Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has been dominating the national economic scene of Pakistan for well over 50 years now. It comes into limelight almost daily in the media or otherwise, both for its achievements as well as for some of its drawbacks and handicaps. A span of fifty years is a good enough time to have a proper evaluation of an organization to ascertain how far its achievements have come up to the expectations with which it was formed or has it failed to bring about a performance commensurate with the financial support and functional autonomy provided to it.
When WAPDA Ordinance was issued in February 1958, its author Ghulam Ishaq Khan (who was then Secretary, Irrigation and Power in the then West Pakistan Government) had, most probably, the Tennessee Valley Authority of USA as the model in his mind, and accordingly, WAPDA was given the following charter of duties:Generation, transmission and distribution of power; Irrigation, water supply and drainage; Prevention of waterlogging and reclamation of waterlogged and saline lands; Flood control and ;Inland navigation.
Since the power distribution among various categories of consumers, which was originally not to be undertaken by WAPDA, was entrusted to it and this, in fact, became the biggest target of criticism of the organization.
Following are the four points if someone asks what are the WAPDA's major achievements in last 50 years: United development of water and power resources, thus enforcing the national integration of the four provinces; Rapid power Development; Execution of Indus Basin Projects, and; War against Waterlogging and Salinity.
Now WAPDA has formulated a comprehensive National Water Resource and Hydropwer Development Programme-vision 2025, five Mega Hydropower Projects have been announced by President of Pakistan which are to be completed by 2016 with generation capacity of 9,500 MW. Two projects are ready for awarding construction works whereas three projects are in the stage of feasibility studies and preparation of tender documents.
WAPDA has undertaken construction work on Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, the ground breaking was held in February 2008. The project is located in the vicinity of Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). The project envisages the diversion of the Neelum River through tunnels at Nauseri 41 km upstream of Muzaffarabad and out falling in the Jhelum River. The project is located 177 km from Islamabad. The project has 969 MW installed capacity and will generate 5.15b KWh of annual energy. The project is expected to be completed in year 2016.
Diamer Basha Dam project having total capacity of 4500 MW will produce annual energy of 16.7 billion KWh. The project has a live storage of 7.9 billion m3. The expected year of commission is 2016 with an approximate cost of US$ 9.5 billion.
WAPDA is vigorously carrying out feasibility studies and engineering designs for various hydropower projects with accumulative generation capacity of more than 25000 MW and most of these studies are at an advanced stage of their completion. These studies which are under way include Bunji (5400 MW) & Kohala (1100 MW). After the completion of these projects the installed capacity is expected to be around 42000 MW by the end of year 2016. Pakistan has been blessed with ample water resource but could develop only 13 per cent storage capacity of the annual flow of its rivers, and that too are fast depleting due to sedimentation. The journey to develop more and more water reservoirs and tapping the hydro potential is continued.
WAPDA, through its continuous endeavours in the field of water and power is a major source of prosperity in Pakistan.