Bhasha Dam Construction Announced, to Enhance Tarbela’s Age By 35 Yrs

The dam project is located on Indus River, about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of the Northern Area capital Gilgit and 40 km downstream of Chilas

SoDATA — Pakistan today announced start of construction of $10bln Diamer Bhasha Dam which will create thousands of local jobs, generate cheap hydel power and irrigate more than a million acre agricultural land and enhance the Tarbela Dam’s age by 35 yrs.

Prime minister Imran Khan directed for according priority to the use of local material and expertise during the construction work. “It will provide huge job opportunities to our people. It will also boost construction and related industry and provide a huge stimulus to our economy,” he added.

PM Khan while chairing a meeting on the dam and other mega water-related projects, vowed to ensure quality of work and meeting timelines of all the projects. NESPAK today signed a formal agreement as lead consultant of the JV for the project related services.

The Diamer Bhasha dam will create 16,500 jobs and utilize huge quantity of cement and steel, which will give a boost to the local industry. It will also produce 4,500 megawatt of cheap electricity to meet the country’s energy requirements.

The 6.4-million-acre-foot water storage capacity of the dam will reduce the current water shortage in the country of 12 MAF to 6.1 MAF. It will also add more than 30 years to the life of the Tarbela dam by reducing sedimentation.

It will also be a major source of flood mitigation and prevent damages worth billions of rupees caused by floods each year.

Pakistan can store only 10 percent of its annual river flows against the world average of 40 percent. The live water storage capacity that used to be 16.26 million acre feet (MAF) in 1976 has reduced to 13.68 MAF, which equals to only 30 days carry over capacity. India has carry over capacity of 170 days, Egypt 700 days and America 900 days.

The carry over water storage capacity has to be increased from 30 days to 120 days. Likewise, the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity in the energy basket also requires to be drastically improved.

The meeting was attended by Water Resources Minister Faisal Wada, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Special Assistant on Information Lt-Gen (retd) Asim Bajwa, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Muzammil Hussain and senior officers.