Engineering Post Report
Pakistan has been blessed with enormous natural resources including mountain peaks, the masses of largest glaciers of the world after polar region, diverse climates, mountainous regions, plains and deserts. One of these bounties of Almighty Allah is the frozen water of the north called glaciers. These frozen waters provide a source of water to more than 60 per cent of the population in three provinces of the country.
The water is also a source of one of the world’s largest irrigation systems called the Indus River System. Nature has blessed these waters with vast opportunities for hydropower generation but unfortunately, the successive civil and military governments somehow have not been able to take much of the benefit of them to produce sufficient energy.
Resultantly, the country is heavily dependent on thermal power plants run by coal and fossil fuels. Energy so produced is both expensive and detrimental to the environment.
According to some estimates, the Indus Water in the north has a capacity to generate about 100,000 megawatts of electricity , but today only 10,000 megawatts is being produced meaning that just 10 per cent o the total capacity of water to generate power. The increasing prices of fossil huels have also le to a mammoth increase in power tariffs.
In 20 years, from 2018 to 2028, 10 mega dam projects are scheduled to be completed and this decade has quite ambitouously named as “Decade of Dams”. The storage capacity will accordingly increase from 13.6 million acres feet (MAF) to as much as 25.3 MAF. This will additionally also irrigate about 3.5 million acres of new land which wil usher in an agricultural revolution on in the country.
Hopefully and quite expectedly, in the next four years, the hydel power generation capacity of the country will be increased by 4500 MW and by 2029, it will further go up to 9000 MW, hence in the next eight years, the hydel power generation capacity of the country will almost be doubled.
With the completion of these mega dam projects, 35000 new jobs will also be created which will go a long way in improving the socio-economic conditions of the country. To ensure urban water security , 950 million gallons of additional water will also be provided daily.
These mega dam projects include Diamir Bhasha Dam, Dau Hydropower project, Mohmand Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam, NaiGanj Dam, Extension of Tarbela Dam, Harop Hydropower Project, Reconstruction of Sindh Barrage, Extension of Kahi Canals and Karachi Greater Water Supply Scheme.
Diamir-Bhasha Dam is one of the largest concrete roller compacted dams is under construction 40 kilometers off Chilas city. On completion, it will produce 4800 MW of electricity. Due to the construction of this new dam at the upstream end, the silt load of the water stored in Tarbela Dam will be substantially reduced and accordingly the working life of Tabela Dam itself will be increased by 36 years.
Height of this dam is 272 meters and it comprises 8 spillways. Currently, the project is being by China Powere Company and the Frontier Works Organization (FWO).
Dasu Hydropower Project is being constructed on the run of the river at 7 km from Dasu to Chilas which is 345 kilometers away from Islamabad. The project on completion will produce 4320 MW of power . In the first phase , six units will be commissioned to generate 2160 MW while in the second, its capacity will be doubled. The project is expected to be completed by 2026.
Mohmand Dam, previously called Munda Dam, is being constructed over the river Swat at a distance of 37 km towards the north of Peshawar. On completion, the project will generate 740 MW of power and irrigate 15000 acres of land. The retun of the dam will include Rs 5 billion from water storage, Rs 120 billion of power generation and 80 million from flood mitigation every year.
Harop Power project is located on the left bank of River Indus at 75 km towards the north of Skardu City and will produce 340 megawatt of energy among other projects.
These mega hydropower projects, planned to be completed in the next 10 years, will quite expectedly transform the power sector, agriculture and manufacturing sector. Socio-economic development will also be ushered in the country with the completion of these projects one after the other as scheduled. In view of these mega dam projects, there is dire need that every one, irrespective of political affiliations and considerations being a politician ,civilian , retired government servant and the men in the streets should wholeheartedly support them.