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Hydro potential of Pakistan... By Yaqoob

20 February, 2013

WAPDA has prepared a report titled 'Hydro Potential in Pakistan' in November, 2011 which is quite illuminating about the potential and its utilization so far. It has been reported that out of 73 million acres cultivable land 56 million acres is irrigated while 20 million acres of rain fed area can be irrigated if the full potential is exploited. Pakistan had a storage capacity of 15.74 million acre feet in 1976 which has been reduced to 12.10 MAF in 2010 due to excessive sediment inflows. The three storages (Tarbela, Mangala, Chashma) are expected to lose 6.27 MAF of their capacity by 2025 i.e. equal to one mega storage dam. As such only Diamer Bhasha dam appears to be the only hope in the distant future as Kalabagh dam is no longer in the picture being buried for the moment as per declaration of PPP Govt.

As far as power generation is concerned the total potential of Indus River is 38608 MW and of its tributaries 5726 MW totaling 44334 MW while the power generation is at present hardly 13 percent of total potential. The power generation cost of hydel power including Mangla dam is Rs. 1.06 per unit as compared to Rs. 9.07 per unit of thermal power by IPP's and Rs. 14.74 of thermal power produced by Rental Power which shows the enormous difference between hydel power and that of RPP's that has emerged as the major scandal of our times. Whereas there is a long list of small dams storing hardly I MAF of water which is negligible. There are some future projects like Bunji dam with generation of 7100 MW and Akhori dam with 6 MAF of storage and 600 MW of power generation alogn with Tarbela and Mangla rising to compensate for the loss of storage and power generation.

The fate of Bunji dam rests with the NOC from India being located in a so-called disputed area and of Akhori dam with the linkage with Kalabagh dam which would not mature in the near future. It appears there is no tangible and concrete project in the pipeline although many glimmers and gleams in the eye like Bhasha dam exist, only God knows when these would be completed.

DR. MUHAMMAD YAQOOB BHATTI
Lahore

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