ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan: The Need For Renewable Hydroelectricity And Dams – OpEd


Electricity generation is a major concern for much of the world, since demand is rising with the growing human population. Hydropower is electricity generated using the energy of moving water. Electricity generated from water is entirely renewable, since water is an abundant natural resource and no water is expended during the electricity generation process.

Hydroelectric energy is one of many sources of electricity in the world. The future of hydropower is looking like it will still be used in the next century or more, because the world will still have plenty of running water and the need for lots of non-polluting energy. It is clean, non-polluting, and prevents floods. World has built 45,000 large dams so far while we have built only two large dams with 7 per cent of world’s irrigated area which shows our criminal neglect in safeguarding our life giving waters.

According to an estimate the present volume of all storage reservoirs with gross capacity of 5 cu/km and above amounts to some 4900 cu/km. Out of this 1770 cu/km are in Asia with majority in China. China has some 83000 reservoirs built for various purposes, of which 330 are major in size. While in Pakistan we have two major and about a dozen smaller reservoirs.

A typical hydro plant is a system with three parts: an electric plant where the electricity is produced; a dam that can be opened or closed to control water flow; and a reservoir where water can be stored. In dams hydro power is produce via turbines. The water behind the dam flows through an intake and pushes against blades in a turbine, causing them to turn. The turbine spins a generator to produce electricity. The productive amount of electricity depends mainly on turbine movement by water flow.

The first hydroelectric power station in history started producing electricity in 1882, according to the Library of Congress web site. It was located in the state of Wisconsin, and used the Fox River for electrical generation.

The largest hydroelectric dam in the world is Rogun in Tajikistan. It stands over 1000 feet tall. Hydroelectric energy is one of many energy sources used in the world. In this report there is going to be information about how hydroelectric energy works, its pros and cons, where dams are built, and more about making electricity form water.

China generates more hydroelectricity than any other country, as indicated by the China Daily. It also states that about twenty percent of electricity worldwide is generated with hydroelectric. China has built power stations of this kind in other countries as well.

Pakistan has the 21st largest river in the world in terms of annual flow, many small rivers, and one of the largest irrigation systems in the world with abundant canals. There is proven potential to generate more than 40,000 MW by hydroelectric power alone. A large number of small dams can be easily constructed by entrepreneurs under a liberal public-private partnership policy. Hydroelectric power should be given top priority as it is the cleanest and cheapest form of energy.

Hydroelectric power is an important domestic primary energy resource, and hydroelectric potential is estimated at around 10,000 megawatts. Pakistan has two great river dams: the Tarbela Dam on the Indus in the North-West Frontier, near the early Buddhist site at Taxila, has an installed capacity of 2,164 megawatts and the Mangla Dam on the Jhelum, where Punjab borders Azad Kashmir has an installed capacity of 800 megawatts. The Warsak Dam on the Kabul River near Peshawar is smaller and now a day it is producing just 243MW.

These dams, along with a series of head works and barrages built by the British and expanded since independence, are of vital importance to the national economy and played an important role in calming the furious floodwaters of 1992, which devastated large areas in the northern highlands and the Punjab plains.

According to a 2006 World Bank report, Pakistan was fast moving from being a water-stressed country to a water-scarce country. Pakistan providentially had the largest irrigation system, but water fatalities from the system were the highest in the World, due to which its agricultural sector have been affecting badly as population of country increasing rapidly but as compare to population growing capacity of agricultural sectors reducing rapidly due to water shortage.

Manufacturing of more dams can resolve energy crisis besides that may prevent the economy of Pakistan from the irreversible damages to corps and precious lands by the continuous floods every year. Dam construction in India has seen staggering growth from 300 dams in 1947 to an astounding 4,000 large and small dams at the turn of the last century, half of which were built between 1971 and 1989. India is building 60 large and small dams on our three Western rivers in occupied Kashmir under the plea that Pakistan is wasting its waters into the sea.

For the second time since the Indus Water Treaty, 1960, Pakistan has challenged India over its construction of dams. Alarm and concern has been in the air along with efforts to thwart India’s water plans. The Kishanganga dam project will divert waters from Jhelum into India’s own fields, making 5.6 million acres of Pakistani lands barren. Taking this to international agencies for arbitration has not proved fruitful as India is proceeding with its 330-megawatt hydro-electric project.

Afghanistan also plans to build 12 dams on the Kabul River with a combined storage capacity of 4.7 million acre-feet (MAF). Pakistan worries that these dams will stop crucial water supply from flowing to the Indus River, and that Indian support for these dams will increase India’s hydro-influence in the region”.

The entire nation of Pakistan depends on the dams. After much most suffering to Pakistani nation, 5923 MW electricity could be produced by formation of four dams (Bhasha, Munda, Kurram Tangi and Akhori Dam) announced by current Government and still a hope for 11526MW by construction of Bunji, Dasu and Golen Gol (106MW) and it would also come in national grid in the coming years. It is now time for action and a sincere effort in this regard to benefit the nation by building more dams to create electricity.

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