About the Author: Nayyera Haq serves in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
At a public event in Pakistan today, Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Frank Ruggiero and Ministry of Water and Power Secretary Javed Iqbal signed an agreement that will complete the Gomal Zam and Satpara Dam, project that will provide electricity to over thousands of households in the northern areas of Pakistan. These projects were announced by Secretary Clinton on her visit to Pakistan in 2010, as part of the ongoing U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.
In his remarks after the signing, Ruggiero said: "We are committed to a comprehensive and enduring partnership with the Pakistani people and government, based on our common interests and animated by mutual respect. Energy shortfalls affect every Pakistani regardless of social economic status and from every geographic corner of Pakistan's territory. The completion of this dam will bring significant improvements to the lives of the people in these communities, including new economic development opportunities. These dams were abandoned before they could be completed. Now, due to a $66 million investment from the United States, these multipurpose dams will finally serve the communities they were designed to benefit."
The Gomal Zam dam is located in South Waziristan. With U.S. funding, the Pakistan government will now be able to complete the 17.4 mega watt hydro power transmission station which will provide electricity to 25,000 households in the South Wazairistan and the FATA and which will be connected to Pakistan's national grid. This project will be completed by November 2011 and we hope that we will see more people in this region enjoy the benefits and opportunities of electricity.
The Satpara hydro power dam project will provide electricity to 30,000 households in the Gilgit Baltistan region with 17.7 mega watts. This project will be done in two phases and will also have the added benefit of providing much needed irrigation to 15,500 acres of land in the Skardo community.
In addition, the two dams will also help control flooding, an important improvement after last year's devastating floods. According to the Water and Power Development Authority, damage to Pakistan would have been far more catastrophic without its existing dams. These are significant projects that will deliver significant results to the people of Pakistan.