The donations have fattened the dam fund established by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar. Yet, the amount that has been raised for construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams is not sufficient enough even to cater to the mobilisation cost of the Mohmand Dam that will cost the government 310 billion rupees. Does this mean that the dream of the CJP is going sour? Probably. Because the total amount required for construction of these two dams is around 2 trillion rupees.

The sparse funds, despite exorbitant advertisements for the cause, then give rise to another pertinent question: Given that one of the pillars of the state is concerned with the water shortage the country is facing, where can this money be utilised? The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms has one suggestion. The committee wants to construct many small dams in Balochistan with the Dam Fund. The idea of the committee merits consideration.

Balochistan is the region where there is a severe shortage of water. Although there are large tracts of lands where people can engage in agriculture, lack of irrigation and water resources have turned these lands barren. By diverting the amount that has been raised for Diamer and Mohmand Dams to solve the water woes of Balochistan can bring a revolution in the socio and economic life of the province.

As the CJP is retiring on 17th of this month, there will be no surprise if the people altogether forget the issue of dams, as this is what happens with ad-hocism all the time. It is also possible that the money, so far collected, will be spent without much deliberation. Therefore, when it is apparent that the funds that are insufficient for construction of large dams be utilised for construction of many small dams in Balochistan.

Though it is true that Pakistan faces acute water shortage for its usage, construction of dams on river Indus has its costs too. Sindh that makes the lower riparian region of Indus delta will be affected environmentally, as Rivers International maintains. The government of Pakistan needs to engage researchers and scholars who understand dams and their effects on the lives of rivers and people to suggest some other alternatives on the preservation of waters.

And these experts also second the suggestions that the Standing Committee has come up with that instead of constructing large dams, the government should prefer small dams over large ones, for smaller dams carry low social and environmental costs. It is high time that the CJP think over the matter and make a swift decision before vacating his office.