Water-stressed Pakistan looking for billions in donations for dams
(MENAFN – Gulf Times) As Pakistan faces worsening water scarcity and trouble sourcing international cash for hydropower dams that it says it needs it has turned to an unlikely source of cash: A fundraising campaign backed by the country’s top court judges.
The country’s green-leaning Prime Minister Imran Khan backs the effort.
Khan has urged Pakistanis living overseas to donate generously to the effort, comparing the battle to combat water scarcity to a holy war.
Nisar has said he took up Pakistan’s water worries as a personal campaign after Syed Mehar Ali, commissioner of the country’s Indus water treaty, testified in a court hearing last July about worsening water scarcity risks in the country.
Ali told the court that the country’s three western rivers the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab carry nearly 140 million acre feet (MAF) of water but the country has water storage capacity for less than 14 MAF.
Pakistan needs to store 25 MAF of water each year to help shore up water security, the commissioner said and that would require a series of new large dams, he said.
However, building them has proved difficult.
Pakistan’s government has provided funding for acquisition of land for both projects.
Dozens of farmers from Sindh province marched to Karachi last October to protest construction of the Diamer Basha dam on the Indus River.
However, he believes that if the water storage dam can be built, international investors will come in to provide the infrastructure for power generation from the dam.