Dams provide a range of economic, environmental, and social benefits, including recreation, flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, waste management, river navigation, and wildlife habitat.
According to the International Commission on Large Dams, there are 150 dams and reservoirs in Pakistan that are over 15 m (49 ft) in height. Tarbela Dam is the largest earth filled dam in the world and is second largest by the structural volume. Mirani Dam is the largest dam in the world in terms of volume for flood protection with a floodstock of 588,690 cubic hectares.
List of famous reservoirs and dams in Pakistan:
- Diamer-Bhasha Dam
- Gomal Zam Dam Project
- Hub Dam
- Mangla Dam
- Mirani Dam
- Namal Dam
- Rawal Dam
- Tarbela Dam
- Warsak Dam
- Neelum Jhelum Dam
- Sabakzai Dam
Diamer Bhasha Dam
On the River Indus in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan, there is a Diamer-Bhasha Dam, in the early stage of construction. This is the concrete-filled gravity Dam. On 18 October 2011, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Prime Minister of Pakistan laid the foundation stone. However, After completion, This Diamer-Bhasha Dam will become the World highest RCC (Roller-compacted concrete) Dam. The name is based on the location Bhasha in Diamer District of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.
After completion of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, it will be able to generate Hydroelectricity of 4500 MW. Along with this, Dam will be able to store 8,500,000 acre-feet extra of water that will be used for drinking and irrigation purposes in Pakistan. Also, this Dam will control flood damages during high floods by River Indus and can increase the life of Tarbela Dam.
There will be Fourteen Gates for the Dam with a height of 272 meters. Diamer-Bhasha Dam will have 6,400,000 acre-feet (7.9 km3) of live storage, however, 8,100,000 acre-feet (10 km3) will be a gross capacity of the reservoir. The dam will have two underground powerhouses. Each powerhouse will have six turbines with a maximum capacity of 4500 MW.
Gomal Zam Dam
Multi-Purpose Gravity Dam located in the South Waziristan Agency of Federal Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan, situated Gomal Zam Dam. Passed from a narrow gap in Khjori Kach, Dam is on the waters of Gomal River, a branch of mighty Indus river. However, The main purpose of Gomal Zam Dam is Hydroelectric Power Generation, Irrigation and Flood Control. In August 2001, The building process of Gomal Zam Dam started and completed in April 2011. PowerHouse Units of Dam completed till March 2013 and started production of electricity in August 2013. Along with Shaukatullah Khan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor and US Ambassador Richard G. Olson, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif officially inaugurated the Dam on 12 September 2013.
With the depth of 133 m (437 feet) of Gomal Zam Dam, is an RCC (Roller-Compacted Concrete) Gravity Dam. This Dam can generate electricity of 17.4 MW. In August 1963, construction of the Dam was approved by the Government of Pakistan and initial work took place. However, because of the Indo-Pak 1965 War, construction of the Dam stopped. Later on, General Pervaiz Musharraf, President of Pakistan ordered the construction of the Dam in 2001. Therefore, on Independence Day 14 August 2001, the ceremony for Groundbreaking took place and was constructed till April 2011.
Located on the Hub River is a water reservoir with the name of Hub Dam. This Dam is on the border of Balochistan and Sindh provinces in Districts of Lasbela and Karachi around 56 Km away from Karachi. With a gross storage capacity of 85700 acre-feet, this made this Dam the Third largest of Pakistan. In conclusion For Karachi City, this Dam is the main source for drinking water.
The area surrounding the Dam was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1974 by Sindh Government. The area of Sanctuary is around 27219 hectares. For nesting and feeding of Ducks, Waders, Pelicans, and Cranes, this sanctuary is the most favorable area. On 01 May 2001, Ramsar Site was designated by hub Dam.
This Dam is a famous tourist spot as well. However People from Karachi in a large number visit this spot on the weekends to enjoy swimming, Picnic, and Fishing. In addition, for tourists to stay there is a rest house by WAPDA.
Being 147 metres (482 feet) in height and 3140 metres (10,300 feet) in length, Mangla Dam is the second-largest water reservoir in Pakistan. Located in the Mirpur District of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the construction of the dam began in 1961, coming to a close in 1967, with the dam becoming one of the primary sources of irrigation in the country. While the dam was only built for the purpose of water storage initially, it was later modified to generate hydropower electricity of about 1,150 megawatts. Proposed extension plans will extend this capacity to 1,500 megawatts in the future.
This water reservoir in Pakistan resulted in the creation of the Mangla Lake, which is a 4-hour drive from Lahore and a 2-hour drive from Islamabad. The lake and its surroundings offer plenty of water sports activities, including boating, rafting, jet skiing, and fishing, along with enjoying a picnic in the park near the lake. A short 10-minute boat ride can also take sightseers up to Ramkot Fort, which is located on the hill on the other side of the lake and offers panoramic views from the top.
This dam was built from 2002 to 2006 with a cost of 5,267.90 million rupees. Mirani Dam is considered to be the largest dam in the world in terms of volume for flood protection. Moreover, the dam is on the Dasht River in Balochistan, with a height of 39 meters or 127 ft. and length 1,020 meters or 3,350 ft. Above all, the capacity has a flood stock of 588,690 cubic hectares.
Located in a corner of Namal Valley in Mianwali, Punjab, the Namal Dam was constructed in 1913 with Namal Lake boasting a surface area of 5.5 square kilometres. The region is surrounded by mountains on two sides with agricultural plains on the remaining two.
The core purpose behind the creation of the dam was to provide a means of irrigation for the local farmlands but it now serves as a famous picnic spot for the people of the region. Migratory birds flock to the area, attracting birdwatchers, while boating enthusiasts also test the waters here. Namal Lake is also one of the four tourist spots that have been chosen for further development within Punjab, which will bring more tourism to the area.
Rawal Dam is one of the water reservoirs in Pakistan that supplies water to the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad since 1962. It collects water from the Korang River and other small streams that flow down the Margalla Hills. The Rawal Lake is, therefore, a popular tourist spot along with Margalla Hills, with a beautiful park around the lake with lush trees, paths, and picnic spots. The park’s highest point also offers an amazing view of the Rawal Lake, Margalla Hills, and the twin cities.
Swimming, boating, sailing, diving, and water skating are some of the activities that can be organised here using private tours. The Islamabad Club, located nearby, also hosts different water sports events on the lake regularly. Many species of birds, mammals, and reptiles also make this region their home and birdwatchers often flock to Rawal Dam to spot the local birds. The lake is also a fishing spot with around 15 species found in its waters.
Tarbela Dam is the largest dam in Pakistan. The dam is situated on the Indus River which is second largest in structural volume. Moreover, it was started in 1968 and was completed in 1976 at a cost of $1,497 million. Furthermore, it is 143.26 meters or 470ft in height and 2,743.2 meters or 9,000 ft. in length. Additionally, the total capacity of the dam is 13.69 cubic km spread over the construction area of 168,000 Km2.
Warsak Dam is third on the list of the Famous Dams of Pakistan. The dam is located on Kabul River in the north-west of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Warsak Dam has completed two major phases. The first phase was completed in 1960 and the second one from 1980 to 1981. Furthermore, the total height is of 76.2 m or 250 ft. with a length of 140.2 m or 460 ft. The total cost spent on construction was 156 million rupees. Above all, the Warsak Dam Hydropower Project has a capacity to produce 243 MW electricity.
Neelum Jhelum Dam
Hydroelectric Power Scheme in Pakistan to build run-of-the-river Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Plant. Specially designed to change the direction of water to power station on Jhelum River from Neelum river. In Azad Jammu and Kashmir of Pakistan, this Power Plant is situated around 26 mi (42 Km) south of Muzaffarabad.
Moreover, it can generate hydroelectricity of 969 MW. In July 2007, Chinese company got the contract to construct the Dam and work started in 2008 on the project. However, the project was delayed for many years and finally in April 2018, the first generator came to operations.
Furthermore, the Fourth and last power unit started generating electricity. On 14 August 2018, reached the maximum capacity of 969 MW and the whole project completed in the month of August 2018. In conclusion, for the next 30 years, at the level tariff of Rs 13.50 per unit, this project will be generating 5,150 Gigawatt per year.
Reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but also provide water for activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability. These following were the most famous and important dams of Pakistan.