CDWP okays installation of telemetry system for real-time water discharge monitoring at 27 key sites

Per unit cost of telemetry system has increased by 157 percent during last five years



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.

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