I’ve been reading about dams for years now, but at the end of all that reading I still don’t know much about the whole issue yet. Practically all I’ve read in the newspapers is short on facts and big on the author’s ‘feelings’. Many of the facts thrown about are just plain wrong. The only certain thing I’ve gathered about dams so far is that many of the journalists and almost all the politicians here don’t know a damn thing about dams, economics, mathematics or logic. Consequently, those further down the food chain who read about dams from these idiots end up knowing even less. _i.e the author_
Much has been written about big dams – our politicians and dictators seem to have read none of it. This is not rocket science, but science nonetheless. The first man made dam, Sadd el-Kafara, was built over 4000 years ago in Egypt – and turned out to be a spectacular failure, being washed away by the first rains soon after completion.
_in keeping with the fine tradition of all the articles I’ve read, there are no facts in this post. no facts are better than wrong facts. The whole dam situation is like a rolling slimeball, picking up all sorts of crap along the way, getting harder and harder to decipher._
Everything is a secret – studies commissioned are scuppered, reports released are censored, idiots are appointed to committees, vague content less statements are issued by all and sundry.
There is so much distrust that everything anyone says is automatically assumed to be a lie by everyone else. Since everyone is doing a whole lot of talking, that has lumped facts, lies and misc bullshit into a bottomless pit, from which different talking heads randomly pull out scraps of garbage to wave around aimlessly. In the April 9 2006 issue of Dawn, Prof Arun Babat ‘points out’:http://www.dawn.com/weekly/science/science1.htm:
bq. Surprisingly, issues in civil engineering, geology, seismology, geotechnology, hydrology, sedimentology, irrigation and agriculture are hardly being discussed.
He goes on to say:
bq. Building of a dam is an engineering activity and as far as possible it should be viewed from the standpoint of engineers and scientists.
He brings up the very important fact that the “earthquake of Oct 8”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Kashmir_earthquake generated large amounts of seismo-sediments which could require fundamental changes in the pre-earthquake designs, and at the least require re-analyzing the currently estimated figures for the life, costs and economic viability of the dams.
Lost somewhere in all this noise, the World Bank says that Pakistan loses 50 percent of its waters through unlined irrigation canals, and water supply could be increased by improving the irrigation network at one fifth of the cost of building new dams.
However, the World Bank along with the Pakistan governmnment are staunch belivers in -wasteful- top-down systems of providing water through massive, centralized projects.
Fortunately, the Internet is out there, and you can make use of it:
* ‘Wikipedia: Dams’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dams :: always a good starting point
* ‘ Waterinfo.net.pk’:http://www.waterinfo.net.pk/ :: tons of info here
* “World Bank report on Pakistan water resources: Water economy: running dry”:http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C01%5C18%5Cstory_18-1-2006_pg7_27