December 27, 2019: The year 2019 turned out to be a historic one for development of water and hydropower resources in Pakistan, as record generation of hydel electricity was supplied to the National Grid during the year, besides initiating construction work on Mohmand Dam in May this year after five decades.
The hydel power stations owned and operated by WAPDA provided 34.678 billion units of hydel electricity – highest-ever contribution – to the system in 2019. This quantum of generation is 6.321 billion units more if compared with that of the last year i.e. 28.357 billion units. The optimal operation of three hydropower projects, completed last year in a phased manner, proved to be a good omen for hydel generation in the country, since these projects alone generated 9.372 billion units cumulatively during their operation in 2019. This includes 4.741 billion units from Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project, as many as 4.519 billion units from Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project and 0.111 billion units from Golen Gol Hydropower Project. Rest of generation was contributed by other hydel power stations with Tarbela Hydel Power Stations 10.831 billion units, Ghazi Barotha 6.594 billion units, Mangla 4.005 billion units and others 3.986 billion units.
Hydropower is the cheapest and most environment-friendly source of electricity. The contribution of WAPDA hydel electricity to the system greatly helped the country in meeting electricity needs and stabilizing the electricity tariff for the consumers during the year.
In addition to record hydel electricity generation in 2019, WAPDA also succeeded in achieving vital targets for construction of mega dams to avert looming water crisis in the country. In this regard, the construction of Mohmand Dam commenced on May 2, 2019. Mohmand Dam is the first mega multi-purpose dam undertaken during the last 51 years after Tarbela Dam, construction of which was started way back in 1968. Similarly, the tedious evaluation of bids for consultancy services as well as construction works of gigantic Diamer Basha Dam are almost complete. Construction of this mega project is likely to start in next two months. Yet in another significant development, the Prime Minister has also approved Sindh Barrage Project this year to address water-related issues downstream of Kotri Barrage.