GILGIT: Engineers repairing cracks in water reservoir of Naltar power project believe that some aquatic worms or insects might have eaten up the concrete leading to widening of cracks in the walls.
“When the water tank was drained, some worms or insects were found inside and they might have caused the damage to the reservoir,” Water and Power Executive Engineer Hamid Hussain told journalists in Naltar, about 45 kilometres from Gilgit, on Monday.
As cracks in the water reservoir of the 18-megawatt hydropower project widened earlier, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government called in two experts from Lahore to stop the leakage, leading to a complete blackout in the capital city. In addition to braving the freezing cold, Gilgit residents have endured extensive power outages, with only seven hours of electricity in the past six days.
The water reservoir, spread over 18 kanals, has at least three fissures in the walls and the bottom, resulting in seepage of water.
The experts, who started the repair work a couple of days ago, used some chemical substance to fill in the fissures but the insects ate it up, Hussain said, adding the tank had now been drained and work was in progress.
They said the chemical substance was easy to dry and power supply would be restored by Wednesday.
The Naltar power project, inaugurated in 2008 during General Pervez Musharraf’s government, is the biggest power project in G-B and supplies electricity to almost 90 per cent of Gilgit’s population.
Earlier, the cracks in the wall were noticed by some residents who informed the media that over 70 families, living downstream, were at risk of being swept away if the wall came down.
However, the authorities initially ruled out the possibility of a disaster, saying the reservoir’s walls were strong enough to sustain the water pressure. But when water leakage increased over time, the government was left with no option but to seek expert opinion.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ