Pakistan's Indus River Barrage To Mitigate Climate Impacts On Wetlands, Human Migration

12 Aug 2019 by Staff - Water Diplomat
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved development of the ambitious “Sindh Barrage” on the Indus River.

Located about 28 miles upstream from the mouth of the river at the Arabian Sea and about 80 miles east of Karachi, the Sindh Barrage was proposed by Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to address water issues in the region.

“It is really a unique project that will not only help the government finally end the water-related issues but also bring back the life in the area, which is no more due to sea intrusion, land erosion and migration of a huge population,” WAPDA chairman retired Lt. Gen. Muzammil explained to Dawn.

Seawater intrusion has adversely affected the quality and availability of freshwater for both irrigation and domestic use; climate change has affected wetland habitats, mangroves and marine life. Land has eroded and livelihoods have been affected, causing mass migration. The Barrage Project is seen as a way to restore the water quality, approval for “fast track” development August 7.

WAPDA will begin feasibility studies immediately. These will be examined by external consultants by the end of next year, with full detailed engineering to be complete by December 2021. It is expected that the project will be completed by December 2024.

The scope of the work will improve irrigation water supply, provide flood mitigation, restore the ecology of the river so that marine life can prosper.

“We appreciate the PM for giving us a go-ahead to execute this important project that is aimed at resolving the long-standing water issues in Sindh,” the Wapda chairman said.