Pakistan is an agricultural country with a growing population that is heavily dependent on water resources for survival. The country is fortunate to have a number of dams and reservoirs that provide water for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and other purposes. Dams in Pakistan also help in flood control, mitigating the effects of natural disasters like floods and droughts.
Some of the major dams in Pakistan include Tarbela Dam, Mangla Dam, and Hub Dam, which have significantly contributed to the country’s energy and water needs. These dams not only provide electricity but also play a critical role in agriculture, helping to irrigate crops and provide water for drinking and sanitation purposes.
However, the construction of dams in Pakistan is not without its challenges. Environmental concerns, displacement of communities, and financing are some of the issues that need to be addressed before and during the construction of a dam.
In this blog post, we will explore the state of dams in Pakistan, highlighting some of the key dams, their contributions to the country’s development, and the challenges faced in the construction and operation of dams. We will also discuss the potential of dams in Pakistan, the opportunities for future development, and the need for sustainable and responsible practices in dam construction and management.
List of Famous Dams in Pakistan
- Rawal Dam
- Tarbela Dam
- Neelum-Jhelum Dam
- Mangla Dam
- Mirani Dam
- Diamer Bhasha Dam
- Khanpur Dam
- Sabakzai Dam
- Hub Dam
- Satpara Dam
- Darawat Dam
- Gulpur Dam
- Namal Dam
- Warsak Dam
- Gomal Zam Dam
Rawal Dam is a multipurpose dam located on the Korang River near Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. The dam was built in 1962 and is considered one of the main sources of water for the city of Islamabad. The dam has a storage capacity of approximately 47,500 acre-feet of water and serves as a recreational spot for the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The construction of the Rawal Dam was started in 1960 and was completed in 1962. The dam is 2,800 feet long and 135 feet high, and its reservoir covers an area of approximately 8.8 square kilometers and provides water to the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, which have a combined population of over 4 million people. The dam also generates hydroelectricity, with a capacity of 1.6 megawatts.
Rawal Dam is a popular spot for picnics, hiking, and fishing. The dam has a well-maintained park where families can enjoy a day out. Boating facilities are also available for visitors. In recent years, Rawal Dam has become a popular spot for adventure sports, such as zip-lining and rock climbing. Overall, Rawal Dam is an important source of water and power for the region and a popular recreational spot for residents and tourists alike.
Tarbela Dam is located on the Indus River, about 50 km northwest of Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. It is the largest earth-filled dam in the world and also the largest dam in Pakistan in terms of reservoir capacity. The dam was completed in 1976 after 11 years of construction and has since been a major source of hydroelectricity in the country.
The Tarbela Dam has a height of 485 feet and a length of about 9,000 feet. Its reservoir has a capacity of 11.6 billion cubic meters and a surface area of approximately 250 square miles. The dam has 14 gates and its spillway can handle up to 18 million cusecs of water, making it the largest spillway in the world.
Tarbela Dam has a power generation capacity of 3,478 MW, making it the largest power station in Pakistan. It has 14 power units, each with a capacity of 240 MW. The dam provides electricity to millions of people and industries in the country.
Due to its immense size and significance, Tarbela Dam has become a major tourist attraction in Pakistan. Visitors can take guided tours of the dam and its surrounding areas, including Tarbela Lake, which has become a popular spot for boating and fishing. The dam also serves as a gateway to the beautiful Swat Valley, which is located a short distance to the north.
Neelum-Jhelum Dam is a hydroelectric dam located on the Jhelum River in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. It is a part of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project and was completed in 2018. The dam has a height of 60 meters and a storage capacity of 8.1 million cubic meters.
The main purpose of the Neelum-Jhelum Hydroelectric Project is to generate electricity, with an installed capacity of 969 MW. The dam diverts water from the Jhelum River through a 52-kilometer-long tunnel to the power station located in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The project also includes a 44-kilometer-long transmission line that connects the power station to the national grid.
The construction of the Neelum-Jhelum Dam faced many challenges, including political and social issues, as well as environmental concerns. However, the project was completed after a long delay and is now providing electricity to the national grid. The dam and its associated hydroelectric project have greatly contributed to the development of the region and the country as a whole.
Mangla Dam is a large multi-purpose dam located on the Jhelum River in the Mirpur District of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. It is the fifth-largest dam in the world by structural volume and the largest dam in Pakistan. The construction of the dam started in 1961 and was completed in 1967. It was built with the assistance of the World Bank and was designed to provide hydroelectricity, irrigation, and flood control.
The dam has a height of 147 meters and a length of 3,140 meters, with a reservoir capacity of 7.4 billion cubic meters. It has three main spillways and two powerhouses, with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The dam supplies electricity to a large part of Pakistan’s power grid and irrigates over 1.2 million hectares of land in the Punjab and Sindh provinces.
The Mangla Dam and the surrounding area have become popular tourist destinations in recent years. The dam offers boating, fishing, and other water sports activities, while the surrounding area offers scenic views and hiking opportunities. The Mangla Dam and the nearby Mangla Fort have also become popular historical and cultural landmarks, attracting tourists from all over Pakistan and abroad.
Mirani Dam is a multipurpose dam located in the coastal town of Pasni, Balochistan, Pakistan. The dam was built on the Dasht River and was completed in 2006 with a cost of around 17 billion PKR. The purpose of the dam is to provide water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial purposes.
Mirani Dam has a total capacity of 300,000 acre-feet and can irrigate around 18,000 hectares of land in the Pasni and Turbat districts of Balochistan. It also provides drinking water to the nearby areas and has helped to control flooding in the downstream areas during heavy rains. The dam has a height of 147 feet and a length of 7,900 feet. It has a spillway to release excess water in case of heavy rains.
The construction of the Mirani Dam was a significant achievement for Balochistan as it has helped to increase agricultural productivity, reduce water scarcity, and improve the socio-economic conditions of the people living in the region. The dam has also become a popular tourist attraction due to its scenic location and the availability of water sports activities such as boating and fishing.
Diamer Bhasha Dam
Diamer Bhasha Dam is a multipurpose concrete-filled gravity dam that is being constructed on the River Indus in northern Pakistan, located in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan and the Bhasha district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The dam has been designed to have a height of 272 meters, making it one of the tallest dams in the world, with a storage capacity of approximately 8.1 million acre-feet of water.
The construction of the dam started in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2028. The project aims to provide a range of benefits, including hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and irrigation water supply. It is expected to generate approximately 4,500 megawatts of electricity, which will help to meet the growing energy demands of the country.
In addition to power generation, the dam is also expected to provide significant benefits for agriculture by providing water for irrigation purposes. The project includes the construction of a 52.5-kilometer-long irrigation tunnel that will divert water from the dam to the farmlands in the surrounding areas.
The Diamer Bhasha Dam project is a major undertaking and has faced various challenges, including funding issues and concerns about the potential impact on the local communities and the environment. However, the government of Pakistan remains committed to the project, and it is expected to play a crucial role in meeting the country’s energy and water needs in the coming years.
Khanpur Dam is located on the Haro River, approximately 40 km northwest of Islamabad in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It was built in 1983 with the primary purpose of providing water for irrigation, as well as for drinking and industrial purposes.
The dam has a height of 51 meters and a reservoir capacity of 110,000 acre-feet, which can hold up to 82 million cubic meters of water. The catchment area of the dam is approximately 457 square kilometers, and it has a spillway that can discharge up to 4,960 cubic meters per second.
Khanpur Dam is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful surroundings and recreational opportunities. The dam provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming, and the surrounding hills are popular for hiking and rock climbing. Additionally, there are several resorts and hotels near the dam that cater to tourists, making it a popular weekend getaway spot for people living in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Sabakzai Dam is a small but important dam located in the province of Balochistan, Pakistan. It is situated near the town of Mastung, which is approximately 50 kilometers south of Quetta, the provincial capital.
The dam was constructed in 2004 with the aim of providing irrigation water to the surrounding areas and controlling floods in the region. The dam has a storage capacity of 9.6 million cubic meters and can irrigate up to 8,000 acres of land.
Sabakzai Dam is also used for fish farming, and the surrounding areas have become popular spots for picnics and other recreational activities. The dam has helped improve the agricultural output of the region and has also played a role in mitigating the impact of floods in the area.
While Sabakzai Dam is not as large or well-known as some of the other dams in Pakistan, it has still had a significant impact on the local community and the region as a whole.
Hub Dam is a multipurpose dam located on the Hub River, about 56 km southwest of Karachi, in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. It was built in 1981 and has a capacity of 857,000 acre-feet of water. The primary purpose of the dam is to provide drinking water to the city of Karachi and to irrigate the surrounding agricultural lands.
The dam is 105 feet high and 6,115 feet long and has a spillway and a gated structure to control the flow of water. The reservoir created by the dam is about 25 miles long and 100 feet deep at its maximum depth.
Hub Dam has played a vital role in meeting the water requirements of Karachi, which is the largest city in Pakistan with a population of over 20 million. The water from the dam is supplied to the city through a canal system, which also provides irrigation water to the agricultural lands along the way. The dam has also become a popular picnic spot and recreational area for the people of Karachi, with facilities such as boating, fishing, and camping available to visitors.
Satpara Dam is a gravity dam located on the Satpara Stream, a tributary of the Indus River, in the Skardu district of the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan. The dam was completed in 2003 and has a height of 47 meters and a length of 185 meters. Its reservoir has a storage capacity of 0.05 cubic kilometers and is primarily used for irrigation and water supply purposes.
Satpara Dam is an important source of water for Skardu, a city with a population of around 30,000 people, and the surrounding agricultural lands. It is also a popular tourist spot, attracting many visitors who come to enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding mountains and lake formed by the dam.
In addition to providing water for irrigation and domestic use, Satpara Dam also has the potential to generate hydroelectric power. However, due to limited funding and technical constraints, the power station at the dam is currently not operational. Nonetheless, plans are underway to expand the power generation capacity of the dam in the future.
Darawat Dam is a multipurpose dam located on the Baran River in Sindh province, Pakistan. The dam is situated near the town of Sann, approximately 35 km from the city of Jamshoro.
The construction of the dam began in 2010 and was completed in 2015. The primary purpose of the dam is to provide irrigation water to the agricultural lands in the surrounding areas and to control flooding. The reservoir created by the dam has a total storage capacity of 1.36 million acre-feet (MAF) of water.
The dam has a height of 60 meters and a length of 1,350 meters. The spillway of the dam is designed to discharge a maximum of 45,000 cubic meters of water per second. The powerhouse of the dam has a capacity of producing 15 MW of electricity.
Darawat Dam is a significant project for the region, as it provides irrigation water to the surrounding agricultural lands, which helps to improve the livelihoods of the local communities. The dam also helps to mitigate the risk of flooding in the surrounding areas.
Gulpur Dam is a hydroelectric and irrigation dam located on the Poonch River in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. The dam has a height of 141 feet and a length of 1,800 feet, with a storage capacity of 1.43 million acre-feet of water.
The dam was constructed with the aim of providing irrigation water to agricultural lands in the Poonch district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, as well as generating hydroelectric power. The power station has an installed capacity of 102 MW and generates about 455 GWh of electricity annually.
The dam is operated by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and was completed in 2019, at a cost of around 52.5 billion Pakistani rupees. The construction of the dam faced some delays due to funding and land acquisition issues, but it is now fully operational and providing water and electricity to the region.
The construction of the Gulpur Dam has brought many benefits to the area, including increased agricultural production and the creation of job opportunities. It has also helped to alleviate the electricity shortage in the region and reduce dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation.
Namal Dam is a multipurpose dam located in the Mianwali district of Punjab province in Pakistan. It was constructed on the Namal River to provide irrigation water, drinking water, and hydropower to the surrounding areas. The construction of the dam began in 2006 and was completed in 2018 at a cost of around 18 billion Pakistani Rupees.
The dam has a height of 54 meters and a length of 355 meters, with a total storage capacity of 1.2 million acre-feet (MAF) of water. The powerhouse of the dam has a capacity of generating 17.4 megawatts of electricity.
Namal Dam has brought a significant change in the socio-economic condition of the area by increasing agricultural productivity and providing job opportunities. It has also contributed to the development of tourism in the region due to its scenic beauty and recreational activities such as boating and fishing. The dam is expected to play a vital role in meeting the increasing water and energy demands of the country.
Warsak Dam is a large dam located on the Kabul River near the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It was completed in 1960 and serves several purposes, including hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, and flood control.
The dam has a height of 220 feet and a length of 1,500 feet, with a reservoir capacity of over 240,000 acre-feet. The hydroelectric power station at the dam has a capacity of 243 MW, generating electricity for the surrounding areas.
The primary purpose of the dam is to store water for irrigation, providing water to over 16,000 farms in the Peshawar valley. In addition, it also helps in controlling floods in the region, protecting nearby cities and villages from the devastating effects of flooding.
The dam and its surrounding area have become popular tourist attractions, with facilities for boating, fishing, and picnicking. The Warsak Dam is an important source of power and irrigation for the region, providing much-needed resources for agriculture and industry.
Gomal Zam Dam
Gomal Zam Dam is a multi-purpose concrete arch dam located on the Gomal River in South Waziristan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The dam was completed in 2013 and has a height of 141 meters and a reservoir capacity of 1.14 billion cubic meters. The main purpose of the dam is to provide irrigation water to the surrounding areas and to generate hydroelectric power.
The dam is designed to provide irrigation water to approximately 191,000 hectares of agricultural land in the South Waziristan and Tank districts. The power station at the dam has a capacity of 17.4 megawatts and generates approximately 84 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
The construction of the Gomal Zam Dam was a joint venture between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it is seen as a symbol of cooperation between the two countries. The dam has also helped to improve the socio-economic conditions of the local communities by creating job opportunities and promoting agriculture in the region.
Frequently Asked Questions on Dams in Pakistan
What is a dam?
A dam is a large barrier or structure that is built across a river or other waterway to hold back and control the flow of water, in order to provide irrigation, hydroelectric power, flood control, and other benefits.
Why are dams important in Pakistan?
Dams are important in Pakistan because they help in the management and conservation of water resources, which are crucial for agriculture, industry, and domestic use. Dams also help in the generation of hydroelectric power and provide flood control measures, which are essential for the safety and well-being of the population.
How many dams are there in Pakistan?
There are over 150 dams in Pakistan, ranging from small to large-scale structures. Some of the notable dams in Pakistan include Tarbela Dam, Mangla Dam, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, and Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project.
What is the largest dam in Pakistan?
The Tarbela Dam, located on the Indus River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, is the largest dam in Pakistan in terms of reservoir capacity, with a storage capacity of 11.62 million acre-feet.
How do dams impact the environment?
Dams can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. On one hand, dams can provide benefits such as increased water storage, power generation, and flood control. On the other hand, dams can cause negative impacts such as displacement of local communities, loss of biodiversity, and alteration of river ecosystems.
What is the current status of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project?
The Diamer-Bhasha Dam, located in the Gilgit-Baltistan province, is a large-scale dam project that has been under construction for several years. The project is expected to have a storage capacity of 8.1 million acre-feet and generate 4,500 MW of electricity. As of 2021, the project is still under construction and is expected to be completed in the coming years.
How is the safety of dams ensured in Pakistan?
The safety of dams in Pakistan is ensured through regular monitoring and maintenance by the relevant authorities, such as the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). The safety of dams is crucial to prevent any potential disasters and ensure the well-being of the local population.