REVIVAL OF DEGRADED RIVER CHANNELS

REVIVAL OF DEGRADED RIVER CHANNELS IN PUNJAB

Duration:                          September 2014-August 2015

Client:                                Punjab Irrigation Department

Funding:                           World Bank

Cost of Consultancy:    USD 0.28 Million (Rs. 29 Million)

Project Component:

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.