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Asian Development Bank awards Landell Mills with contract to prepare a large-scale irrigation scheme to enhance food security and rural economic growth in Punjab province, Pakistan

News 01.08.19 Environment, water, climate change and disaster risk reduction

Landell Mills has been awarded a Transaction Technical Assistance (TRTA) contract, TRTA 9458-PAK: Preparing the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Investment Programme, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The programme started in April 2019 and will last for seven months with a total contract value of USD $1.27 million.

Inspecting the current drainage systems along the bank of the Greater Thal Canal

The contract will support the Government of Punjab, Pakistan, in the design and due diligence of the Programme in order to inform ADB's board and the government in their decisions on the approval of a proposed follow-on loan project. The proposed ADB-financed follow on project will enhance food security and rural economic growth in Punjab province by developing a new seasonal irrigation system - the Greater Thal Canal (GTC) irrigation scheme.

Landell Mills' design and due diligence tasks over the next few months will include conducting an institutional assessment, census surveys, environmental assessments, preparation of Land Acquisition and Resettlement Plans, construction design of community watercourses (constructed water channels), and Command Area Development (the area that the irrigation scheme will affect).

Landell Mills' local partners for the Technical Assistance contract are Integrated Consulting Services (ICS) and BAK Consulting Engineers who form part of the Landell Mills' consortium in Pakistan that is providing the national experts for this project. Punjab Irrigation Department (PID) is responsible for the overall implementation of the project. It will oversee the entire investment programme and execute the GTC irrigation scheme with support from the Project Management Office (PMO) Barrages.

A view of tube well irrigated millet crop in the command area of proposed Nurpur Branch Canal

Water supply closed as the Thal Canal System is non-perennial (the river is partially or fully dry for part of the year)

The project team are based in Lahore, Pakistan. However, the GTC irrigation scheme will focus on enhancing food security and rural economic growth in Punjab province, predominantly in Bhakkar, Jhang, Khushab, and Layyah districts of Punjab.

The Punjab province currently contributes to 68% of the national annual food grain production in Pakistan. Yet food security and malnutrition indices show that agricultural production needs to be increased. The GTC irrigation scheme will convert about 704,000 hectares (ha) of unproductive lands to irrigated lands. The scheme has already been partially constructed by government funds. The proposed ADB-financing will support the construction of the remaining parts covering about 440,000 ha to complete the development of the scheme and provide support to farmers and their farming practices following the changes in irrigation.

In Pakistan, over 90% of agriculture output comes from irrigated agriculture and the agriculture sector relies heavily on the Indus Basin Irrigation System (IBIS), which draws water from the Indus River and its tributaries. The new GTC irrigation scheme will provide Punjab province with more irrigated lands and improve agriculture outputs by drawing water from the existing constructed Chashma-Jehlum link (CJ-Link) canal which is connected to the IBIS, as shown in the map below.