GILGIT: Efforts to drain water from Attabad’s accidental lake proved unsuccessful as water released on Wednesday made no impact on the spillway or the lake’s overall level.
“The spillway has been opened and water is being flushed out but not in quantities sufficient to drain the lake,” Deputy Commissioner Hunza-Nagar Zafar Taj told The Express Tribune.
Engineers of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) had blocked the spillway in January in an attempt to widen it. It was expected that after the channel was widened, the lake would be drained because the inflow of water in winters is minimal.
An official, requesting anonymity, said that the spillway had not only been widened but had also been deepened, without any effect. “The attempt failed to yield the desired results,” he said. The official added that controlled blasting was also undertaken to remove boulders lying in the spillway which had blocked its erosion.
However, Taj said that another attempt will be made later this year to drain the now 23-kilometre-long lake, which has displaced 25,000 people in the upper reaches of Hunza and submerged a large tract of the critical Karakoram Highway (KKH).
Before opening the spillway on Wednesday, the government had asked people not to go near the riverbanks as the possibility of a flashflood had not been ruled out.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2011.