Swat Valley has witnessed variety of disasters in the recent past, including natural calamities in the form of devastating floods in 2010 and militancy culminating into a major military operation resulting in migration of hundreds of thousands of families into other parts of Pakistan. The cumulative impacts of these have result-ed into an extremely dismal situation, the local economy has been ruined, critical infrastructure has been destroyed, and local tourism which used to be a significant contributor to the local economy has been declined. Financial shortcomings, crises and magnitude of the damage do not permit the government to focus on the rehabilitation of important sectors such as energy.
The Valley is blessed with waterfalls and is ideal for hydel power generation. For years, the local community and business men have benefitted from locally produced hydel power. However due to the aforementioned disasters, the residents of Swat valley are virtually deprived of electricity.
A sizable number of the hydel power units have been destroyed during military operations. The growing en-ergy crises in Swat valley is not only resulting into ceased economic growth and emergence of other social issues, it is also increasing dependency on other sources of energy like fuel wood (from the fast diminishing forests) and use of kerosene oil, both being unfriendly to the environment and costly.
With a grant of $ 233,016 through USAID’s Small Grants Program, Swat Participatory Council (SPC) will bring com-fort to the life of local residents by exploring the potentials of hydel power which is environment friendly, renewable and much cheaper as compared to gird supplied electricity by installing 5 micro hydel power units in 4 Union Councils of Tehsil Bahrain and Matta District Swat. With the help of the grant and active involvement of the local communities, these micro hydel plants (2 each of 50KW, 2 each of 24 KW and 1 with 30KW capacity) shall be able to pump 178 Kilowatts of electricity.
The proposed project has benefitted 830 households and 5,815 individuals including 2,035 men, 2,326 women and 1,454 children.
“In this age of technologi-cal advancement, we are deprived of basic facilities. With the provision of elec-tricity we will be able to light our houses, expand our businesses, educate our children and save our forests from deforestation. We have no words to thank USAID and SPC.” said Nadir Khan, a local resident of Tehsil Matta District Swat.