Dams hold the utmost value in a country’s economy. Flood control, flat water recreation, hydropower electricity production, and water supply to rivers, streams, and agricultural lands are the most salient functions of a dam. There are about 150 small and large dams in Pakistan, which fulfill the country’s electricity and irrigation needs.
A large number of dams in Pakistan were built between 1960 and 1975. One of these dams is the Tarbela dam, the largest earth-filled dam in the world. In this article, we have formulated a list of the most famous dams in Pakistan.
Tarbela dam makes it to the top of this list because of its immense size and ability to hold water. This dam is built on the Indus River and is the second-largest dam in terms of agricultural volume. The largest dam in this regard is the Three Gorges Dam in China.
The construction work on the Tarbela dam was started in 1968 and completed in 1976. The cost of construction was $1,497 million. With a height of 143.26 meters or 470ft and a length of 2,743.2 meters or 9,000ft, the Tarbela dam is truly a mammoth construction. The capacity of this dam is around 13.69 cubic km, and its construction area is 168,000 square Km.
Next on the list is the Mangla dam, the 9th largest dam in the world. This dam was built in 1967 in the Mirpur district, Azad Kashmir on the Jhelum River. The length of this dam is 3,140 meters or 10,302 ft and the height is 147 meters or 482 ft. This dam cost $1.473 billion at that time and was funded by the World Bank.
Warsak Dam is built on the Kabul River, a stream in the northwest of Peshawar. This dam was constructed in two phases. The first phase had completed in 1960, and the second phase concluded in 1980. The height of this dam is 76.2 meters or 250ft, and the length is 140.2 meters or 460ft. This dam produces 243 MW of electricity, which is added to the national grid.
Built in 2002-2006 at a cost of 5,267.90 million rupees, Mirani Dam is the world’s largest dam in terms of flood protection volume. This dam is built on the Dasht River in Balochistan. Its length is 1,020 meters or 3,350 feet and its height is 39 meters or 127 ft. Mirani dam has a tremendous flood stock capacity of 588,690 cubic hectometers.
Located 40 kilometers from Islamabad Capital Territory is the Khanpur Dam, which sits on the Haro River in the Khanpur district of Pakistan. Aside from its other typical functions, this dam is one of the drinking water resources for twin cities.
It took 15 years of construction and Rs. 1,352 million to complete this dam in 1983. Its height is 167 feet or 51 meters, and the storage area of 110,000 acre-feet. Khanpur Dam is also a tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors.
Built on the Satpara Lake in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Satpara dam is a medium-sized earth-filled dam. This dam is the only source of electricity and fresh water for the dwellers of Skardu valley. This dam produces 17.36 MW of electricity and provides 3.1 million gallons per day to the people of Skardu Valley. It has a height of 128ft and a length of 560ft. The construction of this dam began in April 2009 and was completed in November 2011.
Gomal Zam Dam
Gomal Zam Dam is located in the South Waziristan Agency of the former FATA region of Pakistan. This dam is built on the Gomal River, a branch of the Indus River, and is used for electricity production, irrigation, and flood control.
This dam was approved in August 1963, but its construction was started in August 2001 and completed in April 2011. Its powerhouse units were built in March 2013, and the electricity production was started in August 2013.
Gomal Zam Dam is an RRC (Roller-Compacted Concrete) Gravity Dam with a depth of around 133 meters. It produces 17.4 MW of electricity.
Hub Dam is a water reservoir built on the Hub River. It is located on the border of district Lasbela and Karachi. The storage capacity of over 85700 acre-feet makes Hub Dam the third largest dam in Pakistan. This dam is one of the primary sources of drinking water for Karachi.
Hub Dam is a tourist spot as well. People mainly from Karachi and Balochistan visit this place for swimming and fishing.
Diamer Bhasha Dam
Diamer-Bhasha Dam is a concrete-filled dam, which is in its initial stages of construction. This dam is expected to start its operations in 2028. This dam’s construction is underway on the Indus River in the Daimer district of Gilgit-Baltistan. The proposed reservoir for this dam will be 272-meter high. Hence, it will be the tallest roller compact concrete (RCC) dam in the world. The current capacity of this dam is 6,404,634 acre-ft, which will be enhanced to 8,107,132 acre-ft.
Diamer-Bhasha dam will add 4800 megawatts of electricity to the national grid with the help of its six turbines and store an immense amount of water for the country’s irrigation and drinking needs.
Gulpur Hydropower Plant
The construction of the Gulpur Hydropower Plant is underway on the Poonch River in the Kotli district of Azad Kashmir. This dam is situated 285 kilometers from Lahore and 167 Kilometers from Islamabad.
According to an estimate, this dam will generate 100 megawatts of electricity. The contract for this dam project has been given to a Korean company KOSEP, MIRA Power Limited.
Kalabagh dam is a proposed hydroelectric dam in the Mianwali district. Despite political differences that prevent the initiation of this major project, Kalabagh dam construction continues to be on cards. The proposed location of this dam is on the Indus River. According to estimates, this dam, upon its completion, can provide 3600 MW of Hydroelectricity. This dam is also expected to provide significant relief from the ongoing water crisis in the country.
Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Plant
Last but not least, we have the Neelum-Jhelum Hydro Power Plant, one of the largest hydroelectric projects in Pakistan. This dam mainly diverts water from the Neelum River to a power plant on the Jhelum River. It is located 46 miles from Muzaffarabad and can generate 969 MW of electricity. The annual electricity generation of this dam is 4,630 GWh. This dam has a water storage capacity of 8,000,000 m3.
The construction of the Neelum Jhelum Hydro Power Plant began in 2008, and it was completed in 2018. The dam was opened on 14 August 2018.
Dams and their water storage capability
|Water Storage Capacity (billion cubic meters)
|Chichoki Mallian Hydropower Plant
That is it for our list of the most famous dams in Pakistan. In case we missed an entry in this list, you are welcome to share your thoughts about it.