The forgotten Kalabagh Dam Project

The forgotten Kalabagh Dam Project

Engineering Post Report

Reproduced here is the Foreword to the Executive Summary , running in 67 pages, on Kalabagh Dam project prepared and published  by WAPDA and Kalabagh Consultants under auspices of Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International  Bank for Reconstruction and  Development (IBRD) in October  1988 just to refresh the memory of those who matter in the corridors of power for sake of Pakistan, its people and future generations.

“The future  development of Pakistan , which has been  handicapped by  shortage of power  and water for irrigation, is greatly  dependent on the timely commissioning of  of Kalabagh Dam Project. With only  small quantities  of indigenous  oil, gas or fossil fuels, the  country has to depend primarily upon  hydropower  for cheap electricity. Besides meeting  industrial and domestic needs,  electricity is vitally  needed to run  the irrigation and reclamation tubewells. The  project  will  provide extensive additional  water potential  for sustaining  agriculture , the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy, and will also  provide large  amounts of  hydropower  and in addition will substantially  reduce  the frequency  and severity  of damage to life and property  due to the floods in the downstream areas.

“The Kalabagh Dam Project will be  located on the Indus river in the north western  part of Pakistan  about 120 miles (193 km) downstream of of the existing Tarbela dam and will control  one of the world’s greatest catchments, over  100,000  sq miles ( 250,000  sq km) in area. The 260 ft  (79.2 m)  high dam  will create a reservoir  to provide 7.9 MAF  (9750 million cu m )  of total storage. The  annual utilization of this storage  for increasing  irrigation supplies will be on average about  4.5  MAF (5500 million cu m ) , varying  between 3. 6 MAF ( 4400 million cu m)  in a relatively wet year to the  full live  storage capacity of 6.1 MAF (7500 million cu m ) in a dry year. The project will have an initial  installed capacity of 2400  MW generating  over 11,400 million KWh of energy annually. The ultimate installed capacity  will be 3600 MW  which will be  one of the largest single  generating stations in Asia.

“The Project Planning Studies, detailed designs and tender documents were  carried out  with funds provided by the UNDP. The World Bank supervised  the studies in the capacity of Executing Agency and the Pakistan Water and Power  Development Authority (WAPDA)  acted as the Government  Cooperating  Agency. Kalabagh Consultants (KC), a joint venture of five engineering firms (Binnie & Partners, and Preece, Cardew & Rider of the United Kingdom, Harza Engineering of  USA and  Associated Consulting Engineers and National Engineering  Services of Pakistan) carried out the studies. The review and scrutiny  of the project by an independent international  panel of experts comprising  Drs Londe, Lombardi, Klaus John, Sherard, John Lowe, and Parmakian has helped ensure that the project proposals  are technically sound  and conform to   the economic design  under the present day  state of the art. In addition the  sedimentation  and backwater studies  were reviewed and the limits of their  impacts  ascertained  by independent sedimentation  experts including Drs. Kennedy, White, Mahmood and Lianzhen. Detailed studies  of sedimentation ,backwater effects, degradation downstream , floods, recession agriculture,  navigation  and resettlement and relocation have ensured  that the environmental  impacts have been defined and acceptably  minimized.

The project cost (based on June 1987 price levels) including engineering, administration,  physical contingencies and price contingencies is estimated US Dollars 3463 million (Rs 60610 million) including the foreign currency component of  US Dollars 1906 million. Some of early feasibility studies and reports are briefly mentioned here:

The first feasibility study of the Kalabagh Dam  Project  was conducted by M/s Tipton and Hill back in 1953 in which  retention level of 925 feet of the Kalabagh Dam was suggested.

M/s Chas T. Main conducted another feasibility  study  in 1960. The retention level of 925 feet  was proposed in this report too.

Another study pertaining to Kalabagh Dam Project was conducted by the World Bank Group under M/s Peter Lieftinck in 1967. The report of this study also favoured  the retention level of 925 feet.

M/s Harza and WAPDA engineers also carried out a feasibility between the period 1967-72  and proposed the  same retention level.

In 1975, the Associated Consulting Engineers (ACE) of Pakistan suggested the same retention  (925 feet) in its feasibility report.

The Kalabagh Dam Consultants  in the detailed project  planning phase, carried out between  February 1982 to March 1984 , had also planned the retention level of 925 feet.

The Kalabagh Consultants had prepared the detailed designs of civil works, firmed up  the cost estimates  and finalized the contract documents of civil works  by December 1985.