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Old Saturday, January 21, 2006
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Riaz Ahmed Abro is on a distinguished road
Exclamation Here I expose Kalabagh Dam!

KALA BAGH DAM – Some Realities

Indus River

• Start from the northern Part of Tibet in Kelash Perbat’s Glaciers
• Height from the sea is 5183 meters (16000 feet)
• Catchments Area is 940000 Aquare kilometers (360000 Aquare Miles)
• Bigger 10 times bigger than Colorado River America and 2 times bigger than Neil River Egypt
• Length 3000 kilometers (2000 Miles).
• 10 supporting rivers (Tributaries) strengthen to Indus River by contributing water as Kabul River, Sawat River, Kohat River, Haro River and Swan River from NWFP, Jehlam River, Ravi River, Satlaj River and Biyas from Punjab.
• Length of Indus River in Sindh is 600 kilometers (400 miles)
• It carries slit about 400 million tons every year.
• It irrigates more than 600 million acres land
• The kacha land is 1.9 million acres (760000 Hectors) among them 598800 acres (240000 Hectors) consisting reverine forests.
• It also irrigates 650000 acres (260000 Hectors) delta consisting mangroves forests.
• The river Indus is depending upon the snow melting on glaciers and rain fall in catchments area.
• The biggest water flow in River Indus is experienced 186.79 MAF in year 19659-60
• The lowest water flow in River Indus is experienced 100.79 MAF in year 1974-75
• The average water flow during the period of year 1922-23 to year 1985-86 is 137.27 MAF
• 2 Dams, 19 Barrages, 43 Canals and 11 Link Canals are existing on River Indus.
• The total length of Canals, Distributaries and minor of River Indus Irrigation System is 64000 kilometers (40000 miles)

The Right of Sindh on Indus River


• British have conquered Sindh in 1843 and Punjab in 1847
• The cultivated land in those year is as under:

Year Cultivated Land in Punjab Cultivated Land in Sindh
1850 to 1855 750000 (Acres) 1000000 (Acres)
1875 to 1880 1500000 (Acres) 1500000 (Acres)
1880 to 1885 2000000 (Acres) 1600000 (Acres)
1915 to 1920 900000 (Acres) 3400000 (Acres)

• The Punjab is the major contributor in British Army.
• The British Rulers have realized the importance of irrigation system in sub-continent as they felt the need of cotton for the textile industry of India and Manchester.
• British Rulers have started construction of central Bari Do-aab Canal in Punjab in 1847
• Then, they have started construction of Lower Chenab and Lower Jehlam Canal in 1885-9-1901, Peharpur Canal in 1908, Upper sewat canal in 1914 and Upper Jehlam, Upper Chenab, Lower Bari Do-aab Canals in 1915. Also completed Satlaj River Project in 1932 consisting on 11 Canals and 4 Head Works.
• The Sukkur Barrage Project was completed in 1932 which is the first and only water project in Sindh.

Accords for Water of Indus River

• The agreement of Sindh for usage of Indus water is essential. ( India Irrigation Commission – 1901-1903)

• Punjab has no right to use Indus River water until the completion of Sukkur Barrage Project. (Cotton Committee-1919).

• Government of Punjab has presented application for approval of Thal Project to Government of India in 1919 which was rejected by then Viceroy Lord Chelmsford.

• Again Punjab has presented Thal Project for approval in 1925 which was again rejected by Lord Raiding, the then Viceroy with strong justification and said that it is injustice with Sindh to approve Thal Project.

• After completion of Sukkur Barrage Project & Satlaj Project, the dispute was occurred among Khairpur State with Sindh on water for Kharif and Bekaneer State & Bahawalpur State with Punjab on more allotment of water. A committee was established to resolve the dispute under the supervision of Mr. Anderson, Chef Engineer UP who has presented report in 1935. Govt. of India has issued order on the report through letter dated 30 March 1937 in which quota of water fixed for Sukkur Barrage, Peharpur Canal and Thal Canal.

• Sindh was engaged in Independence movement from Bombay presidency in those days and had not raised any objection on the orders about Thal Canal.

• Sindh Government has raised their reservation against behavior of Punjab in 1939 which was sent to Governor General in 7th June, 1941. For scrutinized the reservations of Sindh, the Governor General has formed commission in the Chairmanship of Mr. B.N Raye, the then Judge High Court Kalkata. The commission was famous with the name of Raye Commission. The commission has scrutinized the Sindh’s objection and presented a suggestion that Punjab has expensed a huge amount on Thal Canal Project so not possible to stop the work. Two barrages were suggested to construct in Sindh. (One in Upper Sindh and One in Lower Sindh). The Punjab has fined at least Rs. 20000000/= (Two Crores) for Thal Canal Project and amount is contributed in construction of 2 barrages which was estimated as Rs. 160000000/= (16 Crores). This agreement was finalized on 28th September 1945, only on reservation from Punjab on fined amount.

• When the partition of Pakistan & India was occurred in 1947. Mr. Red Culf has appointed to distribute and finalize the boundaries and assets of both countries. To solve the water related issues among both newly born countries, a committee named “Committee B” was formed which will have a time till 31st March 1948 to solve the water related issues.

• Mr. S.I Mehboob Secretary Irrigation department has raised the question in Committee B that the headwork of canal from Satlaj is at Ferozpur and Headwork of Canal from Ravi is at Madhupur, the both canals are flowing in Pakistan and their headwork’s are in India territory so Pakistan has fear that India will stop both Canals in future. So how it can be solved. The point was included in Agenda for the meeting of Committee B.

• When the meeting of Committee B was conducted, Mr. Khanbehadur Abdul Hameed counterpart of S.I Mehboob was the represent of Pakistan. Without any consultation or argument Mr. Abdul Hameed has returned the point of Agenda proposed by S.I Mehboob. The committee B has completed its tenure on 31st March, 1948.

• Mr. Nehru has stopped the water flow in both canals on 1st April, 1948 and gave the argument that Pakistan has accepted India’s right on both Canals and returned the point on agenda of Committee B. Pay the amount for water if you want water otherwise India not allowed water in both canals.

• Punjab has forcibly constructed BRBD canal from Indus river near Wagha Border near to Jalu Lahore and take 1.5 MAF water from Indus River without any intimation of Sindh. Mohammad Hashim Gazder repetitive of Sindh province in constitutional assembly has raised his objection on BRBD. Central Government has accepted the mistake of Punjab through letter No. P-19(67) dated 26-3-1953.

• The World Bank has entered in the issue in 1952 and emphasized on both countries to take an accord on water.

• Indus water treaty agreement was conducted on 19th September 1960. According to it the eastern rivers (Ravi, Bias and Satlaj) were completely handed over to India and India will compensate the amount to Pakistan for Water Projects in Pakistan as substitute of the water of three eastern rivers.

• India has offered 175 million dollars and other friend countries have also gave 175 million dollars to Pakistan besides 150 million dollars loan to Pakistan for substitute water projects in Pakistan. Pakistan has received 315 million dollars in 1964.

• Indus Basin Advisory Board (IBAB) was formed to implement the “Indus Water Treaty Accord 1960”

• One Unit was imposed on the country from 14th October 1955 to 30th June 1970.

• Both provinces have followed “Sindh Punjab agreement” from 1945 to 1970.

• Water Apportionment Accord 1991, water distribution formulas.
According to the Accord, the existing water resources of Pakistan, as of 1991, shall be distributed in the following proportions among the provinces :
Province Percentage Share Province Percentage Share
Punjab 47.65 % NWFP 7.5 %
Sindh 41.55 % Baluchistan 3.3 %
In addition, another clause of the Accord stipulates the distribution of future water resources to be in the following ratio among the provinces:
Province Percentage Share Province Percentage Share
Punjab 37 % NWFP 14 %
Sindh 37 % Baluchistan 12 %
The comparison of these two tables reveals that:
Province Percentage Share in Existing Water Resources Percentage Share in
Future Water Resources
Punjab 47.65 % 37 %
Sindh 41.55 % 37 %
NWFP 7.5 % 14 %
Baluchistan 3.3 % 12 %

The Kala Bagh Dam

The Kalabagh Dam (KBD) is proposed to be located on the River Indus at about 120 miles downstream of Tarbela Dam, 92 miles downstream the confluence of Kabul and Indus Rivers and 16 miles upstream of the existing Jinnah Barrage. The site is a narrow and deep channel extending over 5-mile distance where the river is about 1,300 feet wide. It is 770 miles away from Arabian Sea while the length of the river is 984 miles from Arabian Sea. It is a place where river is enters in the plain areas.

• First time the Kala Bagh Dam was proposed in 1953
• In 1975 Ms. A.C. A Consultant has prepared feasibility report of Kala Bagh Dam.
• In 1982 the earlier feasibility report was reviewed. Objection of NWFP on height of Dam is 925 feet is reduced up to 918 feet. The new report was presented to WAPDA in June, 1988.
• Sindh Assembly has passed resolution on 25th June 1990 against Kala Bagh Dam.
• NWFP Assembly has 4th time passed resolution against Kala Bagh Dam on 9th October 1991.
• The main reason for anti Kala Bagh Dam at NWFP is Back Water effect which effect Noushera, Peshawer and Merdan.
• Capacity of Kala Bagh Dam is 6.1 MAF.
• The annual generation of energy would amount to about 11,200 GWh, generated by hydro power plant of 2400 MW capacity. This capacity may ultimately be increased to 3600 MW, making KBD one of the largest hydro generation dams in Asia.
• The total project cost covering civil and power facilities, as estimated by the consultants at June 1987 prices, will be about US $ 5.153 billion, including the cost of interest during construction, customs duties, taxes and price contingencies"

(Note: At the present day’s construction costs, the dam is expected to cost around US $ 8 billion)
Salient Features of KBD Project
1 The Main Reservoir of the Dam
Total Storage 7.9 MAF (9,750 million cu m)
Usable Storage
Dead Storage 6.1 MAF (7,550 million cu m)
1.8 MAF( 2,200 million cu m)
Retention Level El.915-ft above MSL (278.9 m)
Min Reservoir Level El.825-ft above MSL (251.5 m)
Area at Retention Level 105,000 acres ; (164 sq.m=425 sq. km)
3 Main Dam
Crest Elevation
Crest Width El. 940-ft above MSL (286.5 m)
50 ft (15.2 m)
Max Height 260 ft (79.2)
Length (overall) 4375 ft
11000 ft 3350 m)
4 Catchment Area of the Dam 110,500 sq. miles
5 Fill Volume
Main + Closure Embankments
Intake Embankments
Right Auxiliary Embankments
Guide Bunds, Cofferdams etc

5. million cu m
5.9 million cu m
4. million cu. m
10.5 million cu m
6. Overflow Spillway
Sill Level El. 860-ft above MSL (262.1 m)
No and size of radial gates
PMF Discharge 10 No. 50ft (15.2 m ) w x 55 ft (16.8m )
0.98 million cusecs (1.07 million cusecs)

7. Project Cost
Based on Cost at June 1987 US $ 2.65 billion
Present Estimated Cost US $ 8-10 billion

8. Orifice Spillway
Sill level
No and size of radial gates 785 ft (239.3m) SPD
10 No. 38 ft (11.6 m) w x 22 ft


10. Convertible conduits
No & Size of Conduits
Average Length

No & Size of gates
Upstream bulkhead
Upstream radial
Downstream radial
4-36 ft (11 m) diameter
940 ft (286.5 m)
Steel with concrete encasement

1-36 ft (11 m) w x 36 ft (11m)
4-36 ft (11 m) w x 36 ft (11m)
2-35 ft (10.7m) w x 36 ft (11m)

11. Power Facilities
No and size of intake gates
Upstream bulkhead
Upstream radial

2-36 ft (11m) w x 36 ft (11m)
8-36 ft (11m) w x 36 ft (11m)
12. Penstocks
Size and average length
36 ft (11m) diameter, 850 ft
Steel with concrete encasement

13 Power Station
No. of Units
Installed Capacity
Turbines, design head
Generators, nominal/maximum rating

8 (initial); 12 (ultimate)
2400 MW (initial); 3600 MW (ultimate)
Francis Type, 170 ft (51.8m)
13.1 Irrigation Benefits
Increase in future annual irrigation supplies (Average)

4.5 MAF (5.500 million Cum)

13.3 Energy generation
Extra at Tarbela
Power Available (initial eight units)
Max Power
Dependable Power
11413 million kWh
236 million kWh
11749 kWh

2776 MW
1463 MW
1. Rashed A. Saeed, KBD Project; A Scientific Analysis, Print Associates Int’l Islamabad, 1995
2. Kazi Abrar, KBD The Sindh Case, Creative Communications, Hyderabad, 1998

• As per the 1991 WAPDA estimates, the total population displaced by the KBD will be 83000 (48500 will be from Punjab and 34500 will be from NWFP).
Expected Benefits of the KBD Project
The Kalabagh Dam (KBD) has been pleaded by WAPDA as the only possible choice for saving the food and energy starved nation of Pakistan. In this respect, it has worked out the following beneficial aspects of the project:
Enhancement in the Irrigation Water Supply
• The dam is designed to have a left bank canal, off-taking from the left bank high level outlet works of KBD. It will have a capacity of 15,000 cusecs, will be 170 miles long, and will lift about 6.65 MAF water annually from the Kalabagh Dam reservoir.
• Through this canal, the province of Punjab wishes to irrigate its 371,000 acres of land, on both the banks, of Mianwali, Khushab and Jehlum Districts.
• To meet the irrigation water requirements, the canal is planned to provide 0.78 MAF in Rabi and 1.23 MAF in Kharif to the new cultivated area, and will discharge the balance 4.64 MAF water into Jehlum at Rasul Barrage to meet shortage of Mangla command, thus fulfilling water shortages in the Mangla command.
• Another canal was proposed on the Right Bank of the dam, to irrigate certain areas of NWFP (Pukhtunkhwa), but it has been discarded now, because WAPDA considers it unfeasible.
Enhancement in the Power Generation Capacity
• The KBD is expected to have 8 units of 300 MW capacity initially, which will be ultimately increased to 12 units of 300 MW capacity. The power expected to be generated out of the KBD is as under:
Capacity (MW) Generation (GWH)
2400 11413
2800 13216
3200 15103
3600 16990
• It is further believed by WAPDA that KBD will generate 336 million units of energy and 600 MW of peaking power by working in conjunction with Tarbela.
(Reference: WAPDA Brief to Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power, November 1997)
Reservations of NWFP (Pukhtunkhwa)
• NWFP objects to the KBD because, a sizable number of its people will be displaced, and a vast area of its land will either be submerged under the reservoir or rendered waterlogged.
• In the original design of KBD, the reservoir elevation was desired at 925-ft above MSL, at which the water level in River Kabul was feared to rise by 2.5-ft at Nowshera, immediately after construction and to the ultimate 9.5-ft after 30 years of the project implementation.
• To account for this, and as protection against damages in these areas, WAPDA had proposed to erect 25-ft high dykes around the Kabul River, so as to protect the cities from the water’s spillover.
• Due to the high risk factor for the flooding eventuality and subsequent drainage problems, the Government of NWFP seriously objected the designs of the project and conducted investigations in 1985 to assess the possible impacts of KBD on the Peshawar valley.
• At the 925-ft reservoir elevation, the following major impacts were expected to occur:
i. 60000 acres of area will be affected by the 1 in 5 year floods
ii. 16 number unprotected villages will be required to be acquired and their population resettled
iii. 64933 persons will require resettlement elsewhere.
iv. Another 131000 persons will be requiring protection through 24 feet high dykes
v. A total of 28 miles long flood protection dykes will be constructed along the Kabul River, out of which 18 miles length will be specifically required to protect the Nowshera town alone.
vi. The dykes retained water was feared to contribute to the overall rise in water table in the immediate vicinity of the reservoir.
• Following facilities were feared to be permanently submerged in the reservoir in a 1 in 100 year flood, and therefore required relocation:
i. 20.45 km of National Highway, 2 km Nowshera-Mardan road.
ii. 10 km Nizampur Attock road, 25 km Pir Sabak-Jehangira road
iii. 6.92-km Railway line between Khairabad – Nowshera
iv. 5.43 km railway line between Nowshera – Mardan
v. Bridge at Khushal Garh
vi. Khairabad Bridge at Attock required strengthening and modifications
vii. Jehangira Bridge required raising by 15 ft
viii. Nowshera Railway Bridge required raising by 6-ft
ix. Nowshera Mardan Bridge required raising by 6-ft
x. Telecommunication, power lines and gas lines also required relocation
• WAPDA has revised the designs and reduced the reservoir elevation to 915-ft above MSL in July 1986. And declared the designs to be safe against all the evils of the previous design.
• The validity of WAPDA’s statement of a mere 10-ft reduction in reservoir height to solve all the problems is questionable and worth detailed investigation, the people of NWFP doubt the predictions of WAPDA’s experts due to their previously ill-conceived designs of KBD, and hold strong apprehensions against the real objectives of the project.
• The people of pakhtunkhuwa still believe that:
i. The dam will raise the water level of River Indus throughout the Attock gorge, right through the Haro river confluence and upto the Akora Khattak on Kabul River. And resultantly, the Nowshera City, inhibited by 200,000 people falling on both the left and right banks of Kabul River, will be under severe threat of flooding. And in the long term of about 50 years time, the Nowshera City and its adjoining areas will become waterlogged swamplands, due to the seepage from the raised water level.
ii. The Mardan and Swabi SCARP projects, covering 123,000 acres of irrigated land, will face certain threat of failure, because of their outfalls being lower than the high flood levels in KBD reservoir.
iii. WAPDA has prepared a water release pattern of the post KBD irrigation supplies, which will have an adverse impact on the CRBC project, as it does not provide enough water for undertaking the lift components of CRBC in future. Similarly, the CRBC is also likely to be affected for long periods during the construction of the project and during the first ponding of the reservoir
Reservations of Baluchistan
• The largest province of Pakistan, Baluchistan, does not touch River Indus and is not a riparian in the strictest sense. Still the Pat Feeder canal from Guddu Barrage, with 3400 cusecs of water, irrigates about 300,000 acres in the province. And with a recent request of Baluchistan Government to remodel the Pat Feeder canal, the flow is further expected to be increased to 6000 cusecs, irrigating a further 200,000 acres.
• Baluchistan’s opposition to KBD is therefore based on its apprehension that future requests for more water from River Indus will meet little success if KBD over stretches the demand of water in Indus River system.
• With the revised distribution of water in the post KBD scenario, Baluchistan fears a further reduction in its share of irrigation water usage, which is already very low.
Reservations of Sindh
• Sindhis believe that KBD left bank canal will divert the waters of Indus to Rasulpur-Qadirabad sector in the upper reaches of Punjab, and the whole of River Indus waters will be left to cater to the needs of Punjab only, whenever their is shortage of water in Jehlum, or in the eventuality of India appropriating all the waters of Jehlum, or Chenab or both
• Sindh, which is a lower riparian of River Indus, has constantly felt threatened by Punjab and has bitterly disputed the figures of water availability advanced by WAPDA, citing legal, economic, ecological, geomorphologic and many other reasons for opposing KBD.
• From the past experience of the operation of Taunsa-Punjnad and Chashma-Jehlum canal, people in Sindh perceive that Punjab plans to allow the civil works or the canal system to be constructed as projects of national survival and run the surplus water for a few years to establish precedence and develop water users, who will then apply pressure to keep the water supply running.
• When the water rights are well established in Punjab, they can force the lower riparian (or don’t even ask) to accept the fait accompli and keep the water supply running since the tap is in the hands of the upper riparian.
Why No Kala Bagh Dam???

1. There is no water in Indus River.

The amount of water flowing through the River Indus has been a point of acute disagreement between the planners of KBD project and other impartial engineers.

Seasonal and Annual Flows in Western Rivers (MAF)
Years Kharif Flow Rabi Total Flows
1922-23 121.48 25.96 147.44
1923.24 130.41 23.55 154.01
1924-25 109.51 20.13 129.69
1925-26 100.51 18.22 118.73
1926-27 99.16 18.15 117.31
1927-28 90.42 20.41 110.83
1928-29 108.22 22.09 130.31
1929-30 97.20 26.94 124.14
1930-31 117.13 19.73 136.86
1931-32 101.10 22.30 123.40
1932-33 107.62 17.64 125.26
1933-34 125.68 18.77 144.44
1934-35 108.19 18.67 126.86
1935-36 116.81 22.28 139.09
1936-37 124.91 20.91 145.82
1937-38 110.10 21.34 131.44
1938-39 125.36 22.59 147.95
1939-40 127.24 17.54 144.78
1940-41 107.52 15.58 120.10
1941-42 107.75 25.92 133.67
1942-43 143.57 23.51 167.08
1943-44 127.39 19.61 147.00
1944-45 116.08 20.10 136.16
1945-46 131.64 18.86 150.50
1946-47 110.44 18.42 128.86
1947-48 101.36 23.31 124.69
1948-49 132.15 23.57 155.72
1949-50 132.29 23.71 156.00
1950-51 151.28 20.38 171.66
1951-52 93.60 20.21 113.81
1952-53 112.33 17.97 130.30
1953-54 116.31 26.77 143.08
1954-55 119.98 20.27 140.25
1955-56 107.51 25.02 132.53
1956-57 131.92 25.46 157.38
1957-58 123.0 28.10 151.10
1958-59 124.47 34.09 158.56
1959-60 154.74 32.05 186.79
1960-61 124.97 20.74 145.71
1961-62 119.58 20.93 140.51
1962-63 89.96 19.85 109.81
1963-64 113.40 21.66 135.06
1964-65 116.11 22.32 138.43
1965-66 117.81 21.09 138.98
1966-67 116.84 23.83 140.47
1967-68 120.43 25.76 146.19
1968-69 115.63 23.21 138.85
1969-70 114.49 19.77 134.26
1970-71 90.27 15.90 106.17
1971-72 88.40 15.74 104.14
1972-73 101.62 24.45 126.09
1973-74 144.97 19.12 164.09
1974-75 79.47 18.27 97.74
1975-76 116.30 23.22 139.52
1976-77 116.86 18.43 135.28
1977-78 104.36 23.10 127.46
1978-79 137.45 26.03 163.47
1979-80 108.84 23.14 131.98
1980-81 109.81 26.58 136.39
1981-82 117.69 22.93 140.62
1982-83 97.10 25.27 122.38
1983-84 128.28 21.67 149.96
1984-85 115.99 18.93 134.92
1985-86 91.66 26.04 117.70
1986-87 116.38 30.27 146.67
1987-88 111.79 29.28 141.07
1988-89 136.56 24.84 101.42
1989-90 102.01 29.31 131.31
1990-91 130.97 35.14 166.12
1991-92 141.53 30.57 172.10
1992-93 138.62 31.06 169.68
1993-94 104.67 22.80 127.47
Mean 115.24 22.03 137.27
Median 116.20 21.66 137.64
Maximum 154.74
(1959-60) 35.09
(1958-59) 186.79
Reference: Surface Water Availability for Further Development, WAPDA, December 1994
• From the table five parameters are evident
i. Maximum flow of the 3 western rivers 186.79 MAF evidenced in 1959-60
ii. Minimum flow of the 3 western rivers 100.31 MAF evidenced in 1974-75
iii. Average (per year) flow of the 3 western is 137.27 MAF
iv. 4 out 5 years flow of 3 western rivers is 123.59 MAF
• A closer analysis of the flow pattern reveals that super floods occur approximately once in 5 years time, which may jack up the average flow to the respectable 137.27 MAF per year, but in the remaining four years, availability of water remain around 123.59 MAF only, or lower.
• In all its calculations of the availability of water for KBD, WAPDA has insisted upon the average flow figures i.e. 137.27 MAF, whereas the criteria for designing a storage dam is of using the 4 out of 5 years flows, giving an 80% probability of water coming down the rivers to enable its storage. By adopting this criteria for our storage reservoirs, we end with a figure of 123.59 MAF available in our Indus River system.
• If in the above table of 69 years flow, the 9 years of exceptionally low flows of less than 120.0 MAF are disregarded, the next consecutive 2 years of low flows are 1931-32 (123.59 MAF) and 1932-33 (125.26 MAF), with an average of 124.4 MAF, which is very close to the 123.59 MAF, the figure of 4 out of 5 years water availability (80% probability flow).
• To support this theory, the US Supreme Court Ruling is " to be available in a practical sense the supply must be fairly dependable, storage dams cannot be filled on expectations of average flows which do not come, nor on recollections of unusual flows which have passed down the stream in previous year".
• Considering the Indus Water Apportionment Accord to be the benchmark, the simple and correct arithmetic of our water resources availability in the Indus River System should read as follows:
• Availability of Water in 3 Western Rivers (below rim station) 123.59 MAF
• Requirement of the 4 Provinces (according to the Water Accord) 114.35 MAF
• Release below Kotri (provisionally agreed in Water Accord) 10.00 MAF
• Remainder -0.76 MAF
• The negative balance in the calculation shows that, there is virtually not enough water in River Indus, to be stored for usage in later part of any year. And if storage is tried, it will only be at the cost of the downstream riparian, depriving them of their legitimate rights of water use.
• Contrary to realizing this fact, WAPDA has been publicizing the news of floods in River Indus and its breaching of protective bunds at various places, to try create a perception that enormous quantities of water go "waste" every year, and that if this water was stored in KBD, Pakistan would not only be saved from the damages of these high flows, but its agriculture would take a giant leap towards self-sufficiency. It has been argued that 34.84 MAF of water pass below the Kotri Barrage every year to the sea, and is therefore going waste
• To clarify the misconception of exceptionally high discharges of 34.84 MAF below Kotri, the following points needs to be closely followed:
i. At present all the barrages and the canals of Pakistan can take about 105 MAF against the allocated 114.35 MAF under the Indus Water Apportionment Accord 1991.
The remaining 9.35 MAF ends up on its way to the sea through Kotri. And this will eliminate if the irrigation network is completed to accommodate this additional allocated flow.
ii. Outflow from the eastern rivers of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi into Indus is about 6.97 MAF. Since all three rivers are committed to India, and with the progressive development going on in India, these flows will be reduced to zero (except in the few years of exceptionally high flood season flows), thereby reducing the Kotri discharges by that amount.
iii. As per the Indus Water Treaty, India has also been given an unrestricted use of water to cultivate 1343477 acres from the western rivers, in addition to all the rights of eastern river. India, to date, has utilized 6.75 MAF and will draw another 4.79 MAF from the system, to further reduce the flows at Kotri by that amount.
iv. The 34.83 MAF flow to sea is in fact the mean discharge, and is bound to be lower by 10.0 to 14 MAF in any specific year.
• The correct calculations in this respect will be:
Waste flows below Kotri Barrage = 34.84 MAF
i. Additional allocations under Indus Water Accord 1991 = 9.35 MAF
ii. India’s flow in the Eastern Rivers = 6.97 MAF
iii. India additional water rights under the Indus Water Treaty = 4.79 MAF
iv. Yearly flow under Kotri barrage (lower by14 MAF than average) = 14.0 MAF
Net available flow below Kotri Barrage = - 0.27 MAF
• Hence, the net available water to flow to the sea reduces to a negative balance, leaving nothing for storage into KBD. Therefore, the news of floods "wasting enormous amount of water" does not hold true
• Still for people, who consider the flood water to be a mere waste do not realize that there is no mechanical method of removing millions of tons of deposited silt from the river beds of the barrages, and it is the force of water from these high floods that helps in washing away much of the accumulated silt.
KBD; The Sindh Case by Kazi Abrar, 1998
Look before you leap by Abdul Majeed Kazi & A.N.G Abbassi

2. Geophysical and Geological Environment of Kalabagh Dam

• To fully comprehend the KBD impacts in the long run, its geophysical and geological environment alongwith the mechanics of water flow through soils needs to be understood in more detail.
• Two important pointers appear in the topographic view of the proposed site of KBD i.e., the salt range and the location of the five oil fields near the proposed dam site.
• To be able to visualize the role of the salt range in the KBD’s feasibility, it is necessary to magnify and elaborate the section of the ground between the Murree thrust and Salt Range thrust.
Figure of Earth Crust under the Proposed Kalabagh Lake

Salt Range KALABAGH LAKE Thickness in Meters
Thrust (Maximum Water Pressure of 70 Tones/sq.m) Recent
S Conglomerate, Coarse Stone, Clay, Sandstone 600 Miocene
A Clay, Limestone, Sandstone, Coal 250 Tertiary
L Sandstone, Argillites 130 Cretaceous
T Limestone, Dolomites 200 Jurassic
Marl, Limestone, Fauna 300 Triassic
S Argillites, Sandstone 20 Indeterminate
A Glacial Conglomerates 200 Permian
L Argil. Limestone 300 Carbonifier
T Lime-Sandstone 300 Cambrian
Upperfold of the Salt Range Decollement

3. Location of the Dam on a Fault line
• The proposed KBD site is situated in an area known to have fault lines and fractures.
• The LANDSAT and SPOT imagery of the proposed KBD site indicates a right lateral fault known as Kalabagh Fault and another known as Kharjawan Fault, cutting the KBD site NE-SW between Indus and Kharjawan Nala on the Right Bank.
• Geologically, the tectonic plates known as Pak Plate and the Asian Plate (Tibetan Plateau) are both greatly compressed and tectonically active.
• It is a known fact that the compression and collision of moving earth plates cause mountains to rise, and the Himalayan and Karakoram Mountains continue to rise by a few millimeters each year due to the same compression. Such a phenomenon is bound to create instability in the area to a substantial degree, thereby making the dam structure prone to seismic damages in future.
• It has also been observed that large dams induce earthquakes, because of their large water masses, and plays an important role in intensifying the impacts of small-scale earthquakes.
4. Site with Poor Capacity-Inflow Ratio
• The selection of site for a dam and its hydraulic design depends on the capacity-inflow (CI) ratio, and a favorable CI ratio indicates a longer life of the reservoir.
• For KBD, the capacity-inflow ratio is 6.1/90 = 0.07 i.e. 7% with respect to the live storage of the reservoir (for both the Indus and Soan limbs). Since Soan River is an Indirect limb of Indus, therefore the actual capacity inflow ratio for the main Indus stem would be 3.5/90= 0.04 = 4%, which is very poor, for the design of a storage dam.
5. Disastrous Sedimentation
• Sedimentation and silting are a regular feature of irrigation structures, weirs and damsThe high sediment load carried by River Indus has an important bearing on the design and operating rules of the KBD. This becomes more important, because a number of towns, upstream of Attock, are sensitive to the flood levels, feared to be aggravated with the increased sedimentation overtime.
• In the case of Kalabagh Dam, the hydraulic drop will be far greater than that of Tarbela, or even Mangla, which will consequently accelerate the sedimentation process.
• The siltation process at the reservoir of KBD is feared to be further accelerated due to the diminished velocity from water diversion into the Ghazi Barotha channel, and the reduction in hundred Monsoon days in River Indus to fifty days.
• On top of all this, the silt delta in Tarbela reservoir is travelling at a rate of ½ mile per year, and is feared to ultimately get deposited in the KBD reservoir, thus reducing the life span of the dam.
.6. Silt Clearance Problems
• The KBD is proposed to have an orifice spillway, 40-ft below the minimum water level of the reservoir. And is believed to work as the ultimate remedy for all the sedimentation problems.
• A significant relation of sediment sluicing has been found with the occurrence of piping action under the foundations of the dam.
• Given the 40-ft lower orifice spillway to exclude the sediment of the reservoir, and the geological formations (discussed earlier), it is feared that the recurring sluicing operations would result into piping actions under the dam footing, thereby putting the stability of structure at stake.

7. Uncertain & Inefficient Mode of Operation
• There is no established mode of reservoir operation to sluice the silt, and the recommended mechanism of lower draw down, longer sluicing period, and higher escapages will make the dam act more like a barrage, apart from wasting precious stored water.
• In any case, the stored water in the reservoir will have to be emptied each year for the removal of the silt in May, which will be a significant loss of valuable stored water.
• And during this process of emptying, sluicing and refilling (3 months approx.) operation, the power generation would be adversely affected, and would ultimately depend on the normal discharge of the river (after the live storage is exhausted), making the dam generate power on the run-off the river, or thermal systems.
8. Population to be Displaced
• There had been confusing figures about the number of people to be dislocated by KBD. WAPDA has been claiming a figure of 83000 persons, with 48500 belonging to Punjab and 38500 from NWFP. Whereas, independent observers claim a figure of more than 100,000 persons, to be the direct affectees of the dam.
• In addition, there will be people indirectly dependent on the water of River Indus, like boatmen, herdsmen etc, who will loose their livelihood because of the KBD.
9. Increase in Surface Water Salinity
• Water of the Indus River system carry a variety of salts that are left on the surface of irrigated land, while the irrigation water filters down or evaporates. To comprehend this, we need to understand the relation of irrigation water suitability to that of its salt contents.
• Soil scientists believe that, when the contents of salt deposits increase to about 2.5%, the productivity of the land is visibly impaired and when it reaches a level of 7.0 %, no biological life is then possible in the soils.
10. Flooding in Nowshera Valley
• It has been repeatedly stated that the water for KBD will cause severe flooding in Nowshera valley, and has been constantly refuted by WAPDA through various tactics.
• The flooding history of Nowshera describes the flood of 28th and 29th August, 1929, as having reached a maximum of 951-ft level above the mean sea level. The hydrologists have worked out the average return period of such a flood as 1 in 100 years.
• A relatively lesser intensity of flood was experienced in 1978, which touched the heights of 945-ft above mean sea level. (Ref: Dr. Kennedy Report).11.
11. Drainage/Water-logging Problems in Nowshera
• The raised water level in the River Kabul is feared to create excessive drainage problems in the area and lead to increasing and ruinous waterlogging.
• In the originally designed dykes plan, it was provided to use sludge pumps to drain out any rain water accumulating behind the 25-ft dykes, and which was declared an impractical solution.
In the revised scenario as well, no notice has been taken of the problem and little practical solutions identified for its remedy.
• In addition, the raised water table in River Kabul will ultimately seep into the foundations of the buildings, both in and around Nowshera city, and render the old as well as new constructions habitat-risky. This effect will not only result in the desertification of the important Nowshera Cantonment, but also the historical villages lying on the banks of River Kabul.
12. Failure of Mardan/Swabi SCARPs
• The negative impacts of KBD will extend deep into the lands of Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera and Mardan districts, and will significantly reduce the productivity of these only cultivable lands of NWFP. The destruction of such valuable and scarce assets in a province with limited resources would have catastrophic repercussions on the life of the people of the province. And the people in the said districts will not be able to support life in their ancient habitats, and would be forced to migrate to other places.
13. Effect on "KATCHO" in Sindh
• During its voyage through Sindh, the River Indus inundates about 1.9 million acres of rich and fertile land, known as "Katcho", which averages about 5 miles in width for the whole 600 miles length. The "Katcho" contains 600,000 acres of thick riverine forests and about 1.3 million acres of rich grazing land, out of which about 600,000 acres is brought under plough to raise various cash crops.
• The life at "Katcho" depends entirely upon the inundation of River Indus. And whenever, the flow reduces to an insufficient level, so as not been able to submerge this land, the crops, food and fodder are all affected and even wells for drinking water run low in all this area. This was experienced in the 1985-86 drought year, when the "Katcho" was not inundated, forcing many families to migrate to other areas for want of food and living.
• With an unnatural storage on River Indus, the surface moisture in "Katcho" will be lost, resulting in soil degradation, salinity and wind erosion.
The soil erosion causes decline in succession of plants, and it is feared that in "Katcho", the whole forest belt will become extinct in about 50 years time.
• Devastation in "Katcho" will not only force the migration of directly dependant 100,000 inhabitants, but will also severely affect another 200,000 persons attached to the trade of the riverine forests.

14. Effect on Mangrove Forests in Sindh
• In the Indus delta, about 650,000 acres of mangrove forest, the sixth largest in the world, lie dependent on the nutrients from the silt carried by the waters of River Indus.
• According to an IUCN paper of 1991 "The mangroves are the principle components of the delta ecosystem. Without them and the nutrients they recycle, and the protection they provide, the other components of ecosystem will not survive. Mangrove estuaries provide ideal nursery grounds for many commercial fish species , especially prawns".
• Another IUCN report on the Korangi Ecosystem, 1991, state; "The other wildlife species supported by mangroves is porpoises, jackals, wild bears, reptiles, migratory fowl bids and three species of dolphins. If the mangrove habitat is destroyed, the continued existence in the Indus delta of all those will be threatened".
• IUCN estimates the mangrove estuaries (like those of Indus delta) to be 4 to 5 times more productive than tropical estuaries without mangroves.
• Apart from this, the Mangrove forests have the following advantages as well:
i. They provide timber resource for buildings and fuel wood for the vast population living in coastal areas.
ii. They provide fodder and grazing land for cattle, goats, camels etc.
iii. They provide opportunity to hatch 44 different species of fish in the delta area
iv. They provide livelihood to 85000 fisherman
• Like the "Katcho", the Mangrove forests totally depend on water in the River Indus, and with any reduction in the volume of sweet-water into their roots, they will dry up, resulting into the salt-water intrusion, and subsequent soil-erosion, over a short period of time.
15. Salt Water Intrusion in Sindh
• The flow of water in River Indus effectively checks salt-water intrusion from the Arabian Sea into the flood plains of Indus. During the past few decades, as the storage and consumption of water has continued to increase in the northern plains, seawater has started flowing up in to Indus and its estuaries.
• With the reverse flow of salt water into the southern part of Sindh, the sweet water aquifer gets contaminated, adding to the salinity of irrigated lands.
• A symposium conducted by Pakistan National Institute of Oceanography and National Science Foundation in October 1982 at Karachi established that salt-water intrusion into the plains of lower Sindh is directly related to the decrease of flow in the River Indus.
• To counter the problem, 10 MAF have tentatively been provided for in the Indus Water Accord 1991.
• Until adequate water is released to Indus downstream of Kotri, it is feared that the seawater intrusion, combined with raised level of the Arabian Sea, will make Thatta, Badin and southern parts of Hyderabad District waterlogged marshlands.
Alternatives for Kala Bagh Dam
1. Applying scientific tools for agriculture
• The arguments for the dam are all camouflaged behind the concern for more food for the galloping population of Pakistan. The logic voiced is: more water, more lands under plough, more food grain. But more food grain can also be produced by:

i) Increasing the yield per acre.
ii) Better utilization of water resources, and
iii) Better utilization of land.
• Pakistan grows around 18 million tons of wheat per year and imports roughly 2 million tons. The average yield per acre is 0.81 tons against 0.97 tons in neighbouring India and 0.87 tons for the world. So is it for each and every crop in Pakistan. A few administrative steps like streamlining the supply of quality seed at proper time; sparing a pittance for research on improved seeds in our excellent agricultural universities; eliminating the use of spurious pesticides, making fertilizers available at affordable rates and mounting a dedicated training campaign for our Haris in the proper use of pesticides and fertilizers, could increase the yield per acre, while costing only a fraction of the Rs. 500 billion needed for the Kalabagh dam. And this is only the empirical side. The effect on our agrarian society and agricultural economy when all these concerted inputs are applied at the designated sectors will be tremendous.

2. Lining of Canals and water courses

• Of the 105 MAF at present made available at the canal heads an estimated 60% is lost through evaporation and seepage as follows: 15 MAF is lost in major river beds, 10 MAF in canals and minors, 10 MAF in watercourses and 25 MAF on farms.
• Seepage through beds of major rivers is irretrievable but technology is on hand to greatly reduce seepage in canals, minors and watercourses by lining them with cement or bricks. This will save an enormous quantity of water apart from eliminating the scourge of water logging that is devouring lands in southern Punjab and Sindh at an alarming rate.

3. Proper usage of available water

• Our uninformed farmers use far more water than needed for cropping. Massive education in proper use of water along with modern techniques of land levelling can save substantial quantum of water.
• In canal-irrigated areas lands are flooded in order to water the crops. Keeping the future shortage in perspective, it is imperative to start experimenting with drip and sprinkler systems of irrigation on selected areas of Sindh and Punjab. The results are bound to be tremendous.
• Water seeps underground and charges the aquifer. In Punjab where 80% underground water is sweet, some 350,000 pumps have prevented the level to rise, while helping to increase crop intensity to about 120%. But southern Punjab and 80% of Sindh have seawater in their aquifer and the rising of water level, from zero to ten feet, due to seepage has been catastrophic. When the level reaches about 3 feet, no vegetation can grow. Pakistan loses about 100,000 acres each year to waterlogging.

4. Need Based Cultivation of crops

• There are 73 sugar factories in Pakistan (39 Punjab, 29 Sindh, 5 NWFP) with a production capacity of 5.5 million tons (when the total national consumption is 2.9 million tons) use 2.5 million acres for sugarcane cultivation (1998). Sugarcane needs much more water than other crops and its yield in Pakistan is an abysmal 350 maunds against 800 to 1000 maunds in neighbouring India. If the greed for more sugar factories was checked and a determined effort mounted on per acre yield, Pakistan could easily save a million acres and substantial quantity of water.

5. Mangroves forests also a source of economy

• Water flowing into the sea is not a waste. There has been a concerted effort by Punjab and WAPDA to make us believe that 38 MAF go waste each year by flowing into the sea. That the figure is erroneous can be gauged from the simple subtraction of water allocated to the provinces (114.35 MAF) from the average flow of the three western rivers (137 MAF).
• The mangrove forest, the life of which is directly proportional to the quantity of Indus water flowing into the sea is home to a million species of birds, fish and insects. The fish trade alone earned $280 million in 1998 in forex and twice as much in local markets. The industry employs at least 80,000 people. Another about 200,000 people living on the seacoast are dependent on the mangroves for wood and fodder.

5. Indus River save Port Qasim

• Safety of both ports of Karachi from silting, kacha lands downstream Kotri, forests, lakes, drinking water for cities and many more solid economic reasons indicate that water flowing into the sea is far more productive than used for irrigation.

6. Equal Capicity holder Basha Dam
An equal capacity dam at Basha will increase the life of Tarbela by at least 20 years and also increase its peak generating capacity by 2 to 4 months by slowly releasing water into Tarbela. A dam at Basha will also have superior generating capacity (14,500 GWH) against Kalabagh's 11,200 GWH.

Proposed Projects of Water Resources

Source: WAPDA-Vision 2025
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