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February 16, 2020

Mohmand dam expected to be operational in five years


February 16, 2020

MOHMAND: Construction of Mohmand dam with 800 megawatts of power generation capacity is expected to be completed in next five years with locals brimming with hopes that it would open up a floodgate of benefits, including irrigation to a large swath of lands, power supply and job creation.

Muzammil Hussain, chairman of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) said the project is scheduled to be completed in five years and eight months. The dam will irrigate 16,700 acres of new agriculture land in addition to supplement 160,000 acres of lands on supply line.

Located over River Swat in tribal district Mohmand of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the dam project was seen moving ahead with a good pace. It is some 50 kilometers from the provincial capital.

“Construction work on multipurpose Mohmand dam hydropower project is being carried out day and night,” Hussain said during a visit to the site.

“We are confident to complete the project during high flow season in 2025 as per the timelines,” he said. Work is underway currently on access roads, offices and colony, diversion tunnels, irrigation tunnel and re-regulation pond.

Wapda chairman said the project would contribute 2.86 billion units of low-cost hydropower annually to the grid.

Hussain said the dam is the 5th highest concrete-face-rock-fill dam in the world.

The authority already acquired priority land with unprecedented support of the locals, district administration of tribal district Mohmand and the provincial government with concerted efforts by Wapda land acquisition and resettlement officers.

Wapda chairman said Rs4.53 billion would be spent on confidence-building measures in the project area for socioeconomic development of the locals. “The Mohmand dam hydropower project is historic and unique in nature as (it is) being constructed after the delay of over five decades.”

Hussain said devastating floods may become a lesser concern at least up to Nowshera valley after construction of the dam as flows of Kabul River would finally be tamed to a certain level.

The phenomenon of backflow in Swat river, a major tributary of trans-boundary Kabul river, has been adversely affecting populated valleys of Charsadda, Peshawar and Nowshera over years. It becomes a real challenge in summer high flows, posing high risk to living in the surrounding areas.

“The dam would mitigate flood risks to the most vulnerable area in the plains of province,” Hussain said.

Wapda chief was also upbeat about smooth construction of future water sector projects downstream following easing of flood threat as menace of ravaging floods may become a thingof the past after the dam construction. Locals are seeing the dam as a blessing.

The building of Mohmand dam will provide jobs to thousands of local people and help irrigate water to large swath of fertile land,” local elder Iqrar Khan, wearing black local turban belonging to Pondiali Tehsil, said. “It will change the whole landscape of rugged mountains while bringing life to area.” Malik Moladin, another elder residing other side of Swat River, hoped that the dam would bring real change in the lives of people living in remote area of the country. “Abundant availability of water for drinking and irrigation purposes will be a blessing for people of the area,” Moladin said. “It will be like a dream come true. Moreover, we will see supply of electricity not only for the surrounding areas but for the province and the entire country.”

Project Director Javed Afridi said the multipurpose Mohmand dam will provide 300 million gallons water per day to Peshawar city for drinking purpose.

“The smooth supply of water will be one of the greatest contributions of the dam in terms of quenching thrust in the thickly populated city of Peshawar,” he said.