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Warsak dam has benefited nation

LAHORE, June 27: How much beneficial water projects have been for the country can be assessed from the fact that the Warsak Dam, constructed at a cost of $109.35 million, has provided benefits worth $5.8 billion to the nation so far.

The canal system of the Warsak dam project is irrigating at least 119,000 acres of land, and has, thus, contributed $2.3 billion to the national economy since its commissioning.

Similarly, the Warsak hydel power station has so far generated about 40 billion units of electricity, earning a revenue of $3.5 billion.

The Warsak dam is located on Kabul River, about 30 kilometer North-West of Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

It is a mass concrete gravity dam with a height of 250 feet and length 460 feet. The project was constructed in 1960 under the Colombo Plan, which was financed by the government of Canada.

In phase-I, the dam, irrigation tunnel and four power generating units, each of 40 megawatt (MW) capacity, had been constructed at a cost of $98.75 million, while in phase-II, two more units, each of 41.5MW capacity, had been installed in 1980-81 with an expenditure of $10.6 million, thus raising the total installed capacity of the project to 243MW.

After completing about 50 years, the generating units of the Warsak hydel power station have deteriorated despite extensive repair and maintenance due to heavy sediments in Kabul River.

At present, Wapda is engaged in rehabilitation of the project. In addition, Wapda has also decided to construct another underground powerhouse of 375MW at Warsak. Resultantly, the generation capacity of the Warsak dam project will rise to 618MW.

Financial arrangements for the construction of the underground powerhouse are being negotiated with various financial institutions.

There are strong indications on the part of financial institutions that they would provide about 75 per cent funds for the construction of the underground powerhouse.