INDUS BASIN IRRIGATION SYSTEM.
ISLAMABAD - The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved the installation of telemetry system for real-time discharge monitoring at 27 key sites on Indus Basin Irrigation System with the cost of Rs23.8 billion. The per unit cost of the telemetry system has increased by 157 percent, from Rs 334 million to Rs 882 million, during last the five years.
The CDWP, which met under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, has discussed vital projects related to the energy, transport and communication, and water resource sectors. The forum recommended the revised PC-1 titled Installation of Telemetry System for Real-Time Discharge Monitoring at 27 Key Sites on Indus Basin Irrigation System, presented by the Ministry of Water Resources with a total cost of Rs. 23,834.707 million to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for consideration. Indus Basin Irrigation System is proposed to be financed through PSDP. Rs.500 million would be sponsored by IRSA through its resources. Wapda was earlier tasked to implement pilot project for the installation of telemetry system on seven sites with the cost of Rs 2.4 billion, however it had failed to complete the job on time.
Now, the CDWP has approved to install a full-fledged telemetry system with automation of 27 key sites for the discharge monitoring on the Indus Basin Irrigation System with a huge cost of Rs22.833 billion. In 2018, the cost of the seven telemetry system installation was Rs 2.4 billion (Rs 343 million for one unit), however, now in the revised PC-1 the cost has climbed to Rs 23.8 billion or Rs 882 million per unit. The project is under the ownership of the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), with execution responsibilities given to the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). After a two-year post-completion period, IRSA will take over the operation and maintenance of this transformative venture.
Currently, the Indus Basin’s irrigation water management system operates on manual procedures. Decisions regarding water distribution rely on manual calculations at barrages and information obtained through traditional means like phone or fax. The absence of automated monitoring systems has led to a situation where gate positions are unknown, causing control issues for Provincial Irrigation Departments and potential inter-provincial disputes.
To address these challenges, IRSA plans to install state-of-the-art telemetry equipment at 27 key locations. This equipment, proven effective in similar environmental conditions worldwide, will replace manual operations and provide real-time data on water flow and gate positions. The project aims to eliminate mistrust, harmonize provincial relationships, and ensure compliance with the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991.
The objectives of the project are multi-faceted ensuring online, accurate information on water availability and flow at key locations. The project includes the installation of cutting-edge equipment, the establishment of a data center, and client workstations at key locations. This, in turn, will foster confidence, transparency, and equitable water sharing in line with government policies. Additionally, the project’s completion will contribute to the overall improvement of the country’s social, agricultural, and industrial systems, generating employment opportunities during both the project execution and subsequent maintenance phases. It is to be noted that the Indus River System Authority (IRSA), mandated by a 1992 Act of Parliament, plays a pivotal role in regulating and distributing surface waters among provinces in accordance with the Water Apportionment Accord of 1991.