The infrastructure of electric power generation in Pakistan greatly relies on hydroelectricity. According to Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), the country has the potential of producing 60,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The best thing about hydropower is that it is a clean and environmental-friendly source of energy because it is fueled by water. When it comes to hydropower in Pakistan, the name of Tarbela Dam surfaces as it is the country’s largest dam producing hydroelectricity.
Keeping in view the significance of this gigantic man-made reservoir in the country, we decided to come up with a detailed post on it. So, in this blog, we are going to talk about everything you need to know about the very famous Tarbela Dam in Pakistan, discussing the dam’s location, features, and the best routes to get to it.
More About Tarbela Dam – the Largest Dam in Pakistan
Constructed in 1976, Tarbela Dam is not only one of the most popular dams in Pakistan but also the country’s biggest man-made reservoir. With a height of around 470 feet (143 metres), it is also listed among the largest earth-filled dams in the world. The water body formed due to this artificial embankment is known as Tarbela Lake. The surface area of Tarbela lake is around 250 square kilometres. This dam stores water flowing from the tributaries of the Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas rivers.
The current water storage capacity of the reservoir is around 6,800,000 acre-feet. Since it is the largest dam in Pakistan, the main spillway of the reservoir can discharge up to 18,406 cubic metres per second, which is a very large body of water. Altogether, there are two spillways in the structure of the dam, which help maintain the level of water in the dam.
The main objective of this man-made reservoir in Pakistan is to supply water to irrigation systems found in many different villages and towns in the surrounding areas. As much as five large tunnels have been built on this dam to regulate the flow of water when it is being discharged.
You would be surprised to know that around 70% of the water is released through the spillway of the dam for irrigation and other purposes and only the remaining 30% of it is used for the generation of hydroelectricity. Still, it is the largest hydropower station in Pakistan.
Quick Fact: Wondering what is an earth-filled dam? Commonly known as an earthen dam or a terrain dam, an earth-filled dam is basically an artificial embankment that holds the flow of water. It is built with the formation of a mound-like surface made with a special combination of raw materials like sand, clay, rock, and soil.
Tarbela Dam and Hydropower in Pakistan
As of now, the power generation capacity of this dam in Pakistan is 4,888 megawatts as it hosts the largest hydropower station in Pakistan. The main powerhouse on the dam houses has been equipped with 14 generators that produce large amounts of electricity with the help of fast-flowing water from the three out of five tunnels of the dam. These three tunnels are equipped with massive-scale water turbines for electric power generation.
With further infrastructure development on the reservoir, the power generation capacity of this hydropower project in Pakistan can be increased up to a maximum of 6,298 megawatts. As per a report published on the official website of the World Bank, the work of installation of additional power plants on the remaining two tunnels of the dam is underway.
It is being expected that these installations will significantly boost the total power generation capacity of the largest hydropower station in Pakistan, taking it up to 6298 megawatts. This figure is almost 20% of the total capacity of all the installed power generation and distribution systems in the country.
Moreover, to meet the growing demand for electricity through hydropower and to increase the country’s water storage capacity, some mega projects are underway. Here is a list of the under-construction dams in Pakistan for your reference.
Location of Tarbela Dam, Pakistan
Tarbela Dam is located in the districts of Swabi and Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is just 30 kilometres away from the city of Swabi. Tarbela Lake boasts some of the most scenic views in the country. The area is surrounded by high mountains, most of which are covered in lush green vegetation.
If you’re travelling from the city of Swabi, the best route to get to Tarbela Dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is via Swabi-Topi road. Tarbela Dam is also linked with the city of Abbottabad in KPK via National Highway-35. The distance between these two destinations is around a hundred kilometres.
Moreover, the dam is also just a two-hour drive from Islamabad from the route of the National Highway 5 (N-5) and Grand Truck Road. This is why it is also a very popular picnic spot among the dwellers of the capital city.
So, what can you expect from your trip to Tarbela Dam in Pakistan? We’ll learn more about the tourist attractions near the country’s largest man-made reservoir further in this piece.
Tourism Near Tarbela Dam in KPK
As discussed the dam is managed and controlled by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). It also keeps a close check on the tourism activities in the area. At a time only a specific number of tourists are allowed to visit the dam. If you want to take a trip to Tarbela Dam in KPK, you may need to take permission from the Public Relations Office (PRO) of WAPDA, which can be contacted at 0995-660562.
The availability of multiple vantage points in the area adds to the significance of this dam in terms of tourism in Pakistan. Visitors here get a chance to gaze at the beauty of this reservoir and surrounding natural views from different angles with the help of these vantage spots. They are actually well-maintained greenbelts with walkways that amplify the beauty of this place.
Due to the regular tourist activities in the region, you will also find a few popular restaurants in the area serving seafood. Their seafood menu is mostly based on the fresh catches from nearby lakes and rivers. Upon your trip to the KPK, you can also visit Khanpur Dam, which is another very beautiful tourist destination in the region. Take help from our travel guide to visiting Khanpur Dam in KPK to make your trip even more enjoyable.
Here we wrap our detailed blog post on the very famous Tarbela Dam in Pakistan. We hope you have enjoyed reading this piece and liked the information we shared in it. If you have been to this dam in KPK, we would like to hear about your experience. So, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a fan of tourism in Pakistan, then we have listed some of our blogs that you may find interesting. Have a look!
- Most Famous Deserts of Pakistan
- Amazing National Parks in Pakistan
- Exploring the Most Beautiful Lakes in Pakistan
- Highest Mountain Peaks in Pakistan
- Famous Hill stations in Pakistan
- Longest and Most Famous River in Pakistan
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