Duration: September 2014-August 2015
Client: Punjab Irrigation Department
Funding: World Bank
Cost of Consultancy: USD 0.28 Million (Rs. 29 Million)
After Indus Water Treaty, many of the eastern river reaches in Punjab have been hydraulically and ecologically degraded due to lack of water flows and much lower than original annual floods. This is particularly true for Ravi, and Sutlej Rivers. These rivers have also been one of the main sources of recharge for groundwater aquifers in Punjab. With drying of the river channels, groundwater is also severally affected and the river channels are shrinking and population is moving in the river bed. It is important that there is some water retained in these river channels even with very low flow so that much of the parameter of the river channel is impounded. This will help in hydraulic and ecological revival as well as in recharging the groundwater in the surrounding areas and keeping people away from settling in the dried river bed. This can easily be done with inflatable rubber weirs in the river reaches of Punjab. Inflatable rubber weirs have been used worldwide and may have a life of over 30 years. China has installed over 3,000 inflatable rubber weirs for improving water management in the river systems.
Irrigation department shared this idea of constructing rubber dams with the World Bank Missions for on-going Punjab barrages Improvement Phase-ll (PBIP-II) Project. The Bank appreciated and agreed to finance the implementation of an inflatable rubber dam project on Sutlej or Ravi rivers as pilot project out of the expected saving from the IBRD loan for PBIP- II. Irrigation Department asked the Project Implementation Consultants (JV of M/S ACE, NESPAK and SMEC) for PBIP-II to carry out feasibility study, detailed design and construction supervision of rubber dam project. The consultants have studied three sites on Ravi (Okara Faisalabad Bridge) and Sutlej River (Bahawalnagar Road Bridge and Bahawalpur Road Bridge N5). With socio political and acceptability considerations PID has selected the Bahawalpur Lodhran Road Bridge site on river Sutlej for the construction of such a facility. Consequent upon the success of this pilot project, a series of similar nature project would be replicated in the remaining reaches of river Sutlej and Ravi for revival of the ecological life and improvement of ground water quality at wider scale.
The cost of the project would be around US$16 million, about US$10 million for construction of the inflatable rubber dam and roughly US$6 million for purchase of land as it turns out that land in the river bed is owned by private owners. The construction period of the rubber dams would be about eighteen months. The pilot project would be completed by December 2017. There are saving of about US$10 million in the project which can be used for installation of the rubber dam while the remaining US$6 million would have to be contributed by the Federal Government.
A team of Consultants and Irrigation Department staff has visited several rubber weir installations in China and had interaction with the institutions that has designed and operated them. Following this, the technical design and bidding documents of the pilot project has been completed. The environmental, social and LARP reports have already been submitted to the Bank. Evaluation of prequalification applications of the contractors for ICB works contract is underway and likely to be finalized by the end of February 2016. Bids from the prequalified contractors would be received by end of April 2016 and works contract would be awarded by end of June, 2016 as per World Bank Procurement guidelines.
Local authorities of Bahawalpur City have prepared a scheme for construction of a state of the art public park along the reservoir of proposed rubber dam for which services of horticulture and landscaping experts from CDA Islamabad have been hired. The project will help to recharge the ground water aquifer. As a result of this, unhealthy intrusion of salt water into sweet Water zone shall be prevented. This will provide much needed recreational facility for the public of Bahawalpur and Lodhran districts. This report shows the monthly progress of studies carried out for “Pilot Project on River Sutlej near Bahawalpur City” for proposed rubber dam.