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May 3, 2019

The world’s 10 largest hydro-electric dams


May 3, 2019

LAHORE: Over 200 million Pakistanis, a few of whom have already donated approximately Rs 10.406 billion towards the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund during recent months to help the country overcome the fast-worsening water scarcity, finally witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony of the concrete-faced Mohmand Dam on the Swat River Thursday, which is expected to generate 800 megawatts of power at a cost of Rs 183 billion by the year 2024.

To be precise, the Fund raising status for the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams currently stands at Rs 10 billion, 40 crore, 57 lakh, one thousand, seven hundred and seventy-three. In terms of expected power generation, the rock-filled Mohmand Dam is nowhere close to the world's largest hydro-electric dams, but in Pakistan's perspective, the formal start of its construction is a breath of fresh air for a country where only 25 per cent or 19.82 million hectares (equivalent to about 48.96 million acres) are currently under cultivation.

The total geographical area of Pakistan according to agricultural statistics of Pakistan is 79.61 million hectares or about 197 million acres. Having a capacity to store 1.2 million acre feet of water, the 213-metre Mohmand Dam is expected to bring about 17,000 acres of barren land under cultivation.

Dams are vital because they not only provide water for domestic, industry and irrigation purposes, they also provide hydroelectric power production and river navigation, their reservoirs provide recreation areas for fishing and boating, they help prevent the loss of life and property caused by flooding and offer enhanced environmental protection such as the retention of hazardous materials and detrimental sedimentation.

Hydropower is considered clean because it does not contribute to global warming, air pollution, acid rain, or ozone depletion. Hydroelectricity is one of the fore-runners of the renewable energy industry, accounting for over 16 per cent of global electricity production,with a predicted annual increase in production of 3.1 per cent.

Research shows that China is the current global leader in hydroelectric production with four dams on the Top 10 list, with total hydroelectric production accounting for 17 per cent of domestic electricity use. Here follows the list of world's 10 largest hydro-electric dams:

According to Daily Mail of UK, Chinese News Agency Xinhua, British media house BBC, the United States Bureau of Reclamation and a leading international digital media source "Energy Digital, the Three Gorges Dam of China, a marvel of modern engineering, has the world's largest instantaneous generating capacity of 22,500 MW. It is the biggest hydro dam in the world.

China had begun dreaming up this dam on the majestic Yangtze River in 1919, and in 2008, it came alive. The Itaipu Dam, built on the Parana River that flows between Brazil and Paraguay, is the second largest hydro electric facility of its kind in the world. This dam occasionally has a higher generating output than the Three Gorges Dam of China, which is perched higher on Number One spot. With 14 GW of installed capacity, it is quite impressive. It also straddles the line between Brazil and Paraguay, and had thus made initial negotiations difficult.

The Xiluodu Dam of China, built on the Jinsha River, has a generating capacity of 13,860 MW and also provides flood control for the region. It is a brand new facility, as it was only commissioned in 2013.

Venezuela's Guri Dam, constructed on the Caroni River, is the fourth largest hydro electric dam on the globe. It is 7,426 meters long and 162 meters high. Commissioned in 1978, it currently has a generating capacity of 10,235 MW.

The fifth largest dam is the Tucurui Dam on Brazil's Tocantins River. This dam was the first large-scale hydro power project in the Amazon rainforest. It was commissioned in 1984 and has a generating capacity of 8,370 MW.

The Xiangjiaba Dam of China, which has been built on the Jinsha River, is the sixth largest hydro-electric dam on the planet. This dam has a generating capacity of 6,400 MW. This dam is also very new, beginning operations in 2012.

The seventh largest hydro-electric dam on Earth is the Grand Coulee Dam, built on Columbia River in the United States. Washington State's Grand Coulee dam is a classic. It has been around since 1933 and has a generating capacity of 6,809 MW. It is currently undergoing major overhauls.

The Longtan Dam on Hongshui River in China is the eighth largest hydro-electric dam. The Longtan Dam is the tallest of its type in the world and has a generating capacity of 6,426 MW. It is also relatively new, as it was only commissioned in 2007.

And then follows the Krasnoyarsk Dam on Russia's Yenisei River. This dam originally came online in 1972 and has been operating ever since. It is located in Southern Russia and has a generating capacity of 6,000 MW.

The Tenth largest hydro-electric Dam is the Robert-Bourassa, built on the La Grande River in Canada. This plant in Quebec has a generating capacity of 5,616 MW. The dam is named after the-then Premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa, and was originally commissioned in 1981.

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