Pakistan’s 1,300-MW Tarbela 5th Extension hydropower project receives next-to-last approval

Pakistan’s 1,300-MW Tarbela Dam 5th Extension hydropower project received consent from the government’s Central Development Working Party earlier this week, leaving approval by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council as its final hurdle.

The 5th Extension — an addition to the 3,480-MW Tarbela plant — is being developed by the Water and Power Development Authority. WAPDA extended its deadline for expressions of interest for project preparation and design of the 5th Extension in August.

The 5th Extension would use an existing irrigation tunnel extending from the original plant. Its predecessor, the 1,410-MW 4th Extension, also uses an irrigation tunnel and is currently under construction. WAPDA chair Zafar Mahmood urged completion of the 4th Extension by 2017 during a briefing session earlier this year. reported in February that WAPDA had awarded a contract to Voith Hydro of Germany and Voith Hydro of Shanghai to supply electro-mechanical works for the 4th Extension.

Tarbela Dam, completed in 1974, was designed to store water from the Indus River for irrigation, flood control and the generation of hydroelectric power. 

The 148 meter high, 3,000 meter long dam has two gated spillways and five tunnels that provide irrigation releases and power generation. At the time of construction the dam tunnels 1, 2 and 3 were scheduled for power generation and tunnels 4 and 5 were designed exclusively for irrigation release.

WAPDA is also in the process of repairing and upgrading the original plant.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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