Asia and Oceania, Dam Design and Construction, New Development

Hydro activity in Pakistan: Looking back at 2018 and forward into 2019

The Pakistan Water & Power Development Authority is “set to kick start” the 800-MW Mohmand Dam hydropower project as early as the second week of January, and the authority reports bringing three new hydro projects online in 2018.

Just a few days ago, a formal agreement was signed between tribal elders and WAPDA to acquire the land to construct the Mohmand Dam project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A total of 8,675 acres of land is to be acquired for construction of the required infrastructure, which includes a 56-km-long reservoir, irrigation network and re-regulation pond area.

WAPDA used bridge financing through its own resources, transferring PKR684 million (US$4.9 million) to local administration to purchase the land.

The Mohmand Dam project is being constructed on the Swat River in the Tribal District Mohmand and has been in the works for more than five decades. WAPDA says the project is scheduled to be completed in five years and eight months. On completion, it will store about 1.2 million acre-feet of water and provide generating capacity of 800 MW of low-cost hydroelectricity. WAPDA says the project “will significantly contribute towards development of agriculture, industrial, economic and social sectors in the country besides alleviating poverty and providing job opportunities to the locals in the project area.” WAPDA estimates annual project benefits of PKR51.6 billion (US$369 million).

The authority also posted a year-end report of its work to “regain glory of its past” that pointed to the successful completion and commissioning of three “long-delayed mega hydropower projects” with cumulative generating capacity of 2,487 MW.

WAPDA said commissioning of the 108-MW Golen Gol 2, 1,410-MW Tarbela 4th Extension and 969-MW Neelum Jhelum hydropower projects in 2018 boosted its hydroelectric generating capacity of 9,389 MW, an increase of 36% in just one year.

The authority reports contributing 25.63 billion units of hydroelectricity to the national grid during the year, “despite the fact that water flows in 2018 remained historically low.” This contribution “greatly helped the country in meeting electricity needs and lowering the electricity tariff for the consumers.”

WAPDA says construction work on the Diamer Basha Dam project is also likely to start in mid-2019.