PESHAWAR, Sep 15 (APP): After having lost his house and standing crops in flash floods, the 24-year progressive farmer from Nowshera district Malayar Khan is worried regarding preparations of his agricultural land for the upcoming wheat sowing season and how to water the crop due to destruction of water channels and canals.
Belonging to flood hit Mohib Banda directly located on River Kabul, Malayar was regularly visiting his hometown canal originating from Bara River to check water’s availability after it was badly damaged by the August 28 floods.
“The wheat sowing season was about to start in our area and there was no water in our hometown canal due to destruction caused by flash floods,” he said, adding farmers besides agriculture production would adversely affect if canals were not restored on priority in KP’s flood-hit areas.
Besides repairing damaged canals and watercourses, he said leveling of agricultural land in flood affected areas including Mohib Banda, Pasthun Ghari and Banda Sheikh Ismail near river Kabul was also a big challenge in post-flood situation, and substantial financial resources were required to help flood affected farmers, gardeners, and livestock owners.
Like Malayar Khan, the farmers of Mohib Banda and adjoining villages of Nowshera and Charsadda districts were worried about preparations of their lands for wheat’s sowing in the wake of damaged canal system and urged the government to reconstruct the water courses, canals, and irrigation channels at earliest to facilitate wheat growers.
KP irrigation department’s official told APP that the August 28 devastated floods started from Mataltan, Mahudhand and Kalam valleys in Upper Swat had brought havoc to irrigation sector especially canals, watercourses, channels, tubewells and flood protection walls, adding that the reconstruction process required huge financial resources and time.
He said reconstruction and restoration of water sources for agricultural purpose was also a big challenge for the government and years would be required for rebuilding of destroyed irrigation infrastructures.
Besides destroying lift irrigation and SCARP projects, watercourses, rivers and canal embankments in flood hit Hazara, Malakand, Peshawar, Bannu and DI Khan divisions, he said the floods also inflicted about Rs22.387 billion losses to the irrigation infrastructure in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
“The velocity of August 28 floods was so high that it not only swept away canals and flood protection walls but also destroyed tube wells and lift-canal irrigation schemes in KP, creating a lot of problems for wheat growers,” he said.
As a result, the official said irrigation supplies to vast agriculture lands were disrupted, which left the province with limited supplies of irrigation water for wheat sowing crops and feared that existing standing crops in non flood areas would get perished and food security issues might be aggravated in future if irrigation supplies system were not restored on priority basis in KP.
While referring to surveys and field formations’ reports, he said out of Rs22.387 billion damages, about Rs3.245 billion losses were incurred to flood mitigation and drainage infrastructure projects having accumulative length of 90 kilometers and 237 irrigation structures in the province.
Keeping in view of the high magnitude of flood damages and cost of its restoration and rehabilitation, he said it would not be possible to accommodate the same within the allocated budget for the irrigation department.
To ensure early restoration of flood mitigation structures and water drainage systems, he said the irrigation department has proposed a mega project i.e. “Restoration of irrigation structures and water drainage system” worth Rs3.245 billion as a non-ADP scheme.
The official said KP’s canals irrigate about 2.25 million acres of agriculture lands including fields to cater food requirements of the ever growing population. He said out of Rs22.387 billion flood damages to the irrigation sector, Rs2.547 billion losses were estimated to water supply schemes including canals and irrigation structures in KP mostly in Swat, Kohistan, Dir, Charsadda, Nowshera, Tank and DI Khan.
The official said about 180 kilometers length canals sections along with 537 irrigation structures and 11 irrigation augmentation tube-wells were affected during the floods, adding that another mega project, “Restoration of water supplies and channels in irrigation system” worth Rs2.457billion has been proposed for KP a non-ADP scheme.
He said PC-I of both the projects were approved and practical work on restoration of canals and irrigation structures would soon start to facilitate farmers.

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