Agri-Next :-; Connecting Agricultural Community for Better Farming; Pakistan's Largest Agri Web Portal

Connecting Agri-Community for Better Farming


Search from the largest Agri Info Bank


Pakissan Urdu

Home News Issues-Analysis Weather Fertilizer Page Agri Overview  Special Reports Agri Next Horticulture Crops Livestock Rice Wheat Cotton Citrus




The economics of irrigation 

The economics of irrigation :-Pakissan.comThere has been a considerable discussion but no debate on irrigation water.

A debate is amongst informed people while a discussion is amongst ignorant and uninformed people and who have a different kind of interests.

The current arguments are entirely based on this kind of ignorance from people who are of the view that more is better.

The water institutions are guilty of gross misconduct in asmuchas they have not used any intellectual powers to deter- mine the basis of water required for the crops. Water decisions are always made in the political sphere.

The use or the market place is not the determinant of water projects. The romanticists want the desert to bloom but the fact is that the use of water is hardly in the realm of efficiency.

 No desert is going to bloom by the recent political efforts. The current foreign debt stands at $65.5 billion and we pay only interest on that. With Kalabagh dam (KB) this has to enhance by at least 20 billion dollars.

There will be no new lands coming under this purview as it was in Tarbella dam. Then the GDP soared because new lands came in to production.

The KB is merely a replacement dam and covers the loss of water of Tarbella which again is a phenomenon that Wapda was supposed to cover. Siltation was allowed when watershed management was essential.

Wapda chairmen suffer from myopia. None of them see anything beyond engineering solutions.

Engineering solutions are costly, inefficient and self-contradictory.

Space does not allow me to explain the details but the last government handed over the responsibility of new water resources to me as Chairman of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.

The view then taken was that this was not a storage situation but the case of using expensive water productively.

Wapda has been desperately ignorance in watershed management; the result the loss of storage capacity in Mangla and Tarbella dams.

I am willing to go into any discussion and debate at any forum with them - singly or collectively. And what of irrigation agronomy - that is water usage efficiently and according to plant requirements.

The effort has to be a three-way variable in which soil-water and plant resources come into play.

The alternatives are there but the skill and the will is not there. The organisation that looks after such things if it is based on financial wastage can hardly deliver.

The organisations' claims are politically determined and therefore the policies are inflexible. Irrigation engineers are ignorant of marginal principle, double counting of benefits and the use of inappropriately low discount rates.


Engineers by definition are unable to understand accounting principles what to speak of economics and worse still the macro indicators of an economy.

Ask any one of them the difference between gross and net returns and you will see a lot of blank faces.

These analytical differences aside the non-analytical errors are also visible in their thinking and doings. The KB dam has been under discussion since 1924 and I am the only one that has the planning document.

The present engineers would be put to shame before that document; since I am the only one to compare the past with the present document.

Water demands are elastic and not inelastic as most of the engineering class seems to think. Needs and requirements are not absolute while demand a more reasoned approach.

The case for irrigation is made where the constraints of climate force the nation to develop agriculture practices. The mini-max situation has never been ascertained.

But if that be so then the engineers have to explain why these resources were not taken to Balochistan? The efficacy factors for use of water has never been thought of and never implemented.

Aerobic rise is a production system where rice is grown in well-drained, non-puddled and non-saturated soils.

In experiments, the yield had also increased three times (from 26 to 73 maunds per acre). It was used by the British to settle nomads and to do away with hungry. But these social conditions are not required.

In North and South Waziristan this policy effectively could be utilised for productive purposes; one of my friends has done so in Kala Dhagga area of Waziristan.

Water is their requirement and why not? KB will not help in the managing of floods. We are not King Canute that we can take this water of Chenab through KB dam-up gravity.

In Sindh the wheat crop that received eight irrigations had a productivity of 26 maunds per acre while that of the poorer farmer that received three irrigations the yield was 36 maunds per acre; so gauge for yourself what has happened.

In one of my odd moments with the government I decided to give a workshop in Balochistan on waterless irrigation. The Balochs came in hundreds.

When I gave them the wherewithal they agreed with the concepts and the methods. Even now the fossil fuel and the alternatives are ridiculous.

They will not work. The bio-fuel element is important and since I had gone to Texas as a consultant (a case of reverse consultancy) the options are available.

The mafia is what does not allow the interventions that are needed. In Pakistan cynics and perverts abound. If I start naming them there will be a lot of embarrassed red faces.

If food security is an issue and KB dam has to be built then the mafia be removed from the scene. They have played politics for a long time.

They do not have the moral grounds for seeking such interventions as would jeopardise the political status of the country. Equity is impossible.

The rich and the powerful seek all the likely benefits and the result is the inability to meet income redistribution issues.

All this is vitiated by the cheat cost-benefit (C/B) analysis in which costs are minimised and benefits are maximised to an extent that the entire conceptual work is diminished and reduced to a mental criminality.

I asked one of the Wapda Chairmen as to what are the factors that you have taken while preparing the planning document.

This was as if I was talking Greek. A planning document is above all an efficiency document in which the factors of efficiency are deliberated and enhanced.

Forget other things there are no spatial or temporal impact assessments.

Do we then need Wapda? Should it subsist in its present forms when there is Lesco, Mepco and all these regional institutions? We were in the Punjab government and we vehemently opposed the WB and its actions.

We are back to regional organisations that were doing such a good job.

The WB countered by saying that the grid system will allow spare electricity in the north to go to the south and vice versa. Neither the North-South concept has held and nor the vice versa.

Keep on taking dictations and keep on making a jackass of ourselves. When we learn to govern ourselves? Unashamed we go to wherever we want to spread our wisdom or lack of wisdom. Oh, when will we apply ourselves?

October 2014

Courtesy: Business Recorder;


Main Page | News  | Global News  |  Issues/Analysis  |  Weather  | Crop/ Water Update  |  Agri Overview   |  Agri Next  |  Special Reports  |  Consultancies
All About   Crops Fertilizer Page  |  Farm Inputs  |  Horticulture  |  Livestock/ Fisheries
Interactive  Pak APIN  | Feed Back  | Links
Site Info  
Search | Ads | Pakissan Panel


2001 - 2017 All Rights Reserved.