IN yet another historic development, the raised Mangla Dam on Sunday became the biggest water reservoir in Pakistan, as water storage in its lake increased to 6.65 million acre feet (MAF) this morning, surpassing 6.58 MAF water level, which is the maximum live storage capacity of Tarbela Dam that used to be the biggest water reservoir till August 24, 2013.
Consequent upon the successful completion of the Mangla Dam Raising Project, it has become the largest water storage facility in the country. With increase in dam’s height by 30 feet, now water can be stored in the reservoir upto 1242 feet against the previous conservation level of 1202 feet above sea level. Resultantly, the live storage capacity of the raised Mangla Dam has increased to 7.39 MAF from 4.51 MAF. Given the current weather forecast, the prospects for filling of Mangla reservoir to its maximum conservation level are bright. If the raised Mangla Dam is filled to its maximum conservation level i.e. 1242 feet, 2.88 MAF of additional water will be available for the agriculture and generation of low-cost hydel electricity in the country. It is pertinent to mention that water in the Mangla Lake today has crossed 1232.5 feet level, meaning thereby 2.14 MAF additional water is available in the reservoir as of today. In addition to managing the current floods, benefits worth billions of rupees in agriculture and power sector will also be accrued through utilisation of this additional water. Filling of additional water in the raised Mangla Dam this year reflects the Federal Government’s resolve to conservation and optimal utilisation of precious yet scarce water resource for agro-based economy of the country. Last month, it was mutually decided by all the stakeholders to fill the raised Mangla Dam this year upto its maximum level, as the Federal Government had promised to pay off the financial liabilities of the project affectees for the purpose. The additional water that has so far been stored in the Mangla Lake is a result of the concerted efforts of the Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Water & Power, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan, Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Government of the Punjab and WAPDA.