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Tubewells may replace canal for water supply to solar park

Installation of tube wells instead of digging a new canal to supply water to the Rs200 billion Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park near here is under consideration.

Dawn learnt that the proposal came under discussion in a meeting held during the visit of the consultants of National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak), the advisory body to the government in setting up the solar energy park.

It is learnt that the new proposal was moved by Nespak consultants on the advice of the officials of the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED). During the meeting, they said canal water for washing solar panels, supplied through ponds, could not be clean and it could damage the panels. Hence, the tube wells should be installed at the banks of the nearby canal, they suggested.

The suggestion might be forwarded to the Department of Planning and Development of the Punjab government for final approval.

It may be recalled that the Punjab government had already approved the construction of eight ponds costing about Rs 153 million, each having capacity of 280,000 gallons water with facility of sprinkle apparatus. Water for the ponds was to be channelized from the desert branch canal. For this purpose, the irrigation department here was rapidly working on the digging of a new distributary with brick-lining. To clear the alignment of the distributary, about 5,000 trees were recently felled and forest over an area of over 50,000 feet was cleared between the RD 21 to RD 50 of the canal, paving the way for taking the canal water to the solar energy park site at Badwani.

Dawn further learnt that the proposed move for installing tube wells for the supply of canal water to the solar panels was expected to cost over Rs750 million against the earlier scheme of water ponds, costing Rs153 million. Besides, the tube wells would have to consume power while there would be unlimited expenditure of diesel supply in case power supply was switched off. It was decided that the installation of the tube wells would be carried out by the PHED instead of the irrigation department.

When contacted, Chief Engineer Irrigation Bahawalpur Zone Malik Khursheed Zaman confirmed that the decision was taken in the meeting. He, however, declined to make further comments.

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