HYDROPOWER IS globally recognized as a renewable, cheap and reliable resource of energy as it generates electricity with zero emission and produces no waste.  There is no requirement of fuel, operating cost is much lower and hydropower plants have longer economic lives than thermal plants. Pakistan has total installed power generation capacity of 20,456 MW. The demand for electricity is increasing at an average annual rate of eight per cent. Thus, there is gross power shortage at national level, demand being projected to around 22,000 MW by the year 2010. To resolve the power crisis optimal development of hydropower is needed. There are, however, hosts of risks, constraints and specific issues linked to undertaking hydropower projects. These include geological risks, hydrological constraints, problems in water use, need for infrastructure, environmental issues and social problems. Thus the complexity and long lead-time inhibits private sector to invest in hydropower projects, in spite of various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives being offered in this regard. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the government to effectively address this critical issue.

M. Fazal Elahi @Islamabad

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