The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has made the decision to build two new dams in order to address the water scarcity issue in the federal capital, Islamabad.
Prior to commencing dam construction, the CDA will engage the services of a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study and provide a report on the practicality of these dam projects.
The CDA Board has granted approval for the selection of consultants, and the Water Wing of CDA has formulated the terms of reference (ToRs) for this purpose. Following the chairman’s approval, the CDA will initiate the process of inviting tenders for the engagement of consultants after November.
The tenders will be issued in accordance with Section 42F of the PPRA rules, and only government consulting firms, such as NESPAK and Army engineering institutions, will be eligible to bid.
One of the proposed dams, Chiniot Dam, is planned to be constructed upstream of the Simly Dam, which was initially built in 1982. Over time, the water storage capacity of Simly Dam has diminished by 33 percent. Presently, Simly Dam has a total water storage capacity of 6,881 million gallons.
Chiniot Dam is intended to be constructed as a carryover dam to prevent any further reduction in the water storage capacity of Simly Dam. It is designed to store 18 to 20 million gallons of water.
The second dam, known as Shahdara Dam, is currently supplying one million gallons of spring water from the Shahdara Water Works.
This location also serves as a recreational area, and it has the potential to store up to 6 million gallons of water. The water demand in the urban area of Islamabad presently stands at 125 million gallons, while the daily supply from all existing sources amounts to 80 million gallons.
This supply diminishes as the water levels in Simly Dam and Khanpur Dam decrease. Currently, 28 million gallons of water are received from Simly Dam, and this supply increases to 32 million gallons when the dam is full.
Khanpur Dam supplies nine to nine and a half million gallons of water, and an additional 30 million gallons come from tubewells, with two million gallons sourced from Rawal Dam. Shahdara, Saidpur, and Noorpur collectively receive five million gallons of water.
This year, Khanpur Dam was filled to 70 percent of its capacity during the monsoon season, as opposed to its full capacity of 100 percent, and it has since dropped to 60 percent. Simly Dam was at 90 percent capacity. Notably, this year marks the first time that the spillways of both dams have remained unopened. Consequently, there is a potential for a water shortage during the upcoming summer season.
In light of this, the CDA is placing significant emphasis on the construction of these two new dams. Upon the completion of the feasibility study, two consulting firms will be engaged for the detailed engineering design and other related tasks.