An irrigation and land conservation project in North West Frontier Province is to be awarded on a fast-track basis for mobilisation on 1 October. Tender documents for the scheme, known as the Pehur high canal project, were to be issued in early August. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to lend $127.6 million towards the total cost, which is estimated at $160 million.

The project involves building an irrigation canal from the Tarbela dam reservoir to irrigate a total of 40,300 hectares. Construction work will include building a 3.7-kilometre tunnel from the dam reservoir, with a capacity of 1,000 cubic metres of water a second. A large part of the water will be fed into an existing irrigation system in the upper Swat canal area. New irrigation canals will be built to cover 4,000 hectares of rain-fed land.

A feasibility study was carried out by the UK’s Binnie & Partners, Germany’s Lahmeyer, and the local National Development Consultants (NDC) and BAK.