being cheaper and environmentally friendly, should be given more importance.

Meanwhile, a three-member Chinese trade delegation called on Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas. The delegation showed keen interest in investing in Pakistan, especially in hydro power projects in the northern areas.