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Karachi

August 16, 2018

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Wapda to generate power from Hub Dam

As little or almost no rain is expected during the current monsoon season in the catchement area of the Hub Dam, which is spread over thousands of square kilometers in Sindh and Balochistan, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has decided to launch de-silting of the reservoir to restore its lost capacity to store 49,000 acres feet of water, officials said on Wednesday.

Sindh and Balochistan, especially southern parts of both the provinces, have been facing a drought-like situation for the last many years due to extremely low rainfall in the monsoon as well as in the winter season.

Resultantly, most of the reservoirs, including the Hub Dam, in both these provinces have never attained their maximum levels during the last 10-11 years, weather department officials said and warned that there were little chances of rain in Karachi and surrounding areas in the current season.

The Hub Dam, which was designed to provide 102 million gallons of water per day to Karachi and 59 mgd of water to the Lasbela district of Balochistan, is currently providing only 51 mgd of water to Karachi and 33 million gallons of water to Balochistan as the reservoir has never attained the maximum level since 2007.

“Rains are getting lesser and lesser in the catchment area of the Hub Dam, which is spread over thousands of square miles in Sindh and Balochisan and unfortunately the dam has never received water to fill it to the capacity since 2007,” an official of Wapda said and added that there was no positive forecast for heavy rains in Sindh and Balochistan in the current season.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) says Sindh and Balochistan had received far less rain during the month of July and the first 15 days of August and warned that both the provinces were unlikely to get any significant rains in the next 45 days of the remaining monsoon season.

According PMD data, Sindh has received only 8.8 millimeters of rain from July 1, 2018 to August 15, which is 91 per cent less than normal, while Balochistan received only 19.6 mm of rain, which is 57 per cent less than normal monsoon rains, in the current season.

“Karachi has so far received only four millimeters of rain during the current monsoon season and if there is no rain in the next 15 days, there are little chances of any rain in the month of September in Karachi,” Director Met Karachi Abdur Rashid told The News on Wednesday.

The same is the situation in the Lasbela and Khuzdar districts of Balochistan where very little or almost no rain has been recorded in the current monsoon season, which has further worsened the drought situation. Meteorologists warned that there were little chances of rain in southern Balochistan in the current monsoon season.

Terming it an outcome of climate change, Wapda officials said that keeping in view the water scarcity due to less rainfall, they had decided to increase the storage capacity of the existing reservoirs, including the Hub Dam, which was designed to provide 161 million gallons of water per day to Karachi and Lasbela, but at the moment it was providing only 84 mgd of water to both the areas.

Dam’s de-silting approved

Wapda has decided to enhance the storage capacity of the Hub Dam in order to meet the increasing requirement of water in Sindh and Balochistan, a spokesman for Wapda said on Wednesday.

A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting presided over by Wapda Chairman Lt-Gen (retd) Muzammil Hussain and attended by the members of the authority, the spokesman said.

Initially, under a pilot project, 10,000 acre feet capacity of the dam would be enhanced and if the plan proved successful more de-silting would be performed to enhance the storage capacity by 49,000 acre feet, an official said.

Wapda officials said they would regain the dam’s lost storage capacity of about 49,000 acre feet by removing the sediment deposits in the reservoir. The present storage capacity of the reservoir will be increased by excavating the deposited material lying between the Dead Storage Level (276 feet) and Normal Conservation Level (339 feet) along the reservoir periphery.

The Hub Dam Project was constructed in 1981 across the River Hub, some 56 kilometres northeast of Karachi. The project was designed to supply 102 million gallons per day (MGD) to Sindh and 59 MGD to Balochistan. At the time of its completion, live water storage capacity of the dam was 760,000 acres feet, which has come down to 646,000 acres feet.

Plans to generate hydropower

Wapda officials said that the Hub Dam Project also had the potential to generate hydel electricity and as per a concept paper prepared by Wapda Hydropower Planning, saying that 1.4 MW of electricity could be generated from the dam by installing two generating units of 0.7 MW each, with annual generation of 5.85 million units of electricity.

The electricity generated through the dam can be provided to the institutions and households located in vicinity of the project.

Therefore, Wapda has also decided to implement the hydropower project at the Hub Dam. The offices concerned have been directed to prepare a feasibility study and a detailed engineering design, and tender documents for the purpose.

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