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Wapda, USAID discuss financing of hydropower projects

Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Ragib Shah met with USAID Director Jonathan Conly and Assistance Coordinator Richard Albright on Friday to discuss the financial plan for water and hydropower projects.

The United States is one of Wapda’s major donors. Over the past four years, USAID has provided over $300 million to support the modernisation of equipment at Tarbela and Mangla, completion of multipurpose dams and irrigation systems of Gomal Zam and Satpara. These investments were made to increase electricity generation, provide water for irrigating over 200,000 acres of land and control floods in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Wapda chairman said that Pakistan has a potential of generating about 100,000 MW of hydel electricity and to harness this potential, Pakistan would need to raise billions of dollars.

“Pakistan’s top hydel development project is Diamer Bhasha and the United States has agreed to work with us as we examine our options on how to raise billions of dollars that are needed to make Diamer Bhasha and other hydel projects a reality,” he said.

“Diamer Basha Dam could add as much as 4,500 MW to the national grid and provide critical water storage capacity – 6.7 million acre feet – for the country.”

He further added that the United States and other international donors have supported Wapda as the organisation has successfully harnessed the country’s rivers to power economic growth. “Our partnerships with these donors have been successful and we hope to continue these partnerships,” he said.

“Over the coming months, Wapda will work with international organisations to develop comprehensive and sufficient financing plans for these projects, which will require a combination of self-financing by the government of Pakistan, private sector investment and donor support. Our goal is to make these projects financially viable and environmentally sound.”

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