In Pakistan's province of Punjab, ADB is working with the government to replace a 100-year-old weir that regulates water flow to canals irrigating more than 12,000 sq km of agricultural land.
Khanki Headworks on the Chenab River is one of the older weirs in the subcontinent. It regulates flow into the Lower Chenab Canal which provides water to 8 districts of Punjab.
The Lower Chenab Canal irrigates more than 1 million hectares of farmland. It is the largest water distribution system in Punjab and has been made possible due to the Khanki barrage.
The weir or "barrage" was built more than 100 years ago and now needs to be replaced. A new weir is being constructed 30 meters downstream from the existing one with the assistance of ADB.
SOT: Amjad Saeed
Project Director, Punjab Irrigation Department
"The New Khanki Barrage is being implemented with the assistance of ADB. Under this project, we are going to replace the 125-year old Khanki Headworks which was a landmark project of its own time.
This is meant to feed fertile land located in 8 districts of central Punjab and is the lifeline of agriculture of the province."
Punjab is Pakistan's "bread basket".
SOT: Zafar Ahmad
Resident Engineer, Project Implementation Consultants
"The natural slopes aiding this project are such that they allow for water to flow at a suitable velocity to irrigate the land. The river flows into the canal which then flow into distributories and smaller channels to irrigate 1 million hectares of land."
This is the first automated barrage of its kind in Pakistan with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System.
SOT: Muhammad Azam Chaudhary
Chief Resident Engineer, Project Implementation Consultants
"This new barrage has taken care of earthquakes, as well as a maximum flood level of 1,100,000 cusecs. The head regulator also contains the capacity to utilize the flood waters. So there's all kinds of sustainability which we can think of has been taken care of in this project."
SOT: Saghir Ahmad Chattha
President, Manchar Farmers' Organization
"The most important thing to remember is that water is life. Just as we can't survive without water, neither can our crops if they aren't irrigated."
SOT: Deeba Shabbir
Girls' Secondary School, Khanki village
"We are grateful that with the help of the Irrigation Department, Punjab Government, and ADB, our little village is on the road to prosperity. This new school building is the best in our entire area."
The project includes a bridge connecting Gujranwala and Gujrat districts situated on either side of the Chenab River.
With the support of $270 million from ADB, the new barrage is slated to be completed by January 2017.
SOT: Werner Liepach
Country Director, Pakistan Resident Mission, ADB
"ADB has made available $700 million for major upgradation of the irrigation system. We are looking at the main barrages and supporting their rehabilitation. This of course will help improve the efficiency of the irrigation system which in turn will help the agricultural productivity."
The completion of the project will ensure food security through sustainable irrigation and ensure the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.