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1 Importance of Dams for Pakistan

Pakistan is highly dependent on agriculture, which in turn is dependent on water. Of the
79.6 million hectares of land that makeup Pakistan, 20 million are available for
agricultural. Of those 20 million hectares, 16 million are dependent on irrigation. It is
estimated that up to 90% of Pakistan’s agriculture is dependent on irrigation. An even
more important fact is that many of Pakistan’s industries are agro-based, such as the
textiles industry.

Pakistan is fortunate in the soils, topography and climate, which are suitable for year
round agriculture. Major agricultural areas lie within the plains formed by Indus River and
its tributaries, namely Kabul, Chenab, Ravi, Jhelum and Sutlej. Indus plains are like a
tunnel with number of water sources at the top, converging into single stream, which
flows into the Arabian Sea, near the city of Karachi. First canal were constructed some 5
to 6 centuries ago and extended under the great Mogul emperors. In earlier l9th century,
there were numerous inundation canals leading from Indus and its tributaries. World's
largest contiguous irrigation project was started in l9th century. After independence in
1947, many more developments in the canal systems were made. Different
barrages/canals i.e., (Kotri barrage-1956, Taunsa barrage-1958 and Guddu barrage-
1962), link canals (Marala-Ravi (MR), Bambanwala-Ravi-Bedian-Dipalpur (BRBD) and
Balloki-Salimanki (B S) were constructed.

A summary of this situation is made in the following table taken from Habib (in Mollinga):

Water and Land Resources of Pakistan

Land availability and utilization Water availability and utilization
Gross area of 83 million 138.89 million acre
Average river inflow
Pakistan hectares feet
22.4 million River flow diverted for 103.36 million acre
Cropped Land
hectares irrigation feet
Rainfall below river’s 75 milion meters –
Forest 3%
main catchment 460 million meters
2.2 million
Rain fed area Rainfall volume 67 million acre feet
Area with usable Rainfall in canal 19.38 million acre
groundwater irrigated zone feet
Area with
Daily free-surface 3 million meters-6
groundwater 65%
evaporation million meters
Recycled Water 37.14 million acre
Percent Waterlogged 20%
Average Daily feet
Main and Secondary
Percent Saline 30% 85%
system’s efficiency
Tertiary system’s
Field Efficiency 75% 75%
1.2 Dams in Pakistan:
Three main dams Mangla, Tarbela and Warsak were constructed for the purpose of
generating electricity and irrigating agricultural land. In addition, there are 23
barrages/head works/syphons; main irrigation canals are 45, which have extended up to
40,000 miles. Similarly, there are 90,000 water courses, which are extended up to one
million miles.

Tarbela Dam
The world's largest earth-filled dam on
one of the world's most important rivers
- the Indus - is 103 km from Rawalpindi.
The dam was completed in 1976 at a
cost of Rs.18.5 billion. Over 15,000
Pakistani and 800 foreign workers and
engineers worked during its
construction. It is the biggest hydel
power station in Pakistan having a
capacity of generating 3,478 MW of
electricity. Its reservoir is 97 km long
with a depth of 137 meters while total
area of the lake is 260 Sq Km. The Dam
and Power House can be visited after
acquiring permits from the Water and
Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
along with a No-Objection Certificate
(NOC) from the Ministry of Interior.
Mangla Dam
The Mangla Dam on the River Jhelum is one of the longest earth-fill dams in the world.
The Indus Basin treaty of 1960 with India paved the way for its construction. The treaty
provided for two dams, one on the River Jhelum at Mangla and the other on the Indus at

World's third largest earth-filled dam is only 115 km south-east of Rawalpindi. One has
to turn left from Dina Town and the dam on river Jhelum is about 14 km to the east. The
dam is 3,353 meters (11,000 ft) long and 116 meters high above the river bed with a
crest elevation of 1,234 feet. It is designed to store 5.88 MAF water and also used for
power generation. In the centre of the dam there is the Gakkhar Fort from where one
can have a panoramic view of the lake. The Dam and Power House can be visited after
acquiring permits from the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) along
with a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Interior.

Besides the main dam, Sukian Dyke, 17,000 feet in length, and a small dam 3,700 feet
long to block the Jari Nala were also constructed. Jari Dam is 11 miles from New Mirpur.

Mangla Dam has two spillways

on the right side. The main
spillway has a normal service
capacity of 900,000 cusecs. It
has nine gates 36 feet wide and
40 feet high. The second is an
emergency spillway. Its design
provides for a future increase of
48 feet in height.

The gignatic multi-purpose Warsak Dam on River
Kabul is situated 30 KMs north-west of Peshawar
in the heart of tribal territory. It has a total
generating capacity of 240,000 KW and will
eventually serve to irrigate 110,000 acres of land.
The 250 ft. high and 460 ft. long dam with
reservoir of 4 square miles had a live storage
capacity of 25,300 acre-feet of water for irrigation
of 119,000 acres of land and meeting power
generation requirement. A spillway with nine
gates is capable to discharge 540,000 cusecs of
flood water.
This beautiful lake/dam is 48 km from
Islamabad on Taxila-Haripur Road. It
is an ideal place for day trip/picnic,
boating, angling and watching
migratory birds during winter. Khanpur
Dam has been constructed in a narrow
gorge on the Haro River. It is a
multipurpose project which supplies
drinking water to Islamabad and
Rawalpindi and irrigation water to
NWFP (110 cusecs) and Punjab (87

Khanpur village, from which the dam derives its name, has been submerged by the
reservoir, so a new Khanpur town has been built downstream of the Dam. The dam is
167 feet high and stores 106,000 acre feet of water. Construction was started in 1968
and completed in 1983 at a cost of Rs.1352 million.

Ghazi Barotha Hydro Power Project

Ghazi Barotha Hydro Power

Project is a Run-of-the-River
power project on the Indus River
located downstream of Tarbela
Dam. The project provides the
nation with a continuous peak
power of 1450mw, 24 hours a day.
The project was completed during
the fiscal year 2003-2004. This is a
major run of river and
environmentally sustainable
project designed to meet the acute
shortage of peak power demand in
the country.

Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project with a generation capacity of 1450 MW and an

average energy output of 6600 GWh is a large, renewable and emission free source of
energy towards WAPDA’s Vision 2025 goals. The Project has three main components, a
Barrage, a Power Channel and a Power Complex.

The Barrage located 7 km downstream of Tarbela Dam, provides a pond which re-
regulates the daily discharge from Tarbela by diverting the flow into the Power Channel.
Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project holds the record for the biggest concrete lined
Power channel in the world which conveys a design flow of 1600 cumecs (56,500
cusecs) of water from the barrage to the power complex. The channel is 52 km long with
a bed slope of 1 in 9600, a water depth of 9 m, a base width of 58.4 m and a velocity of
2.33 m/sec. The Power Complex is located near the confluence of the Indus and Haro
rivers. It comprises a fore bay , a siphon, spillway , two head ponds, a power in take
structure , penstocks, a power house with five 290 MW each turbo generators and a tail
race channel.

Misriot Dam
Misriot dam is located 12 km south-west of Rawalpindi. This small dam has an artificial
lake with boating and fishing facilities. Fishing permit may be obtained from fishing guard
at Misriot. It has a pleasant landscape and walkways beyond the lake among eruptions
of black rocks.

Tanaza Dam
It is a small dam located at about 35 Km south-west of Rawalpindi on Dhamial Road.
Ideal for a day trip, the lake has a quiet atmosphere.

1.3 WAPDA training centers

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) of Pakistan has numerous
training centers in the country providing quality training to national and international
Power sector employees. Some of the training centers are as follows:

 WAPDA Staff College, Islamabad.

 WAPDA Engineering Academy (Water & Power), Faisalabad
 Thermal Generation Training Center, Guddu
 Hydel Training Center, Mangla
 Technical Services Group, Lahore
 8 Regional Training Centers (RTCs), one at each DISCO

Courtesy: WAPDA website,,, and many other websites.