“As fears of a water scarcity mount in the face of attempts by India and Afghanistan to use more of the water that flows into Pakistan, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has decided to recommend the construction of the Katzara dam, despite its preference for the Kalabagh dam.
“Sources close to the authority told The Express Tribune that Irsa will recommend that the government begin dam construction immediately in order to secure the country’s water supply. Irsa will also recommend negotiating a water treaty with Afghanistan, which plans to build 12 dams on the Kabul River.
“So concerned are Irsa officials about the inadequacy of Pakistan’s water storage capacity that they are willing to back the Katzara dam because their preferred Kalabagh dam is too politically controversial to be completed in the timeframe Irsa deems necessary.
“It is not Irsa’s recommendation to build Katzara dam, but we are going to table a proposal to the water and power ministry that they build Katzara dam instead of Kalabagh dam,” sources told The Express Tribune.
“The proposal was first devised by former Irsa chairman Fateh Ullah Khan Gandapur, who suggested that the government create a 37 million acre feet (MAF) dam at Katzara instead of Kalabagh, to ensure that the process of building up storage capacity was not held hostage to political differences.
“If once the proposed dam is filled, the water stored in it will be enough to meet the country’s requirements for three to four years,” sources quoted the former Irsa chairman as saying at a May 16 briefing at the authority.”
Read more: Tribune