In a landmark development, water in Mangla Dam, whose height has been increased by 30 feet, has reached a historic high at 1,213 feet above mean sea level for the first time.
With this record level, water storage in Mangla reservoir has increased to 5.21 million acre feet (MAF), the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) says in a press release on Tuesday.
“Filling of additional water in the raised Mangla Dam reflects the federal government’s commitment to conservation and optimum utilisation of the precious yet scarce water resource for agro-based economy of the country,” it says.
Previously, Mangla Dam reached the maximum level of 1,210 feet two years ago in 2011.
Following the increase in its height, Mangla Dam has become the largest water reservoir in the country with a storage capacity of 7.392 MAF, leaving behind Tarbela Dam, which can store 6.581 MAF.
Last month, the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Wapda decided to fill Mangla Dam this year up to its maximum level of 1,242 feet.
Filling of the reservoir up to maximum capacity will help increase water storage by 2.88 MAF and increase power generation by about 110 megawatts from the existing Mangla Power House. Additional benefits of the project have been estimated at Rs18 billion per annum.
The federal government has also promised to pay off financial liabilities to the people affected and displaced by the project. The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, the AJK government and Wapda have prepared a safe evacuation plan for the displaced, which is being implemented.
The government has spent Rs70 billion to compensate and resettle the displaced people. Resettlement work includes construction of the New Mirpur City, four satellite towns with all civic amenities, Mirpur Bypass, Dhan Gali Bridge across Jhelum River and New Bong Canal Bridge.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.