ISLAMABAD   -   Construction of Balochistan’s biggest hydropower project, the Naulong Dam, has restarted that will irrigate 47,000 acres of barren land and will provide 4.4MW of electricity, Gwadar Pro reported on Monday.

Issues related to the Naulong Dam have been sorted out and under the direction of the Standing Committee on Water Resources, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) released Rs1,916 million for the construction of the Naulong Dam to the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

The 186-feet high dam has a total storage capacity of 242,452 AFd. Live storage is 200,000AF. While the annual benefits to agriculture will be Rs2.017 billion, power Rs0.413 billion, and fisheries Rs0.018 billion.

The Naulong Dam will create 23,500 agricultural jobs. It will help protect the catchment areas from the deluge. The dam will irrigate areas near Jhal Magsi, Gandawa, and Khuzdar, which will boost economic activities and strengthen farmer fraternity in the province.

The government has expedited the construction of the Naulong Dam. WAPDA already completed its feasibility and detailed design.

Since the water table in Balochistan is quite low, fetching water for irrigation is a major challenge in itself. So, in order to cope with the water requirements in the province, the provincial and federal governments have sponsored the construction of many dams in Balochistan, some of which are operational while others are yet to be completed.

The provincial authorities in collaboration with the federal government have also undertaken the ‘100 Dam Balochistan’ initiative.

The government worked out a comprehensive programme for managing the incurring floods through small dams. The completion of these projects would help the irrigation system besides tackling the water scarcity situation in the province.

It is one of the water conservation efforts by the government to solve the problem of water shortage in Balochistan.