Consensus about Kalabagh Dam

January 16, 2013

Dr. Zafar Iqbal  VeZoyfro

Kalabagh Dam project is most promising
Kalabagh Dam project is most promising

Most of the activities and facilities related to modern society are based on Electricity. It implies that Electricity is the spirit of Modern Society. Without spirit, nobody can be considered as alive. Similarly no nation can be considered alive without electricity. Extensive load shading in Pakistan is leading toward its economical death. We are killing ourselves by ignoring further production of electricity. As a result we are undergoing through a great crisis of electricity (energy).

Out of many proposals suggested for solution of energy crisis; Kalabagh Dam project is most promising. Because electricity produced from water resources is the cheapest and Kalabagh Dam is most suitable through site position, feasibility and quantity of electricity to be produced. On other hand the life of majority of dams (already in operation) is going to expire in near future. Further the progress on the development of new dams is negligible. Only few dams are prepared in previous two decades while India has constructed 60 dams on the rivers supplying water to Pakistan. If it has constructed 60 dams on only five rivers then it has constructed how many dam on other rivers. However, it has blocked much of water that has a way to Pakistan and was utilized for irrigation in past. It is very disappointed that still we are not serious about construction of new dam. On other hand India ejects extra water of flood toward Pakistan that produce physical damages to Pakistan. Further Pakistan has no measures to manage this flood to avoid extensive damages.

Alternate energy sources (other than hydropower) are not taken on top priority bases. Energy from oil based projects is so costly that government is reluctant to pay for electricity received from oil turbines. Nuclear energy is a threat for underdeveloped countries by world authorities. Further it has harmful aftereffects related to pollution. Little attempts are made for installation for Wind Energy. If we develop solar energy projects on missionary basis, we can manage the energy crisis to a great extent, but proposals related to solar energy are usually ignored. In this scenario Kala Bagh Dam is an attractive solution of Energy Crisis.

Kalabagh Dam is most promising because most of the written work and infra-structure related to this project has been nearly completed. Construction of this project can be started immediately, after revision of costs. The main hindrance in the development of this dam is political involvement. Political leaders of two provinces take this dam seriously. Politicians of Khyber Pakhtoonkhah (KPK) provoked the idea that after operation of this dam, the risk of flood will be increased to a higher extent in the Noshehra area. On other hand politicians of the province Sindh raised a propaganda that development of this dam will block up most of the irrigation water being available to Sindh now. Thus province of Sindh will face lack of irrigation water. That will depress the agricultural production in Sindh.

Most of the objections rose for this dam being supposed ones and have poor logic. To ensure the flood risk for Noshehra, the height of the dam was revised to 915 feet while the height of Noshehra is nearly 1000 feet above the sea. Even then the politicians of the KPK felt insecure & rejected the project. Similarly the politicians of Sindh were not satisfied. Delaying of this project is the hard luck of Pakistan that such a useful project has been rejected. This act is producing negative effects like low production, low growth, inflation etc. on the economics of country through the gift of extensive load shading. As a result the poverty level is increasing extensively day by day.

No doubt this project is most feasible and ready to run. But its construction without consensus can lead to serious reaction from the provinces of KPK and Sindh. Therefore a consensus with these provinces is the solution of this dispute. If we provide solutions (projects) to the expected insecurities of two provinces, they will become agree for construction of this dam. In this article solutions to the expected insecurities of both the provinces are suggested. The solutions are cost effective but have double benefits for the development of country. On one side these solutions will lead to the development of Dam. On other hand these projects can play a role in the growth of country. No doubt these projects are so attractive that will appeal to the politicians and they will become agree for construction of this dam.

Now we take the example of KPK. No doubt flood is a natural disaster and every person feel insecure with the idea of flood. Instead of further reducing the height of the dam, we have to manage the coming floods at least for Nowshehra area. There is an idea of flood drainage as flood controlling measure for the plain areas of the country. Flood drainage system can drain extra water of flood through underground pipelines from flood prone areas to distant non-flood areas. In this way flood prone areas can be saved from flood. On other hand when such water will reach to non-flood areas, it will lose its harshness due to reduced speed and pressure of flood water (being result of long travelling) so that it cannot damage such areas.

For construction of flood drainage system, we need cemented pipes of 6-10 feet diameter. These pipes can be joined in order to form a flood drainage pipeline toward non-flood areas. For Noshehra flood drainage pipeline, the Non-Flood area will be the part of Cholistan desert area that is away from river Satluj. Thus the pipe line will pass from KPK to the end of Punjab. This pipeline will save the damage to the flood area of Nwshehra, while extra water of flood will be drained to Cholistan desert. Where, it will be used for agriculture, livestock and human beings. In case of heavy floods a part of extra water can be diverted to the rivers coming across the pipeline, those being severely deficient of water. It meant that construction of this pipeline will provide multiple benefits as follow.

  • Will lead to successful consensus of Kalabagh Dam
  • Convert Cholistan into a fertile area
  • Will save extra water falling into sea
  • Can control flood of all intervening rivers
  • Can improve the deficiency of dry rivers
  • Will raise the underground water table in many areas

Noshehra flood drainage pipeline will start from river Kabul near Noshehra. First pipe will be installed in the river Kabul at the level of Low Flood. The pipeline will early enter into the soil and will run underground throughout the way. It will cross the main rivers as Sindh, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Satluj and small rivers like Swan, Sil and Pained. It will continue in rivers as underground or underwater. However, at the outside of each river there will be constructed a Junction Unit. From security point of view, it is suggested that this pipeline should pass in the green belt of Motor way upto Faisalabad. Then it should pass from District Faisalabad area to Okara & Bahawalnagar along with roads. In Bahawalnagar district it will continually pass in the areas of Cholistan. Its path will start from river Sutlej. Then it will pass through the areas of Minchanabad, Bahawalnagar, Haroonabad, Fort abbas. In Bahawalpur District through Khan ghar, Nawab Kot, Khera Toba and will end at Islam Ghar of District Rahim Yar khan. The route can be changed on the basis of ground facts.

The Junction Unit will be similar to a gutter of sewerage system but it will be greater in size. It will be looking as a room of at least 10 feet length and width with 20 feet height. Where, the pipeline is discontinued with an additional of a separate passage. Wall toward flood side will contain the terminal exit of disconnected flood drainage. From the opposite wall, flood drainage will be continued towards the non-flood areas. In the third wall a pipeline will be directed toward the river running beside.  Lids will be provided to all the pipe lines exits. Lid of river pipe line will remain closed even during flood. However, if that nearby river needs some extra water then lid of river pipe line will be opened along with closing of non flood side pipeline. In case it is showing some flood then both the river end and non-flood end should be opened. After a specific time these changes should be reversed by closing the river pipeline.

In the Cholistan area the pipeline will be broken after each mile or kilometer. At each interruption one quite deep well will be constructed underground. Whenever, sufficient extra water of flood will reach in Cholistan area. After flood season all these wells will contain sufficient water that can be utilized for agriculture, livestock and human beings. It will further raise the water table of underground water. That will help in conversion of Cholistan area from desert to irrigated area. Establishment of flood drainage system will be a great achievement. I think that politicians of KPK will be convinced for Kalabagh dam with this solution, because other objections raised by them are manageable. In addition to this drainage system, one more drainage system can be initiated from Punjnand Headworks for remaining un-approached areas of previous system. In this way whole Cholistan desert can be converted into fertile area.

The objection of Sindh politicians is that river Sind already receiving less water. With construction of this dam the quantity of water reaching in Sindh river will further reduce. It is only a supposition or misconception. On other hand huge quantity of fresh water of river Sindh is wasted when fall into sea. When Fresh water is mixed with sea water then it cannot be utilized for agriculture livestock and human beings. Actual fault of deficiency of fresh water in Sind is the deficiency of useful plans. The solution of this problem is to retain water of river Sindh through construction of head works. We can use this retained water for agriculture, livestock & human beings. I think construction of one head work after every 100 Kilometer distance of river can solve the problem. Another problem of province Sindh is the appearance of flood nearly in each monsoon. In order to solve this problem, flood drainage pipe lines should be constructed at each head work toward tharparker desert.  It will provide multiple benefits similar to that flood drainage in Cholistan. Not only it will reduce the flood damages to the minimum but it will convert the tharparker region to be fertile one. No doubt all the politicians of Sind can agree for Kala Bagh on the basis of this development.

Many other flood drainage pipe lines in Pakistan can be constructed. Construction of such flood drainage at Chashma and Trimu head works will be useful for the area of Mianwali, Bhakkar and Leiah District. Similarly construction of such system at Taunsa barrage can be useful for the fertility of areas of Dera Ghazi Khan division. Similar projects can be proposed for Baluchistan and KPK areas.

It is possible that we will succeed in peaceful consensus about Kala Bagh Dam. It will be a great achievement. Next step is the financial. It is better to avoid loan from World Bank or IMF. This project is a fund raising project. People can generate fund for this dam through enthusiasm because people wants to come out from energy crisis.  It is better to receive fund from public for construction of this dam. It is so stimulating issue that funds can easily be collected from the public. On other hand flood drainage system will save damages of Billion rupees through flood. Further it will add the production of value of Billions rupees in form of agriculture & Livestock products in desert looking into such an attractive finances, this project should be started on first priority.



Dr. Zafar Iqbal,

Assistant Director,

Directorate of Animal Health

Livestock Complex, Cooper Rd.

Lahore. 0302 4434974


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