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WCD reviews Tarbela dam

The World Commission on Dams (WCD), in collaboration with its local consultant Asianics Agro-Dev International, organised a two-day meeting for the stakeholders of the Tarbela dam in Pakistan.

When reviewing a draft report on the costs and benefits of the dam, inadequate arrangements for the rehabilitation of displaced people was cited as a major cost paid by the stakeholders.

The meeting also observed that while the project has made more water available for irrigation purposes, recharged sub-soil aquifiers and helped to generate additional and comparatively inexpensive electricity, it has also contributed to a surge in waterlogging and salinity.

Many representatives from the community as well as environmentalists expressed concern about the deforestation of the Tarbela catchment area, and the damage caused to mangroves and the Indus delta as less water now flows to the sea. The decline in water flowing to Sindh due to upstream water management and low water during the dry season was also highlighted.