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Govt allocates Rs13.78b for Bhasha Dam

The PKR 894.25 billion dam project in the Northern Areas, approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), the Planning Commission had sought mandatory clearance from IRSA (Indus River System Authority) for moving ahead with the dam project. After reviewing the detailed project feasibility, IRSA cleared the project if the government met three conditions.

Diamer Bhasha Dam Project will have a foreign funding component of PKR 312.94 billion. Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin chaired the meeting. The construction of the dam on the Indus, some 400kms from Islamabad, would begin by October next year and be completed in eight to 10 years.

Let me explain about this project with the help of wikipedia that the project is located on Indus River, about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of the Northern Area capital Gilgit and 40 km downstream of Chilas. The proposed dam would have a maximum height of 270 m, and impound a reservoir of about 7,500,000 acre feet (9.25×109 m3), with live storage of more than 6,400,000 acre feet (7.89×109 m3). Mean annual discharge of Indus River at the site is 50,000,000 acre feet (6.2×1010 m3). Thus the dam will impound 15% of the annual river flow. The dam project would cover an area of 110 km2 and extend 100 km upstream of the damsite up to Raikot Bridge on Karakoram Highway (KKH).

Its payback period will be 30 years. They termed it a lifeline project for the country.

‘This is the biggest project ever approved in the history of Pakistan. We spent 33 years in discussions while the country’s biggest dam’s capacity was declining because of sedimentation. We have begun installing major hydropower projects to overcome the energy crisis.’Mr Ashraf said.

The 272-metre high concrete dam would have a storage capacity of 6.4 million acre-feet and it would irrigate more than 33 million acres. It would also help reduce sedimentation in Tarbela Dam, the minister said. In reply to a question, he said the bidding process would be transparent. He said the National Highway Authority would start widening roads for transporting equipment and installation work.


  1. LOCATION: The Dam will be located on the River Indus in Northern Pakistan, about 315 km upstream of Tarbela Dam, 165 km downstream of the Northern Areas capital of Gilgit and 40 km downstream of Chilas.
  2. MAIN DAM Maximum Height: 270 m Type Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC)
  3. DIVERSION SYSTEM 2 No. Diversion tunnels 1 No. Diversion canal Upstream and Downstream Cofferdams
  4. MAIN SPILLWAY No. of gates 9 Size of gate 16.5 Χ 15.0 m
  5. RESERVOIR LEVEL 1160 m Gross capacity 7,300,000 acre feet (9.00×109 m3) Live capacity 6,400,000 acre feet (7.89×109 m3) Min. operation level El. 1060 m
  6. OUTLETS Intermediate level 8 Low level 4
  7. POWERHOUSE(S) 2 Total installed capacity 4500 MW Location and type Toe of the Dam (one each on the right and left side) No. of units 8, each of 560 MW Average generation 16,500 Gwh/year
  8. ESTIMATED COST (YEAR 2008) US$12 Billion


  • Availability of about 6,400,000 acre feet (7.89×109 m3) annual surface face water storage for supplementing irrigation supplies during low flow periods
  • Harnessing of renewable source of clean and cheap energy through installed capacity of 4500 MW
  • Reduction of dependence on thermal power, thus saving foreign exchange
  • Employment opportunity, particularly to the locals, during the construction and operation
  • Creation of massive infrastructure leading to overall socio-economic uplift of the area and standard of living of people.



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