Tarbela Dam is 485 feet high above the riverbed and forms Tarbela Reservoir with a surface area of about 250 km2. The dam was built for water supply but power generating capacity was added in three “extensions” that were completed in 1992. The 700-MW Tarbela 1 (commissioned in 1977) features four units, 1,050-MW Tarbela 2 six units (four commissioned in 1982 and two in 1985) and 1,728-MW Tarbela 3 four units (commissioned in 1992 and 1993). More than 70% of the water released from Tarbela Dam passes over the two spillways and is not used for power generation. Thus, construction began in 2014 on the 1,410-MW Tarbela 4 extension and a 1,410-MW Tarbela 5 extension is planned but construction has not yet begun.

Owner: Water and Power Development Authority
Location: Haripur and Swabi districts, Pakistan
River System: Indus River
Capacity: 3,478 MW
Generating Units: 14
Dam Type: Earth and rockfill, plus two auxiliary dams with spillways
Construction Start Date: 1968
Operational Date: First unit April 1977, 14th unit May 1992
Project Status: Three powerhouses completed, one under construction, one more planned for future

Companies Under Contract:
– Supplied Generators 5-8
 DBS – Supplied Turbines 9 and 10
DBS/SEW – Supplied Turbines 11-14
– Supplied Turbines 5-8
Hitachi – Supplied turbines and generators for Tarbela 1 and Generators 9 and 10 for Tarbela 2
Jeumont Schneider – Supplied transformers for Tarbela 1
Salini Impregilo – Dam construction contractor
Siemens – Supplied Generators 11-14
Sinohydro – Tarbela 4 contractor
Voith Hydro – Tarbela 4 electromechanical equipment supplier

Tarbela Hydropower News

WAPDA says 2019 was “historic year” for Pakistan’s hydropower sector

The Pakistan Water & Power Development Authority says 2019 was a historic year for development of water and hydropower resources in Pakistan: Record generation of hydroelectricity...

Mott MacDonald named lead consultant for 1,410-MW Tarbela 5th Extension hydropower project

Mott MacDonald has been appointed lead consultant for the 1,410-MW Tarbela 5th Extension hydropower project in Pakistan. The project, being delivered by the Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan, will increase the Tarbela Power Plant’s total generating capacity from 4,888 MW to 6,300 MW.

WAPDA announces 1,410-MW Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project completed

The Water and Power Development Authority in Pakistan says the third and last unit at its 1,410-MW Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project has been synchronized with the National Grid.

WAPDA commissions first generating unit at Tarbela 4 extension

The first of three 470 MW turbine-generator units has been commissioned at Pakistan's Tarbela 4 extension, strengthening the Water and Power Development Authority's efforts to provide more energy security to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.

Perspectives: Safe and Sound

The safety of dams is a significant issue globally and one that defies geographic boundaries. After all, the tragic results of a dam failure are essentially the same no matter where in the world that dam is located, such as environmental damage and potential loss of life.