WAPDA endeavouring to carve balance between demand & supply

KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
July 03 - July 09, 2006

Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hamid feels strongly for the strict implementation of the declared policy of mega dams in the country and the rapid generation expansion plan prepared by the WAPDA to be completed this year.

Any deviation from this program, he said, would lead to serious consequences as the power generation capacity of the existing dams was fast depleting as the demand for power generation was on the rise at a much faster rate.

In a brief to PAGE Tariq Hamid spelled out an overall energy scenario which needed to be tackled on war-footings.

The current power generation capacity in Pakistan, he said, has so far been well above the peak demand of 13,375 MW with installed capacity of 17,350 MW. This also includes WAPDA's hydro thermal generation as well as supply from IPPs and nuclear (CHASMA) PAEC.

However, the scene is going to drastically change in the coming years starting from July this year onwards building up a steady decline and shortfall to reach a crisis point in the future, if timely actions are not truly implemented.

Apart from the mega dams, WAPDA has already chalked out a comprehensive 10-year plan in this regard.

The household sector has been the largest consumer of electricity accounting for 44.2 per cent of total electricity consumption followed by industries 31.1 per cent, agriculture 14.3 per cent, other government sectors 7.4 per cent, commercial 5.5 per cent and street lights 0.7 per cent.

Keeping in view the past trend and the future development, WAPDA has also revised its load forecast to eight per cent per annum as against previous estimates of five per cent on average.

The gap between firm supply and peak hours demand has already been shrunk to three digit (440 MW) during this fiscal and will slip into negative columns next year (-441 MW) and further intensify to (-1,457 MW) during the financial year 2006-07.

The difference between firm supply and peak demand is estimated at 5,529 MW by the year 2009-10 when firm electricity supply will stand at 15,055 MW against peak demand of 20,584 MW.

The Vision-2025 programme includes planning and implementation of 8 priority projects and subsequently initiation of feasibility studies for 25 more projects. The government had earmarked 4 billion rupees in the budget 2001-2002 for 8 priority projects including Gomal Zam Dam, Mirani Dam, Raising Mangla Dam, Kachhi Canal, Greater Thal Canal I, Thal Reservoir, Rainee Canal, Satpara Dam and RBOD. Nearly one billion rupees had also been allocated for initiating feasibility studies of 25 other water resources development projects.

Raising Mangla Dam was one of the 8 priority projects to be implemented. When completed, the project will provide additional water storage of about 3.7 MAF. The project at the year 2001 price level is estimated to cost 55 billion rupees. Of this 20 billion rupees will be spent on the resettlement of 40 to 50 thousand people anticipated to be displaced in addition to submergence of 25,000 acres of land and 6000 to 8000 houses adjacent to Mangla reservoir and Mirpur city due to construction of this project. In addition, there is a strong opposition from the people who are going to be displaced and also from the Government of Azad Kashmir against implementing this project.

The area of Mangla Dam reservoir falls in the Azad Kashmir, which is considered a disputed territory. To resolve this vital issue, the President of Pakistan visited India in mid July 2001.

Giving details of the projects, he said Malakand-III (81MW), Pehur (18MW) and combined cycle power plant at Faisalabad (450MW) are planned to be commissioned during the year 2007. Mangla Dam raising project would also add 150 MW capacity to the national grid by June 2007. Besides, Khan Khwar (72MW), Allai Khwar (121MW), Duber Khwar (130MW) and Kayal Khwar (130MW) are expected to be completed in 2008 along with Golan Gol (106MW) and Jinnah (96MW). Moreover, Matiltan (84MW), New Bong Escape (79MW) and Rajdhani (132MW) are expected by 2009 while Taunsa (120MW) is likely to be completed by 2010.

WAPDA has also planned to install a high efficiency combined cycle power plant at Baloki (450MW), which is expected to be completed by 2010. In addition, power plant 1 & 2 of 300 MW each at Thar Coal with the assistance of China are also planned to be commissioned in 2009, sources said. Moreover, efforts are also underway with China National Nuclear Corporation for the construction of a third nuclear power plant with a gross capacity of 325 MW at Chashma.

Wapda has also undertaken feasibility studies of several other dams. Nevertheless, small dams as proposed in Vision 2025 programme have their utility at the local level as they have limited storage capacity with relatively smaller life span due to silt.

The construction of Yugo and Skurdu dams on the River Indus in the near future would create enormous logistic problems and as such these projects should be considered only as long-term projects.

Likewise, the feasibility study of Bhasha Dam may take about three years. By that time, half of the construction of Kalabagh Dam could be completed whose feasibility has already been completed much earlier by taking foreign loans of over $100 million.

There is also a likelihood that the feasibility of Bhasha Dam may indicate that the proposed dam site is not suitable due to its location in a highly seismic area. Its construction will also require demolishing of a good part of Karakarum Highway which is very important for defence, trade and maintaining links with China.

The reconstruction of demolished Karakarum Highway at an alternate site will be extremely difficult and expensive. Furthermore, the location of Bhasha dam is over 300 km away from Kalabagh site and is in high mountain areas. Consequently, its cost of construction and development and transmission of electricity will be very high. Again, if it is feasible its construction may take another 8-10 years and by that time water storage may further decline unless Kalabagh Dam is completed at the earliest.

On rivers like Indus only big dams/reservoirs are constructed. Efforts should be made to study the potential of other sites on Indus like Dasu, Buriji, Patan, Thakot, etc, for future supply of water and hydropower. The water of eastern tributaries of River Indus namely Beas, Sutlej and Ravi has already been conceded to India under the Indus Water Treaty of 1960.

Only 2.23 maf of water from these rivers is discharged into the Indus river system. India will soon divert this water for its newly constructed Bhakra Dam on Sutlej and two other dams on Beas and Ravi. After the commissioning of these dams India will definitely not make this water available to the Indus river system.

Syed Ghaffar, Project Director Diamer Bhasha Dam, said that WAPDA and its consultants are busy at the dam's site carrying out the detailed engineering design of the already delayed project. The detailed engineering design of the dam will be completed in March 2008,.

He said the procurement of land for the dam site had already been started and Deputy Commission concerned issued order of procurement under Land Acquisition Act's Section 4 some days back. He said the dam's construction will start after the completion of detailed engineering design.

Answering a question regarding Chilas city, he said the project will not affect the Chilas city because the authority had already reduced the height of the dam's lake from 1170 meters to 1160 meters. He, however, said that the renowned Shangrila Hotel and Chilas runway will be drowned. He said the Wapda was constructing its site offices just outside the Chilas city, which clearly indicate that nothing will happen to the Chilas city.

He said the project will provide 6.4 MAF annual surface water storage for supplementing irrigation supplies during low flow periods, besides providing 4500 MW electricity generation capacity. He said this will reduce our dependence on IPPs and will result in saving millions of dollars.

Talking about the resettlement plan, he said the WAPDA has prepared a detailed plan regarding resettlement of the affectees. About 30 villages with 2,200 houses and 22,000 people will be affected, whereas 1,500 acres of agriculture land will submerge in the lake, he added. He said the WAPDA will pay 15 per cent more than the market price to the affectees.

The Project Director said that the construction of road from Hassan Abdal to the dam's site has also been planned and the authority was preparing tender documents for awarding the road construction. He further said that a modern vocational training institute will also be constructed in the area while construction of nine model colonies was also a part of the resettlement plan. He said US $ 450 million will be spent on the resettlement.

WAPDA has also intensified work on the three high-head hydropower projects on the tributaries of River Indus in NWFP to generate over 300 MW of electricity with an estimated cost of over Rs 18 billion.

The three projects are Duber Khwar, Khan Khwar and Allai Khwar and were under construction in the Kohistan area in the NWFP. The projects were temporary halted after the October 2005 devastating earthquake, which hit the Azad Jamu and Kashmir and some parts of Northern Areas and NWFP but now the work on the project was re-started.

Duber Khwar will generate 130 MW of electricity and its estimated cost was around Rs 4.17 billion, Khan Khwar will provide 72 MW of electricity with an estimated cost of Rs 5.362 billion and Allai Khwar will generate 121 MW of electricity and its estimated cost was Rs 8.57 billion. All the three projects will comprise tunnels in rugged mountains and power houses with small reservoirs.

Wapda officials said that the project was located on a right bank tributary of River Indus in District Kohistan, NWFP. It is some 320 km from Rawalpindi and about 400 km from Peshawar.

The project will generate 595 GWh of energy annually, which will mitigate the increasing power demand of the country. The project will implement several programs that will help improve the living standards in the area besides providing employment to the locals, the officials said.

Khan Khwar project was located in the Shangla district, NWFP and was about 245 km from Islamabad and 270 km from Peshawar. The intake structure was located on the right bank of Khan Khwar and the diverted water will cross the bridge between Khan Khwar Valley and Indus Valley. The power house will be located at the right bank of River Indus at an elevation of 586 metres. The project was also funded by the Abu Dhabi Development Fund. About its benefits, they said, it would generate 306 GWh of energy annually, which will result in improving the living standards of the locals.