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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hydro Power Generation in Pakistan

The electricity crisis afflicting the country is here to stay for a while. It may indeed worse in the coming summer. Oil has hit over $103. Coal discovered in Thar region is still being studied as an latrnative. In today's Dawn Dr. Asif argues for more hydro power. We will look at two articles here. The first one argues for more hydro power.

In Price of neglecting hydropower Dr M. Asif says:

In Pakistan, the developments on the hydropower front are quite disappointing. Largely neglecting hydropower, the country has actually invited trouble in the form of the ongoing energy crisis. There are only five notable hydropower projects in operation: Tarbela, Mangla, Warsak, Chashma and Ghazi Barotha respectively having a capacity of 3478MW, 1000MW, 240MW, 187MW and 1450MW. Even of these, the capacities of the existing three reservoirs based hydropower facilities: Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma are declining due to sedimentation — the live storage capacity of the three reservoirs has been reportedly reduced by about 20 per cent. The growth in hydropower is utterly disproportionate in comparison to that of the energy demand in the country. Over the last two decades, the only meaningful hydropower activity has been the construction of 1450MW Ghazi Barotha project.

In this article
Pakistan's Economic Monster - The Tarbela Dam, C N Anand warns:

The Tarbela dam construction was completed in 1974 and while test filling the site, sink holes in the alluvium bed were noticed. This led to costly remedial measures and delay in filling up by two years. Since then, every year, 200 million tons of silt was being deposited in the reservoir. Predictably a silt delta formed and crept towards the dam. It was envisaged that the silt delta would be 48 Kilometers from the dam by 1983, but it actually loomed to within 19 Kilometers. By 1991 the delta crest was just 14 Kilometers from the dam and creeping towards the dam at the rate of one kilometer a year. In 1997 M/s Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stretton International Corporation (TAMS) recommended that if remedial measures were not taken for the management of sediments, the delta would cross the danger limit line by as early as 2006.
What is the truth regarding silting? Is silting out of control as Anand argues or is it manageable? This is the crux not only for Tarbela but other mega projects such as Kalabagh. Any experts here?


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