Development: Engineering design of Kalabagh dam completed

Published: January 14, 2014
According to a study, the Kalabagh Dam will have the capacity of generating 3,600MW of electricity which will save $4 billion annually for the country, excluding the 30 percent line losses. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

According to a study, the Kalabagh Dam will have the capacity of generating 3,600MW of electricity which will save $4 billion annually for the country, excluding the 30 percent line losses. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

ISLAMABAD: The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) yesterday announced that it has completed the detailed engineering design of the Kalabagh dam project, in the light of observations and concerns of the provincial government.

An official of the Ministry of Water and Power said that the efforts of the government to develop a consensus among all the provinces has not been fruitful and work could commence only after it had been reached.

“Kalabagh Dam would guarantee sufficient and cheap electricity,” said the official adding that thermal power costs Rs16 per unit, where as hydel power costs Rs2.5 to Rs3 per unit.

“The big dams are needed to overcome the issue and the country would suffer severe water crisis if they were not built,” he added.

According to a study, the Kalabagh Dam will have the capacity of generating 3,600MW of electricity which will save $4 billion annually for the country, excluding the 30 percent line losses.

Meanwhile according to a conservative estimate, about 30 million acre foot water is being wasted into the sea because of absence of big water reservoirs and the dam was causing the country a loss of Rs132 billion annually.

“The recent floods in Pakistan caused more than $45 billion loss which could have been averted if big dams were operational,” the official said.

The site of Kalabagh Dam Project is located at 210km downstream of Tarbela Dam and 26km upstream of Jinnah Barrage on the river Indus.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • usman
    Jan 14, 2014 - 2:36AM

    While I don’t have any issue with building Kalabagh Dam if Experts allay the fears of the concerned people and people are properly compensated, the question I have is what are we doing about Diamir Basha Dam and other that could be started without having the issue of provincial harmony.


  • Mirza
    Jan 14, 2014 - 2:44AM

    There is nothing possible until all federating units agree on a compromise. We don’t need a dam with further fractures Pakistani federation. The project should be approved by all provincial assemblies and senate.


  • Saad
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:02AM

    Build the damn dam…!!


  • Ahmad
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:04AM

    Please God, make Kalabgh dam happen. It is Vital for Pakistan’s future.


  • Hitler
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:14AM

    Thing is who oppose Kalabagh Dam?

    Is it public? No
    Is it environment causes? No
    Is it any international pressure? No
    Is it because of expensive energy generation? No

    Is it because of politicians? YES!

    Thing is we’ve been hijacked by politicians who exploit these matters to gain personal benefits.

    Be it Balochi, Sindhi, Pathan or Punjabi..this is for Pakistan and dam should be constructed ASAP.


  • ahmad
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:33AM

    please keep political interests aside and build kalabagh dam for the future of this country


  • Raja Islam
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:35AM

    Looks like the game of Punjab versus the rest of the provinces is going to be resurrected. Nawaz Sharif already has the label of being Punjab’s Prime Minister. By pushing for the creation of Kalabagh dam, he will reinforce this label.


  • anybodyagree
    Jan 14, 2014 - 7:58AM

    Damn with kalabagh dam….
    Do something about Basha Diameer Dam first…..


  • CHE
    Jan 14, 2014 - 9:50AM

    @Raja Islam:
    Be positive Raja sb


  • Israr
    Jan 14, 2014 - 11:32AM

    In the broader National interest, all the Dams in general and Kala Bagh Dam in particular are of utmost importance. The sooner we recognize this and act upon is the key. However people who would get affected due to displacement should be properly compensated.


  • jouy
    Jan 14, 2014 - 11:37AM

    This is against federation and will weaken federation . National consensus is required for which non-Punjabi provinces won’t agree. What will happen to Sindh ?


  • Rakesh
    Jan 14, 2014 - 1:46PM

    Meanwhile according to a conservative estimate, about 30 million acre foot water is being wasted into the sea because of absence of big water reservoirs and the dam was causing the country a loss of Rs132 billion annually.

    The usage of term ‘wasted’ has serious problems here. The Indus delta needs water. It is in a dismal condition because there is water shortage. The sea has been biting in the shorelines in southern Sindh, millions of acres of land has been wasted and guess who bears the burnt of that? Sindhis…

    I hate to be making this sound like a nationalist issue, but hey come on, there are real concerns of people in the delta that need addressing. The water distribution historically has also not been fair. Punjab has been accused of taking water when there is shortage and opening the floodgates when it is abundant. Sindh being a downstream province has all rights on the water of the Indus and if there are concerns, they must be rationally addressed, instead of being sunk in the words like ‘waste’.


  • FaiselH
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:13PM

    Its time anyone who opposes the Kala Bagh Dam be slapped with all the articles the Constitution has for Treason.
    A referendum can settle the fate of Kala Bagh Dam.


  • wisdom
    Jan 14, 2014 - 3:59PM

    People of Sindh and Baluchistan will be getting more benefit than the people of Punjab. But they have been fooled by Sardars , Malik sahib and sayeen g. Hypocrite Politicians are totally dumb and non sense.. Developing countries make Dams even India is making dams on our rivers and we are pathetic nation which can not build even a single dam after 70’s..Recommend

  • Farhan Khan
    Jan 14, 2014 - 5:20PM

    A frivolous article. Detailed engineering designs were completed long ago. If they have been revised, who has funded the revision? Who will finance such a controversial dam? Pakistan does not have the money and lenders won’t risk financing it. All these estimates of losses are unqualified. Which study had come up with these figures? Someone mentioned the plight of delta erosion. It can easily be argued that delta erosion due to tarbela damn has costed equal or more amount which we earned by making it. It all depends upon the way you price various things in calculations. If carbon is priced, Thar coal, the falling off drawing room pundits would produce most expensive electricity
    It seems that Tribune simply raised trial balloon to generate a debateRecommend

  • jim
    Jan 14, 2014 - 6:10PM

    Why can’t they build something uncontroversial. Ever one above talking about the benefits just seem to ignore that the whole population of sindh is against the mere idea of this stupid idea of dividing pakistan. Someone who commented that people are not against it should understand the hypocrisy of it and the politicians behind itRecommend

  • Nadir Shah
    Jan 14, 2014 - 6:41PM

    This dam is essential for Pakistan. Only traitors of this country like ANP are opposing this project because they don’t want to see prosper Pakistan. And as for as PPP is concerned they want to throw Pakistan in dark ages as they did it with Sindh, rural Sindh is most backward area of Pakistan just because of PPP.


  • Shakir Lakhani
    Jan 14, 2014 - 9:33PM

    Dams cause enormous environmental degradation, which is why there is global opposition to build new dams. As far as producing enough electricity to meet the power shortage, it’ll produce only 3,600 MW when completed, which will be less than ten percent of the country’s requirement at the time. Instead of spending billions on this controversial dam, why not build small dams throughout the country for water storage and invest in solar/wind energy?


  • Mirza
    Jan 14, 2014 - 10:54PM

    I have a simple idea. Why don’t we discuss this issue in the Senate and NA? What are these elected assemblies for? Instead of giving our personal dictatorial biased opinion let us discuss the issue and settle on an agreed upon solution. It is not a rocket science but common sense. When Gen Ayub could discuss this issue with India and give them three rivers out of five in Punjab, we can talk to our federating units for a change. Recommend

  • Khurram Awan
    Jan 15, 2014 - 1:28AM

    @Rakesh: Sir you misunderstood the statement. The Indus delta has one of the most abundant water resources but the point is that during some months there is some scarcity and in other months there is abundance. But for your information neither Sindh nor Punjab make use of any excess water since that water directly goes into the sea. Dams are pretty essential to store that extra water but unfortunately this has been transformed into a political issue.

    We can judge the political bias on this project by this fact that Pushtoon and Baloch nationalist parties in Balochistan are only against Kalabagh while it is going to be made in Punjab. How come Balochistan is being threatened by Kalabagh?? The issue is purely political and not technical at all.


  • Dal Chanaa
    Jan 15, 2014 - 2:57AM

    The very people in the assemblies are the root of political and ethnic strife behind this dam. It is very simple to understand that building of this dam would bring prosperous future for those farmers and poor enslaved by the tribal leaders. Building of this dam almost guarantees the elimination of tribal system.
    For those with memory loss or not enough history lessons, this issue is not contested by engineers, agriculturalists, economists, scientists or the trade tycoons but only by ethnic politicians and tribal lords.

    One of the biggest supporter of Kalabagh Dam is Former Chief Minister Dr. Shams ul Mulk. A pushtun, scientist, administrator, and someone who knows the blueprint of this mega project.


  • Bashir
    Jan 15, 2014 - 9:54AM

    The govt should form a high powered committee comprising of technocrats and experts on this subject from Pakistan and abroad but not damn polticians to decide about KB dam. Please hurry up. We are losing time fast


  • Gp65
    Jan 15, 2014 - 9:57AM

    Pakistan is unable to secure funds for Diamer Basha from ADB and World Bank since it is on disputed territory. It does not have its own funds or the capacity to pay commercial rates of interest to build Basha dam. Since Kalabagh is not o disputed territory, the over meant may feel that it would be easier to secure low cost loans from development finance institutions.


  • Asif
    Jan 15, 2014 - 10:21AM

    about 30 million acre foot water is being wasted into the sea

    Liek seriously? Have any of these experts been to Kotri downstream? There is hardly any water going Kotri downstream, I don’t know what wastage are they talking about!!

    What little water is going is needed to replenish the silt in delta to prevent sea intrusion and is vital for the growth of mangrove forests that have almost died out!!


  • Jan 15, 2014 - 10:53AM

    @Saad: 101 percent agree. BUILD THE DAM. Salams


  • Jan 15, 2014 - 12:10PM

    After observing floods in KPK for the last 2 or 3 years, even if Kalabagh dam does not increase even a drop of water in that flood, the people will react severely, so bring technical experts from all around the world and lets have their press conference and final report on that.


  • Ali
    Jan 15, 2014 - 1:06PM

    If the government is really concerned about wastage of water then it should build Diamer Basha dam, and what about its case against dams being built by India and case which is won by India. Kalabagh is not only the problem of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan have also takes in it. The government should not focus on such non-issues. This issue is vital only in terms of deepening the rifts among federation. Media must also avoid publishing such reports. It can build dozens of dams on River Swat and Panjgora.


  • Munna Baboo
    Jan 15, 2014 - 1:56PM

    I am from Karachi and I staunchly support KB dam .
    almost every other year there is a flood in the country and then comes the drought .
    Even a nitwit like me doesnot understand how we could manage to control these two calamities without KB dam ?

    Go for it .All will benefit ,Sindh the most .Kick the trouble makers out of this country .


  • Munawar Habib
    Jan 15, 2014 - 4:44PM

    • 3,600MW Of Electricity Which Will Save $4 Billion Annually For The Country, Excluding The 30 Percent Line Losses.
    • Not Building The Kalabagh Dam Is Causing The Country A Loss Of Rs132 Billion Annually….
    • The Recent Floods In Pakistan Caused More Than $45 Billion Loss Which Could Have Been Averted If Big Dams Were Operational.

    Alas we surely deserve extinction if this is our will…….


  • Dhaka
    Jan 15, 2014 - 5:36PM

    Pakistan can build dam based on expertise from us.If they request our help, then we can think about it.


  • Nida Alvi
    Jan 15, 2014 - 6:27PM

    It is rightly alleged that various political parties (under the garb of parochialism) have taken huge money from India to oppose construction of Kalabagh Dam, while simultaneously India has built mega dams on the same river.
    If some people have ego issues, this dam can be named as Roshan Pakistan Dam to take the country out of darkness and to harness the flow of water that has hitherto destroyed millions of acres of land & made people homeless. Even Badin & Thatta are getting submerged into the sea because of excess water flow during monsoon flash floods.
    The media should play it’s positive role in highlighting the pros & cons of Roshan Pakistan Dam and address the genuine concerns of those opposing it. Those who are opposing it as ego issue should be exposed so that Pakistanis should know who has pushed them into long hours of loadsheddings.


  • piddler
    Jan 15, 2014 - 6:31PM

    For power its worthless- c/b ratio is way less than 1. If the hinterland cant use Indus water for crops then Why build it? Do we really want to make Gora consulting firms unbearably rich? Go to sleep and wait for the next great Islamic religious event perhaps Basant,


  • Jan 15, 2014 - 7:12PM

    Dear Sirs,,

    Major projects in Energy development are vital to the security and prosperity of Pakistan.
    Apart from buidling big dams and massive injection of investment. Pakistan may look towards cheaper options for energy development programmes- such as solar energy, wind energy, seawave energy and coal energy.. These projects cost less and generate cheaper energy. Pakistan may also look for the development of semiconductor industry and wave optics where huge infrastructure of land cable systems can be replaced with fibre-optics
    sub-systems in order to meet urgent energy need or requirement.

    This is why partnership with China, United States and United Kingdom is so important for the well being of citizen. Think again and again. And look for alternatives available in the marketplace. Thank you & God Bless.


  • kharal
    Jan 15, 2014 - 7:23PM

    Well the design and related details be shown on all tv channels and then anyone should comment whether its feasible or not..


  • Shakir Lakhani
    Jan 15, 2014 - 8:21PM

    For environmental damage caused by dams, visit

  • Shakil Khan
    Jan 16, 2014 - 2:49AM

    People against dams never protest against so many dams built by India upstream on same rivers, somehow any dam within Pakistan attract unwanted opposition from mostly non-experts!

    People against dams also shouldnt complain about load shedding and higher electricity bills produced by imported oil and precious gas!

    All against damns should be invited on location with presentations by experts and to answer any questions, clear all misconceptions and misinformation created by parties and political stuntmen. Another APC with real set of dams approved in one session for national interests can also help with expert presentations and assurances.


  • Ali
    Feb 7, 2014 - 5:15PM

    even if NOT BUILDING THE DAM make the state collapse from within. What an idiot you are. I don’t understand why none of the so called nationalists and pseudo intellects never raised issue over india building dams on pakistani rivers.
    Apparently they do not have issue with building dams rather with pakistan building dams.


  • Zahur Malik
    Mar 14, 2014 - 6:37PM

    Tnx for objectively laying the responsibility on few narrow minded/ sold out politicians who oppose the construction of KBD. In fact we have already lost lot of money in the preparations & designing of this dam. The infrastructure including the residential colonies are now in ruins (being looted/stolen). Its high time we start its construction whereas; we are still talking of building a consensus. Its strange that despite realisation by the big Political Parties for the need- the govt is sleeping on it by not starting any efforts to build the consensus among the provinces. Imran Khan should at-least make an effort to make KPK ready for it by getting a resolution passed from KPK Assembly in favour of KBD construction ASAP Recommend

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