RAWALPINDI: The Directorate of Soil and Water Conservation (DSWC), Punjab, Rawalpindi Region, under water resources development programme has constructed over 1800 mini dams in Potohar Region which are irrigating over 45, 000 acres land with 2000 water ponds for 20, 000 acres.
According to Director Soil Conservation Muhammad Akram, the construction of the mini dams and water ponds has also developed positive environmental effects in the region. The underground water table is rising up with more employment opportunities for the people. Fish and cattle farming businesses are now flourishing in the region, he said.
The mini dams and water bonds are used to divert water for irrigation and other purposes, he said adding, the water accumulated in mini dams can also be utilised for vegetable and fruit cultivation. Fish farming was also introduced in the region which has become an additional source of income for the farmers.
All interventions of soil and water conservation are benefiting the farmers of the region.
He informed that the department also managed to plant a large number of saplings in different areas.
Meanwhile, Director Water Management Rawalpindi Division Dr. Iqbal Chohan informed that the department under the soil conservation programme also completed a large number of projects and reclaimed areas, including inlets/outlets projects for 27, 245 acres, retaining walls for 27, 557 acres, gully plugging spillways for 85, 782 acres, spurs for 24, 016 acres and 32 earthen bunds.
Forestation completed at 55, 520 acres, he said adding, 740, 184 acres area was reclaimed under land levelling projects.
Nearly 80 per cent subsidy was given to the farmers for the construction of all these schemes, he added.
Due to the water reservoirs and soil erosion controlling structures nearly 33, 190 acres was made cultivable in the region, he informed.
To a question, he informed that a mini dam is constructed on 40 acre. He said, solid steps were taken for development of agriculture in the region.
He said that the major problems of Potohar region are soil erosion and water runoff as most of the rain water is being wasted which is not only a big loss but also causes soil erosion at large scale.
Water Management Rawalpindi director told reporter that Potohar region is facing severe shortage of water, and the situation necessitated efficient irrigation system like drip and sprinkler systems, adding, the department was providing 60% subsidy on drip and sprinkler irrigation system.
Drip irrigation system has 90 to 95 per cent efficiency and sprinkler irrigation system saves 60 to 70% water as compared to traditional irrigation system, he added.
The water management department was also providing 50 per cent subsidy to the farmers for installation of solar system which is an alternative source of energy. It is economical, effective and environment friendly technology, he added.
He further said the department was striving to promote tunnel farming in the region and 50 per cent subsidy was being provided to the farmers for installing tunnels to produce off season vegetables and fruits.
At present, over 115 acre land is under tunnel farming in Potohar region and off season quality products are being produced.
Agriculture Department Punjab had taken revolutionary steps for promoting Agriculture in Potohar region which has a different environment and soil from other areas of the province, he said.