Update (18th November): On Friday, some officials from the World Bank (WB) conducted a site visit to evaluate the Dasu Hydropower Project for its developmental progress. During their visit to the 4,300 megawatts hydropower project, accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner Asif Khan Yousafzai, the officials were entirely satisfied with the pace of work so far. On the same day, the officials from the World Bank also shared their views with district administration and said that the pace of the work needs to be facilitated in order to meet the shortfall of electricity in the country. While the WB officials nodded to coordinate with district administration and WAPDA for excessive help and for providing every kind of assistance during the construction and developmental work, the deputy commissioner assured the locals and said, “We have been working dedicatedly to accomplish land acquisition process so that this hydropower project could meet electricity shortfall in the country.” He further added, “It [Dasu Hydropower Plant] is a mega project, which might bring a positive change in the lives of people, besides meeting electricity shortfall in the country.” The DC also reported that the landowners and locals have been admirably cooperative during the execution of the project.
Just like Suki Kinari’s Hydropower Project, the Dasu Hydropower Project is a multi-purpose dam in Pakistan that is being constructed to help the government overcome power shortage and enhance the water storage capacity in the country. Being the country’s most trusted name in providing accurate and updated information, we have taken this opportunity to share an exclusive overview of the Dasu Hydropower Project, its purpose, and some reasons why the dam is making headlines across the country.
An insight into the Dasu Hydropower Project – One of the Most Anticipated Under-Construction Dams in Pakistan
We had previously given you an insight into some of the most hyped and anticipated under-construction dams in Pakistan. In continuation, this post is going to be focused on the Dasu Hydropower Project, and what was the need to initiate this mega project in Pakistan.
Here are some lesser-known facts about the multi-purpose dam named Dasu. The mega project in Pakistan was initiated in 2017 with the government awarding a Chinese firm with two contracts to start the civil work and execute the first phase of the project. The first phase of the Dasu Dam is expected to be completed at a whopping cost of PKR 180 billion and involves the cost of appurtenant structures*, hydraulic steel structures, underground power complex, and underpasses, to name a few major ones.
*Appurtenant structures: In the language of real estate, appurtenant structure means something that is built on the land and is attached to the main building. For example, a servant quarter, a garage, or a site office. These structures are tangible and can be passed on to a new owner when the property is sold.
Moreover, the agreements to develop the dam were signed between Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and a Chinese firm called China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC). The first phase of the project is expected to be delivered by 2021, and just recently, the two parties have increased and intensified their collaboration to speed-up the construction process.
Speaking to the press after signing the tenure, the project director said, “the project heralded a new era of cheap electricity generation. Besides Dasu, the government would lay the foundation stones of the Mohmand dam and the Diamer-Bhasha dam during the current year – two of the most important under-construction dams in Pakistan.”
Once completed, the Dasu Dam – one of the most important under-construction dams in Pakistan – will serve as a multi-purpose dam that will increase the overall power generation capacity of the country by 2,160 MW. Addressing the same issue, the project director also indicated, “the duration of power shutdown had gradually been declining since 2013, and the present government would ensure addition of another 10,400MW capacity by this year that would bridge the demand and supply gap that was now less than 5,000MW.” He further added, “There would be not only sufficient generation capacity, but the entire transmission and distribution system would also be capable of absorbing the additional supply to consumers.”
Owing to the project’s increasing hype and popularity, here’s a little info on the dam’s tentative location.
Location of the Dasu Hydropower Project
The RCC Gravity Dam* Project, Dasu Hydropower Project, is situated around 7 kilometres upstream of a small town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Dasu Town (also spelled as Daasu Town). The dam site is proposed to be constructed on Indus River and around 74 km downstream of Diamer Basha Dam and almost 350 km from the capital city – Islamabad.
*Gravity Dam: A dam that is constructed from concrete/stone is known as a Gravity Dam.
Overlay of the Plan and Latest Updates on the Dasu Hydropower Project
Introducing the crucial mega project and a milestone for Pakistan, WAPDA Chairman Syed Muzzammil Hussain said, “The total cost of the first phase of the project was estimated $4.2 billion that would lead to 2,160 MW power generation in 4-5 years. The first phase included the construction of the main dam and the first part of the powerhouse with a total of six units.”
Comparing the project’s importance to one of the biggest dams in Pakistan, WAPDA Chairman shared some serious information about the project and said, “The project is of critical importance because, with more than 4,000 MW capacity, it would be able to generate more than 21bn electricity units when running to maximum capacity and its generation would be 7-8bn units greater than the current capacity of Tarbela Dam.”
During the same event, Mr. Hussain updated us with details about the second phase of the project, as well. He explicitly stated that the second phase of the project will involve setting up a hydropower plant on the Dasu dam that will have the capacity to generate 2,160 MW. The cost of the hydropower plant is estimated to be around$2 billion. He reassured people that they will not have to wait for long once the project enters its second phase since the structure of the dam would already be completed by then. He said and we quote, “The government was working for optimal utilisation of hydropower resources for generating low-cost electricity to eliminate load-shedding and provide relief to people, and Dasu was a manifestation of this commitment.”
Moreover, after the contract and bidding procedures, the project remained unsettled for a while until recently, when the Deputy Commissioner of Upper Kohistan district Arif Khan Yousafzai marked over 9,000 acres of land, out of which 730 acres have been successfully acquired by the administration of the Dasu Hydropower Project. The construction work has already kicked off, while the deputy commissioner has appealed to the local Jirga to settle all the matters related to the rest of the land.
Functions and Advantages of Dasu Hydropower Project
The addition of the Dasu Dam will elevate the socio-economic conditions of the local population in more ways than one. To begin with, one of the immediate benefits of the project is cutting down the shortage of power and bridging the gap of civil resources by providing abundant electricity and water. Not to mention the many environmental benefits of the Dasu Hydropower Project since the dam is mainly fueled by water, so it only makes sense that it will not pollute the air – unlike other power plants that burn fossil fuels to generate power, damaging the environment in the process.
Besides, the project will be a great barrier for natural catastrophes and will play a crucial role in flood control, irrigation, river navigation, and saving lives.
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