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July 10, 2018

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Construction works on Diamer Basha, Mohmand dams to start this year

ISLAMABAD: Construction works on Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams with a combined electricity generation capacity of almost 5,500 megawatts and that can store more than nine million acres feet will begin this year, a senior official said on Monday.

Muzammil Hussain, chairman of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) said construction works on Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams will be started during the current fiscal year of 2018/19.

Diamer Basha dam project has a gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of 4,500 megawatts. Likewise, Mohmand dam hydropower project will store 1.2 MAF water and generate 800MW electricity.

Diamer Basha dam, which will be the largest water reservoir in the country, was envisaged more than a decade ago and its ground-breaking was performed in 2006. Share of hydro power in energy mix has been consistently declining for the last couple of years as no new large dam was constructed after Tarbela dam.

Hydropower adds a little over 100 megawatts to grid compared with the country’s electricity generation capacity that exceeded 29,000MW. Wapda’s chief Hussain was briefing caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retired) Nasir-ul-Mulk about the issues of water and hydropower sectors in the country.

Recently, government of Pakistan decided to establish ‘Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund – 2018’ for the purpose of raising finances for construction of the dams in the country. “The fund shall receive donations / contributions, both from domestic and international donors, for which purpose an account with the name of Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund – 2018 has been established at all the field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (bank), all branches of National Bank of Pakistan and all scheduled commercial banks and microfinance banks,” the central bank said in a statement last week.

“Donations and contribution to the funds can be made in the form of cash, cheque, prize bonds and other cash equivalents hereto.” Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar deposited one million as the maiden contribution to the Fund. The Wapda’s meeting was told that the 1,410 MW- Tarbela 5th extension, the 2,160MW-stage II of Dasu, the 7,100MW-Bunji and the stage-II of multipurpose Kurram Tangi dam are among the ready-for-construction projects.

Wapda chairman said the authority completed four mega projects from August 2017 onwards to irrigate 72,000 acres of virgin land in Dera Bugti, Balochistan and add 2,487MW of hydroelectricity to the grid. The projects included phase 1 of Kachhi canal, Golen Gol, Tarbela 4th extension and Neelum Jhelum hydropower project.

Stage 1 of Kurram Tangi dam project will be completed in 2020, while the 2,160MW – stage 1 of Dasu hydropower project – is scheduled to start electricity generation by 2023. The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction over the measures taken by Wapda for implementation of its projects in water and hydropower sectors. “Concerted efforts are needed to overcome the impending water crisis,” an official statement quoted him as saying.

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