The Pakistani government is to introduce a hydro policy, which will focus on the construction of hydro plants by the country's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).

To implement the policy, which is part of WAPDA’s Vision 2025, the authority has said it needs US$39B from the federal government.

Speaking at the inauguration of the long-awaited Chashma hydro project in February, President Rafiq Tarar said that some 23,000MW of hydro power and 65M acre-feet of water storage sites had been identified for development by both the private and the public sector. He invited donor agencies and multi-national companies to participate in the programme.

‘Pakistan has the potential to produce 40,000MW of hydro power but we can only utilise 12% of this potential,’ he said. ‘Thermal power is more expensive. Its enhanced tariff has hit domestic consumers and is also responsible for the high cost of industry,’ he added.

According to government sources, outgoing secretary Zafarullah Khan finalised the policy document but new secretary Akram Sheikh wished to add his own touches before it was made official. The new policy is now being approved by the Economic Co-ordination Committee of the cabinet. The Ministry of Water and Power has already submitted feasibility plans to the chief executive for five hydro projects, with a total capacity of 181MW.