Mega Dams and Catastrophes – An In-Depth Analysis



  1. The Want for Mega Tasks
  2. The Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dams
    • The Want of the hour!
    • Pakistan and Water Shortage
    • Water Reservoirs important to Folks survival & Financial system
  3. Growing Storage Vs Environment friendly Use of Water
    • Agriculture account for 95%
      • Management on Distribution Losses
      • Rethinking of crops – from Water-Intensive to Drought Resistant
    • Desilting, Upkeep, and Rehabilitation of Current Dams
    • Smaller Dams as an alternative of Mega Dams
  4. The Diamer-Basha dam – A Research Case
    • Issues
      • The Dislocation of over 30,000 Folks
      • The Sub­mersion of over 2,500 Acres of Agricultural Land
      • The Lack of lots of the 33,000 Prehistoric Rock Carvings
      • Environmental prices weren’t talked about
    • Options
      • 9 Mannequin Villages with Facilities
      • Carvings could be moved to a Museum in Chilas
    • The Diamer-Basha dam and Catastrophes
      • Not a Pure Website for a Storage Dam
      • The Seismic Dangers
      • Susceptible to Cracks and Leakage
      • The dam might Set off Tremors
        • Examples of India’s Koyna Dam
        • China’s Zipingpu Mega Dam
      • A mega-dam in an earthquake zone might trigger Catastrophes
    • The Diamer-Basha dam, CPEC and Improvement Banks financing
  5. Mega Tasks and Politics
  6. Folks want Solutions – The Conclusion

When contemplating funding in an infrastructure venture, accountable traders or donors would ask: what’s the want? What are the monetary, social and environmental prices? What are the dangers and the unknowns? Is the venture more likely to yield increased prices than advantages? Is the venture the most suitable choice to handle the necessity?

Pakistan’s judiciary and authorities have known as upon Pakistanis to spend money on the Diamer-Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund, and but they’ve insufficiently addressed these questions. The Supreme Court docket’s on-line app­eal shouldn’t be accompanied by a feasibility examine. From the skin trying in, this can be a pink flag.

The courtroom defined the necessity in uploads to its web site associated to Petition 57 of 2016: a) Pakistan faces a difficulty of water shortage, and b) it sees water reservoirs as important to the survival of Pakistan’s individuals and economic system. The Pakistan Council for Analysis in Water Assets corroborates the previous declare. The argument for reservoirs rests on the premise that inadequate storage capability causes water shortages. These assumptions benefit scrutiny.

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Is it crucial to focus on water storage capability when water can be utilized extra effectively? Agriculture accounts for greater than 95 p.c of Pakistan’s water consumption, and it’s getting used sub-optimally.

For a begin, distribution losses will be as excessive as two-thirds alongside unlined watercourses. These will be curbed with lining at a fraction of the fee. Secondly, Pakistan’s portfolio of crops must be rethought. The federal government ought to incentivize a shift away from water-intensive crops in the direction of drought-resistant strains and species.

If optimizing water use is inadequate by itself to resolve Pakistan’s looming water disaster and extra storage is required, would building of the Diamer-Basha and Mohmand dams be the easiest way of addressing that want? What could be the shortfall if present dams had been desilted, maintained and rehabilitated? What could be the shortfall of capability wanted if as an alternative of mega dams, smaller dams, with their smaller dangers and prices, had been constructed? Savvy affect traders would wish these questions answered in a publicly obtainable feasibility examine.

Among the many social prices of the Diamer-Basha dam foreseen by Wapda in 2011 in a doc as soon as made obtainable on-line had been the dislocation of over 30,000 individuals, the sub­mersion of over 2,500 acres of agricultural land and the lack of lots of the 33,000 prehistoric rock carvings that can’t be relocated. As a treatment to the social prices, 9 mannequin villages with facilities had been envisioned for the displaced, and chosen rock carvings could be moved to a museum in Chilas. Environmental prices weren’t talked about.

For these, within the absence of a broadcast feasibility examine, we flip to Engineer Bashir Malik’s opinion revealed in The Nation in 2012. Described by King’s Faculty geographer Daanish Mustafa as a former adviser to the World Financial institution and UN and “some of the ardent supporters of dam-building in Pakis­tan”, Malik first distinguished Diamer-Basha from Tarbela and Kalabagh as “not a pure web site for a storage dam”. He then proceeded for instance the seismic dangers that the roller-compacted concrete Daimer-Basha dam would face in addition to the trigger. The dam could be “weak to cracks and leakage”.

ALSO READ: Pakistan in The Grey List – The Way Out | Complete Essay (1500 Words)

A severe danger issue, Malik wrote, is reservoir-induced seismicity as a result of immense weight of water saved behind the unprecedentedly excessive dam in the midst of an earthquake zone. The dam, in different phrases, might set off tremors. “India’s Koyna dam-induced [a] magnitude 6.four earthquake killing 180 individuals in 1967 […]”, whereas the Zipingpu mega dam could have been chargeable for triggering a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China in 2008, which killed 80,000 individuals.

Professor of Geolo­gical Sciences She­min Ge of the Uni­versity of Colorado Boulder and her co-authors have sugges­ted the identical. Larger than some other monetary, financial or soc­ial value is the prospect that the Diamer-Basha dam, by advantage of being a mega-dam in an earthquake zone, might trigger lack of life on a catastrophic scale.

If the Diamer-Basha dam had been the miracle that it must be to justify all of the dangers and prices, why would CPEC or improvement banks not finance it? May or not it’s that they learn the feasibility research?

Mega tasks are inherently political, acc­ording to Andrew Edkins, UCL professor of the administration of complicated tasks. Har­v­ard worldwide improvement professor Lant Pritchett predicts that coverage advocates withhold details about a venture’s effectiveness after they consider this data would deter assist; they as an alternative use emotive rhetoric to hoodwink potential supporters.

One can’t doubt the sincerity of the brand new authorities or the judiciary. One does marvel, nonetheless, on the politics of the coverage advocates. Pakistanis ought to demand solutions to arduous questions earlier than they half with their cash.

ALSO READ: Pakistan – from a “Water-Stressed” to a “Water-Scarce” Country | Complete Essay with Outline

Courtesy: Imaduddin Ahmed

The author is an infrastructure funding skilled.

By way of DAWN

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