Improving Pakistan's electrical power infrastructure and energy production, as well as its capacity to store water against drought and to control floods, is an important component of the U.S. Government’s long-term partnership with Pakistan.
Despite the 2,900 kilometer Indus River and its tributaries, Pakistan as a whole is an arid nation that is nevertheless vulnerable to floods. To control flooding, increase water storage and hydroelectric power production, the Government of Pakistan seeks to build more dams in key locations.
That is why U.S. and Pakistani officials signed two agreements in early January to provide Pakistan with $66 million for completion of the Gomal and Satpara dam projects. The agreements are a sign of the U.S. government's commitment to helping Pakistan improve its infrastructure, said Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Frank Ruggiero:
"Last year's devastating floods demonstrated the need for flood control infrastructure. These two multipurpose dams will control flood waters, provide electricity, and store water for irrigation and household use for downstream villages."
Forty million dollars will go toward finishing the Gomal Dam in South Waziristan, or FATA, which will produce enough electricity to power 25 thousand households. The dam will also help mitigate potential flood damage annually, and store enough water to irrigate well over 77 thousand hectares of farmland.
The Satpara multipurpose dam project will get an infusion of $26 million. Once the project is finished, it is expected to provide some 30 thousand households in the town of Skardu, in Gilgit Baltistan, with enough power to alleviate power black outs. The finished dam will have the capacity to provide Skardu with nearly 12 million liters of drinking water every day.
The dam will also provide water for agricultural irrigation, potentially increasing annual agricultural output more than four-fold, thus generating about some $6 million in additional economic benefits each year.
These projects will provide energy solutions and improve the quality of life for people in FATA and Gilgit Baltistan, said Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Frank Ruggiero. The U.S. Government is committed to a long-term partnership with Pakistan and will continue to support projects that benefit the Pakistani people and bring economic development to these critical areas of the country.