Update (Nov 18, 2021): Under the federal government-backed initiative ‘Decade of Dam’, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is currently working on multiple dam projects. According to the initial planning and framework of the initiative, these dams are expected to be completed by 2028.
Projects that are already in the works include Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Dasu Hydropower Project, Sindh Barrage, Nai Gaj Dam, and K-IV Project. These large-scale hydropower developments will be completed and made operational one by one.
Update: (July 23, 2021): The government of Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have come together and signed a $300 million agreement to finance the development of the Balakot Hydropower Project. The total cost of the project is estimated at $755 million.
According to a statement by the ADB, as cited by a local news publication, the preparatory work on the dam has already been completed. The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs. The quota of most of these jobs will be reserved for the locals.
Addressing the occasion, the Minister of Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan said that the construction of this hydroelectricity dam would take place on the Kunhar River. He further stated that the upcoming project would be able to generate around 300 megawatts of electric power. This would significantly enhance the generation capacity of renewable energy in Pakistan.
If you want to learn more about the under-construction dams in Pakistan and other related updates about them, continue reading this blog.
The water crisis in Pakistan has worsened, especially over the past decade. Many factors, including not getting enough rain, a lack of planning, and the increase in population, have combined to make the daily life of people living in Pakistan an unusual challenge, to say the least. The shortage of water has also played a significant role in the power shortage in the country. Thankfully, the Government of Pakistan has decided to start the construction of several new dams in the country to increase the overall water storage capacity and eliminate the deficiency of electricity in the country. In this blog, we will be sharing a brief overview of some existing dams/dam sites and the details of some under construction dams in Pakistan.
Before we get into more details about the construction of new dams in the country, let us shed some light on the main features served by the existing dams in Pakistan and how they contribute to the country’s collective economy as well as the well-being of people living in Pakistan.
MAIN FUNCTIONS OF THE EXISTING DAMS IN PAKISTAN
Taking the history of dams into consideration, they have been serving the all-important purpose of saving/storing water and supplying it at the right time for irrigation and agriculture. With time, there was an increased demand in water supply for several purposes other than just irrigation. Hence, the scope of dams in Pakistan wasn’t only limited to storing water as they were needed for more than one reasons, including flood control, assisting river navigation, sedimentation control, and hydropower.
According to experts, a dam is like a keystone in the development as well as the management of water storage. However, for developing countries like Pakistan, the existence of multipurpose dams is extremely crucial since they lead to added economic benefits and the welfare of citizens.
The population ratio of Pakistan has witnessed a substantial increase over the past few years, which implies that the demand for water will keep on increasing with every passing day. As they say, “there is no life without water”, the construction of new dams is vital to preserving the lives of citizens, and the national occupation of the county – farming.
EXISTING DAMS IN PAKISTAN
According to the records of the International Commission on Large Dams, the list of dams and reservoirs in Pakistan totals 150. Additionally, there are about ten major dam sites in the country including Tarbela Dam, Mangla Dam, Sukkur Barrage, Rawal Lake, Head Marala, Jhelum River, Margalla Hills – National Park, Islam Headworks, Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant and WAPDA House, out of which Tarbela Dam and Mangla Dam are the largest ones with the depth of 470 ft and 453 ft respectively. Also, the storage capacity of the aforementioned dams has been recorded at 13,690,000,000 m3 and 7,251,811,000 m3 respectively. These are also among the most famous dams in Pakistan.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION DAMS IN PAKISTAN – SOME MEGA PROJECTS
According to the Ministry of Water and Power, there’s already a scarcity of water in the country, and some experts predict that the conditions will only get worse from here onwards, which means that the government is in a race against time to achieve its target of developing new dams in Pakistan. Emphasising on the importance of water reservoirs, the officials also declared that the construction of new dam projects in Pakistan would ensure the sustainability of current cultivation and create more opportunities for irrigation in the country, not to mention employment opportunities as well.
As for some under-construction dams in Pakistan, the two main dams are Mohmand and Diamer-Bhasha, which we’ll discuss in more detail later. For now, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Naulong Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam, Nai Gaj Dam, and Dawarat Dam are in the initial stages of development. These five dams combined have a storage capacity of around 7.747 million acre-feet, while, Garuk Dam, Winder Dam, Papin Dam, and Pelar Dam are four other dams that are all set to become functional in the coming days. These four dams have a water storage capacity of 0.142 million acre-feet. Similarly, the Government is also planning to build seven more dam projects in Pakistan including Hingol dam, Akhori dam, Shyok dam, Munda dam (Mohmand Dam), Tank Zam dam and Chiniot dam. These seven dams combined will add 13.948 million acres of storage capacity to the already-existing water reservoirs in the country.
Upon completion, the under-construction dams in Pakistan will collectively increase the water storage capacity of Pakistan by 21.837 million acre-feet.
Coming back to the two major under-construction dams in Pakistan, Mohmand Dam and Diamer-Bhasha Dam, here’s an overview of these two mega projects:
The Government of Pakistan started the construction of Mohmand Dam in July 2018 upon the directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The primary purpose of the dam is to resolve water shortage by storing water in the periods of surplus and releasing in the times of scarcity. Some secondary purposes served by the dam may include the production of hydropower and moderation of water flow in rivers. The moderation will result in flood mitigation and thousands of innocent lives being saved from natural disasters.
Known to address and elevate the socio-economic conditions of the nearby residents, the new dam project in Pakistan will enhance the agricultural development by 16,737 acres – with 9, 017 acres on its left and 7,720 acres on its right. Mohmand Dam is also popularly known as the Munda Dam project due to its geographical location.
Built on Swat River and managed by Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan (WAPDA), Munda Dam is a highly anticipated dam in Pakistan. In addition to being located on Swat River, it is situated approximately 5 km opposite to Munda Headworks in Mohmand Tribal District situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, explaining the two titles given to this one dam.
Originally launched in March 2019, Munda dam is a concrete faced rock-fill, and it is around 700 ft deep with a storage capacity of about 1.293 million acre-feet. Upon completion, the dam will have the capacity to generate 800 MW of electricity which will drastically reduce the power scarcity in the country. The project is scheduled to be completed and functional by July 2024.
Cost in PKR: 309,558 million (30955.8 crore)
Storage Capacity: 0.676 million acre-feet
Location: Swat River, Munda Headworks, Mohmand Tribal District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Diamer-Bhasha Dam is one of the most crucial and state-of-the-art under construction dams in Pakistan, in terms of the welfare of common Pakistanis and the country’s overall water storage capacity. Considering the project’s hype and reputation, it will be justified to say that this dam will be a valuable addition to the assets of the country. Ideally situated on the Indus River, in the northern part of Pakistan, Bhasha Dam will cost around 14 billion USD.
According to a popular news source, the construction work on Diamer-Bhasha Dam is all set to begin in the second quarter of 2019. Not long ago, several consulting firms were invited to bid for the evaluation process of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, so that the construction could begin in the next phase of the development. The Government of Pakistan, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and WAPDA will be working together to expedite the development of this under-construction dam in Pakistan. The dam project has been divided into two phases – the primary water reservoir and its other sub-structures. Besides billions of rupees, countless man-hours will also be spent on the construction of this dam.
Although the project was proposed seven years back, the actual implementation and planning started in July 2018, with the assistance of the then-Chief Justice of Pakistan when he initiated an international donation drive for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam. The project will be mostly sponsored through local resources, with an initial estimated cost of PKR 625 billion.
The planning of the first phase is already on the move, and the most important thing to note here is that the dam project has the capacity to produce 4,500 MW of electricity.
Moreover, Diamer-Bhasha Dam is said to be the highest roller-compacted concrete (RCC) dam in the world once it is completed boasting a water storage capacity of around 8,500,000 acres feet. The reservoir is planned to serve irrigation and drinking purposes. Being a protection source of the 35-year-old Tarbela Dam, the multipurpose dam will also be a source to control flood damages caused by the River Indus.
Cost in PKR: 675 billion (rough estimate).
Storage Capacity: 8,500,000 acres feet
Location: Northern Pakistan, Indus River
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