Lt Col (R) Abdul Razaque Bugti

Kalabagh Dam, the most studied Dam project: Ministry of Industry govt of Pakistan decided to have a water storage dam on river Indus with a hydro power unit to generate 500MW electricity. Initial survey was carried and site at 10 to 12 KM down stream of Indus -Soan confluence was located by Pakistani Engineers in December 1948. The ministry of Industries formed a Dam Investigation cell (DIC). The engineers of DIC completed their survey in 1952; thereafter contract was awarded to the world renown dams construction company, Mis Tipton & Hill USA. They carried out survey of River indus from Kalabagh to Tarbela and of river Kabul from Attok to Peshawar and beyond from 1954 and submitted their report to government of Pakistan in 1956. Kalabag Dam project and Mangla dam project were part of compensation plan and Indus Basin Development plan in the Indus Water treaty 1960. Work on Mangla dam commenced in March 1963 and Kalabagh dam was to be constructed after completion of Mangla Dam. As a result of a contract with world Bank MIs Chas T Main IntI Inc. USA carried out the task of survey and planning of dams and water reservoirs for West Pakistan between 1964 and 1967.

After 1967 there was political instability and then a big turmoil in the country and further work could not be proceeded. MIs Hazra Engineering Co. USA (already affiliated with Kalabagh dam project since 1961) carried out surveys and prepared planning for construction of Kalabagh dam in 1972 during regime of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. World bank was requested for funding therefore they carried out feasibility and project appraisal in 1975 and 1980 respectively. Services of Kalabagh consultants were hired and they carried project planning" in 1984, prepared detailed design in 1985 and after design refinementI; prepared tender documents in 1988. In the meantime Kalabagh- Shakdara road and airport at the site of dam was completed by Frontier Works Orgnization (FWO) from April 1983 to August 1984. FWO locattfd quarry sites for material as they were interested in bidding for the construction of Kalabagh dam. Land was acquired and residential colony, ware houses, powerhouse building were also constructed by 1985 and heavy construction Machinery also reached at the site. No further work was done after General Zia ul Haq regime.

Issue of Flooding of Nowshera (Report of M/s Tipton & Hill USA 1956.)

1. If Kalabagh Dam is constructed to a height of 930 feet msl with flow of 1.0 Million Cusecs, then flow of water in river Kabul will be 0.26 Cusecs and level of water in Kabul river will rise by 1.5 feet from existing level.

2. If Klalbagh dam is constructed to a height of 925 feet msl with flow of 0.8 Million Cusecs, then flow of water in river Kabul will be 0.208 cusecs and level of water in Kabul river will not rise. It will flow as normal.

3. If Klalbagh Dam is constructed to a height of 915 feet msl with flow of 0.8 Million Cusecs, then flow of water in river Kabul will be 0.182 Cusecs and Kabul river will flow as normal. Engineers view that Nowshera is safe from flood effects due to operating System of Kalabagh dam which finishes any risk of flooding of Nowshera:-

1. Kalabagh dam will be fully drawn down from May to July up        to 700 Ft msl(river bed is at 670 Ft msl).  Kalabagh dam will be impounded in August so it will absorb waters of Peak rainfall of AugiSept. 3. Sediment sluicing structure will finish any chance of Sedimentation in Lake of Kalabagh dam.

Studies of safety of Nowshera from flooding due to Kalabagh Dam: In 1983 a 'Team of Expert Engineers' comprising following Confirmed No flooding Risk to Nowshera.

1. French Engineer Pierre Londe.

2. Swiss Engineer Dr. Glombardi.

3. US Engineer Dr. James Sherard.

4. US Engineer John Lowelli.

5. German Engineer Dr. Klaus W. John.

6. US Engieer Mr. John Parkakian.

Review by International expert engineers for safety of Nowshera from flooding due to Kalabagh Dam: 1. July 1987 Review by Chinese Engineer Dr. Ding Liazhen. 2. December 1987 Review by US Engineer, Dr John F Kennedy, Pakistani Engineer Khalid Mahmood,  British Engineer Dr. W Rondney White Sedimentation of existing Dams:-.( source: WAPDA Lahore: Annual Report 2013/2014).

Mangla Dam raising of height: project was completed in December 2009. Live storage capacity of 5.34 MAF, was reduced to 4.52 MAF due to sedimentation. Height raised by 40 feet (30 ft for storage) due to which live storage increased by 2.88 MAF. Now live storage is 7.392 MAF. On 26-09-2012 Dam was filled to Ht 1206.5 ft Instead of 1232 ft. With gross Storage 4.888 only. However Mangla Dam was filled to height 1232 ft during flood of 20 14 with gross storage7.64 MAF and live storage 7.392MAF.

The large reservoir will be filled less frequently than the existing, given same kharif irrigation requirements of river Jhelum; but it could be filled in years of high floods only (Chas T Main USA: report 1967). Tarbela Dam: Original live storage 9.7MAF is reduced to 6.45; after sedimentation. Chashma Barrage: Original live storage.0.72MAF reduced to 0.26MAF after sedimentation.

Water storage in dams in 1976. Tarbela Dam live storage 9.7 MAF, Mangla Dam live storage 5.34 MAF, Chashma Barrage live storage 0.72 MAF.

Total live storage of Water 15.76 MAF.

Water storage on 22 September 20 14(WAPDA Report).

Tarbela Dam live storage 6.45MAF, Mangla Dam Live storage 7.392 MAF, Chashma Barrage Live storage 0.26 MAF.

Total live storage of Water 14.102 MAF.  Water storage After Kalabagh Dam (live storage), Mangla Dam 7.392 MAF, Tarbela dam 6.45 MAF, Chashma Barrage 0.26 MAF, Kalabagh Dam 6.1 MAF

Total available for distribution to all Provinces 20.202 MAF.

Benefits to Sindh: Renny Canal; is under construction and has been designed to provide water for irrigation of cultivable desert of upper eastern districts, Ghotki and Sukkur of Sindh. Renny canal can be extended to irrigate cultivable desert of Khairpur District when Kalabagh dam is completed.

Sehwan Barrage live storage 1.0MAF; Manchar Dam live storage 0.8 MAF and Chotiari Dam (already completed in 2009) live storage 0.73MAF i.e. Total reservoir capacity of 2.53 MAF added with share of water of Kalabagh dam ( left over after draw down of Renny Canal) will irrigate cultivable desert of south eastern districts, Sanghar, Umerkot and Mithi, of Sindh. Therefore 3.3 million acres cultivable desert of Sindh will be brought under irrigation after completion of Kalabagh Dam and Sehwan barrage complex. .


Kalabagh dam is the hinge pin of Indus Basin Irrigation System. Its' water benefits alone are worth an annual economy of $ 15 billion and hydroelectric generated is worth an annual income of $ 4 billion. The large Mangla dam will only be filled if a quantity of surplus waters regulated by Kalabagh dam are diverted into Jhelum River to meet its given Kharif irrigation requirements. Thus reservoir of water in Mangla dam will be utilized by all provinces according to their shares. If we do not have Kalabagh dam then additional storage capacity (2.88 MAF) created in Mangla dam will be filled in years of high floods only.

The share of waters for Sindh added to the reservoir waters of Sehwan barrage complex can cultivate entire 3.3 million acres of cultivable desert of north eastern districts, Ghotki, Sukkur and Khairpur and south eastern districts of Sanghar, Umerkot and Mitthi of Sindh. The land which is brought under cultivation by River waters should be distributed among Landless Harees and people of Thar desert, to improve the quality of life of the poor deprived people of Sindh. Kalabagh dam will help the starving people of Thar region of Sindh province to become prosperous and serf supportive when irrigated agricultural land is allotted to them. They will cultivate and, grow fruits, vegetables and graze cattle; thus will contribute to the overall economy of Pakistan. Kalabagh Dam is the only mega water storage dam and hydro power project which is ready to start its construction without delay; therefore construction of Kalabagh Dam be commenced as early as possible. (Concluded)