The engineers at a ceremony, organized by the Institution of Engineers Pakistan, Lahore Centre here at Expo Centre to mark the Engineers Day, called for new dams to cope with water scarcity in the country.

Among others, the key speakers included Federal Minister Engineer Ahsan Iqbal, IEP president Syed Jamshed Rizvi, Lahore Centre Chairman Engineer Khalid Sajjad, Engineer Mian Sultan Mahmood, Engineer Ameer Zameer Ahmed Khan, Engineer Syed Jawwad Haider Gilani and Dr. Javed Younas Uppal.

The speakers said that water scarcity is emerging as a serious issue for Pakistan, which could badly affect its economy and government should focus on developing a national water strategy to cope with this issue of national importance. They said that government should focus on construction of new water dams and reservoirs, besides concentrating to reduce water losses to conserve maximum water.

The speakers said that per capita water availability in Pakistan currently stands at only 1,000 cubic metres while it was 5,600 cubic metres at the time of our independence. The per capita water availability in US was 6,000 cubic metres, Australia 5,500 cm and China 2,200 cm thus water shortage is posing a serious threat to Pakistan.

IEP Lahore Centre Chairman Khalid Sajjad said that China has built more than 22,000 large dams while India has built more than 4,700 big dams, but unfortunately policymakers in Pakistan have paid no serious attention to this issue, which is vital for producing cheap energy and for the survival of our economy.

He said that the only solution of the energy crisis lies in the construction of Kalabagh Dam and the announcement regarding the construction of this dam should come on priority basis which is going to take five years in completion with the cost of five billion dollars providing water for irrigation to all provinces as well as it will control floods and provide electricity at the cost of Re 1 per unit and it will produce electricity up to 3,500MW.

The project being right in the middle of load centre shall have negligible cost of transmission. The next alternative is the construction of hydel power station on Bhasha Dam and the construction of Bunji tunnel. Both the projects will be completed with the cost of 15 to 25 billion dollars in 15 to 20 years. They will provide around five thousand to eight thousand mega watts each.

Another hydel station under study on Neelum-Jehlum project is also a viable solution but will produce around 1000 Mega Watt but cannot be constructed before five years and without having much capacity for accumulation of irrigation water.

There was a gathering of around 500 participants to celebrate the Engineers Day, comprising of renowned Engineers, Researchers, Consultants, Contractors, and Government Officials, renowned scholars and people of valuable professional contribution.

The objective of the ceremony was to highlight the role of engineering sector in meeting the challenges of human importance, which we are facing today.