Pakistan to Build Massive Dams for Abundant Water and Power

China and Pakistan have agreed to finance and build two mega dams in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for this development was signed by the leaders of the two countries on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in Beijing.

Actual vs Potential Hydropower in South Asia. Source: Economist Magazine


The two dams, called Bunji and Diamer-Bhasha projects, will have the capacity to generate 7,100MW and 4,500MW of electricity respectively. China will provide $27 billion to fund the construction of the two dams, according to media reports.

Pakistan's Hydropower Potential: 

Pakistan has the potential to generate 59,000MW of hydropower, according to studies conducted by the nation's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). Currently, it's generating only 6,600MW of hydroelectric power, about 11% of the estimated potential. Media reports indicate that China is prepared to finance and build another 40,000MW capacity as part of the development of the Northern Indus Cascade region which begins in Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through to Tarbela, the site of Pakistan’s biggest dam, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Diamer-Bhasha Water Storage:

Diamer-Bhasha project is located on Indus River, about 200 miles upstream from the existing Tarbela Dam, 100 miles downstream from the Northern Area capital Gilgit in Gilgit-Baltistan region.  It will generate 4,500 MW of electricity and its reservoir will hold so much water that it could have averted recent devastating floods that affected large parts of Pakistan. It would also provide enough electricity to end  Pakistan's crippling shortages, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.  The Diamer-Bhasha reservoir would be 50 miles long, holding 8.5 MAF (million acre feet) of water.

Response to Climate Change:

Pakistan has made only a small contribution to climate change through carbon emissions.  And yet, it counts among the dozen or so nations considered most vulnerable to its damaging effects. These include rising temperatures, recurring cycles of floods and droughts and resulting disruption in food production.

One of the ways Pakistan can help reduce carbon emissions is by realizing its full hydroelectric potential by building more dams. The development of the Northern Indus Cascade region to generate 40,000MW of hydropower is a significant part of this effort.

Prerequisite for Economic Development: 

Availability of abundant and cheap electricity has historically preceded rapid economic development in America, Europe and East Asia. Pakistan has an opportunity to meet this prerequisite by generating large amounts of clean renewable hydropower to meet its hunger for energy required for rapid economic growth in all sectors of the economy ranging from agriculture to manufacturing and services.

Summary:

Pakistan is endowed with significant amount of water and power resources that can be harnessed to enable rapid economic growth in all sectors of its economy. It appears that the Chinese investment, as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is now putting this goal within reach. Tens of thousands of megawatts of added electricity and millions of acre feet of additional water will hopefully transform Pakistan's economy and bring prosperity to its people.

Here's a video on the subject:

https://youtu.be/y-VkLn2J6fM



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Recurring Cycles of Drought and Floods in Pakistan

Pakistan's Response to Climate Change

Renewable Energy for Pakistan

LNG Imports in Pakistan

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ownership of Appliances and Vehicles in Pakistan


Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#Ramadan #power outages in #Pakistan pile pressure on PM #NawazSharif. #loadshedding #electricity https://www.ft.com/content/bee89ccc-4458-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996 … via @FT


Nawaz Sharif has ordered power companies not to cut electricity supplies in the hours before or after the daily Ramadan fast, as outages in the first few days of the Muslim holy month threaten to embroil Pakistan’s prime minister in a political crisis.

As the fasting period began on Sunday, residents of Karachi, the country’s largest city, were unexpectedly plunged into darkness. The national distribution company blamed a line fault that caused two power stations to fail.

But the outage has highlighted the fragility of Pakistan’s electricity network — a problem that threatens to undermine the country’s economic recovery and which is set to become a significant political issue in the run-up to next year’s general election.

Recent power cuts have already prompted widespread protests, during which two people reportedly died.

“These power cuts in Ramadan will severely undermine the government’s reputation further,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political commentator. “If the government fails to manage the electricity situation, the risks for Nawaz Sharif will mount.”




Pakistan has endured an energy shortfall for years, but this summer the gap between supply and demand at peak hours has reached six gigawatts — equivalent to the output of 12 medium-sized coal-fired power stations.

Ministers hope that $35bn of Chinese investment in the country’s power sector, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, will help close the gap.

Unscheduled cuts during Ramadan have particularly angered residents. During the month, Muslims fast during daylight hours, putting extra importance on having power to cook just before dawn and just after dusk.

Usually the government keeps the lights on during religious festivals by paying independent companies to restart expensive mothballed power plants. But it has not done so this year because Ramadan has fallen close to the end of the financial year and the government does not want to exacerbate the fiscal deficit just before it reports its final figures, according to analysts.

The power crisis threatens to undermine Pakistan’s improving economic growth, which has been boosted by a few years of relative political stability. Figures released last week alongside the budget show annual output growth for the year to the end of June are projected to exceed 5 per cent for the first time in a decade.

The other factor that might threaten economic stability is Pakistan’s increasing current account deficit, which is depleting its stock of foreign currency, analysts warn.

Last week’s data show that alongside faster growth, the current account deficit is projected to more than treble from $2.5bn in the last fiscal year to $8.3bn this yearas Pakistan begins to pay Chinese companies for work carried out as part of the CPEC project.

Abid Hasan, a former World Bank economist who has worked in Pakistan, said: “The higher current account deficit will eventually turn into a crisis. This situation has to be managed before it gets out of control.”

But the solutions — whether allowing the rupee to devalue to boost exports or making people pay their electricity bills — are politically unpalatable just a year away from a general election, say officials and analysts. “Reforming Pakistan is tough business,” said one western diplomat.

Riaz Haq said…
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > PAKISTAN > GILGIT BALTISTAN
Pakistan eyes 2018 start for China-funded Diamer-Bhasha dam

By Reuters Published: June 13, 2017

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1434703/pakistan-eyes-2018-start-china-funded-diamer-bhasha-dam/

Pakistan expects China to fund a long-delayed Indus river mega dam project in Gilgit-Baltistan with work beginning next year, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview with Reuters.

Pakistan has been keen for years to build a cascade of mega dams along the Indus flowing down from the Himalayas, but has struggled to raise money from international institutions amid opposition from its nuclear-armed neighbour India.

Those ambitions have been revived by China’s Belt and Road infrastructure plans for Pakistan, a key cog in Beijing’s creation of a modern-day Silk Road network of trade routes connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.

The $12-$14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam should generate 4,500MW of electricity, and a vast new reservoir would regulate the flow of water to farmland that is vulnerable to increasingly erratic weather patterns.

Iqbal, the Islamabad lead on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said a Chinese company from a Beijing-picked shortlist and a local partner would build the dam over a 10-year period, and work should begin in the next financial year, which begins in July.

“This water reservoir is most critical for food security in Pakistan, so is a very high priority project for Pakistan,” Iqbal told Reuters in an interview late on Monday at his ministerial home in Islamabad.

China and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December for Beijing to help fund and develop Pakistan’s Indus Basin dams, though no timelines have been released. Pakistan estimates there is 40,000MW of hydro potential.

The Diamer-Bhasha dam and reservoir would displace more than 4,200 families in nearby areas and submerge a large section of the Karakoram Highway to China, Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority estimates.

The federal minister also said Pakistani and Chinese engineers were also surveying other projects, including the 7,100MW Bunji hydro power project that would be the first in the cascade that stretches down to the Tarbela Dam near Islamabad.

India’s foreign ministry and ministry for water resources did not respond to requests for comment.
Riaz Haq said…
Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Project

http://dailytimes.com.pk/features/18-Mar-17/neelumjhelum-hydropower-project

The Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power project, with a cost of 404.32 billion rupees (US$ 4.03 billion). The project (under construction since 2008) is designed to divert water from the Neelum River to a power station on the Jhelum River. The power station is located in Azad Kashmir, 22 km south of Muzaffarabad and will have an installed capacity of 968 Mega-Watts. Construction on the project began in 2008, a Chinese consortium was awarded the construction contract in July 2007. The first generator is scheduled to be commissioned in July 2017 and the entire project is expected to be completed and start its operations in December 2017.

Design and operations;

The Neelum–Jhelum Dam is a 47 m (154 ft) high and 125 m (410 ft) long gravity dam.
It will withhold a pondage (reservoir) with 8,000,000 m3 (6,486 acre·ft) capacity of which 2,800,000 m3 (2,270 acre·ft) is peak storage. The dam has the capacity to divert up to 280 m3/s (9,888 cu ft/s) of the Neelum River, into a 28.5 km long head-race tunnel, the first 15.1 km of the head-race is two tunnels which later meet into one.
The tunnel passes 380 m (1,247 ft) below the Jhelum River and through its bend. At the terminus of the tunnel, the water reaches the surge chamber which contains a 341 m (1,119 ft) tall surge shaft (to prevent water hammer) and 820 m (2,690 ft) long surge tunnel.
From the surge chamber, the water is split into four different penstocks which feed each of the four 242 MW Francis turbine-generators in the underground power house.
After being used to generate electricity, the water is discharged back into the Jhelum River through a 3.5 km long tail-race tunnel. The drop in elevation between the dam and power station afford an average hydraulic head of 420 m (1,378 ft).

Decision by ICA;

Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration;

In 2010, Pakistan appealed to the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration, complaining that the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant violates the “Indus River Treaty” by increasing the catchment of the Jhelum River and depriving Pakistan of its water rights. In June 2011, the CoA visited both the Kishanganga and Neelum–Jhelum Projects. In August 2011, they ordered India to submit more technical data on the project. India had previously reduced the height of the dam from 98 m (322 ft) to 37 m (121 ft).

The court asked India in September 2011 to stop constructing any permanent works that would inhibit restoration of the river. With the ruling of International Court of Arbitration, India was not allowed to construct the dam (Reservoir), so, they continued work on the tunnel and power plant. In February 2013 the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum of water for the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant. The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin. It is located 5 km (3 mi) north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, and will have an installed capacity of 330 MW. Construction on the project began in 2007 and is expected to get complete in 2018.

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