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Tarbela Dam is located on the Indus
River in Swabi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa),
It is the largest earth-filled dam in the
world and fifth-largest by structural
It is also the second largest dam in the
world in terms of reservoir capacity.
Construction began in the year of 1968 and
has to be completed in the year of 1976.
The dam was operational in 1976 but its
completion occur in 1984.
The dam has to be completed in the
duration of 8 years but it takes 16 years to
Construction was undertaken by the
Italian firm Salini Impregilo .
The total height of the dam is 143.26
meters (470 ft) from river level and length
is 2,743.2 meters (9,000 ft).
The width of Tarbela Dam at its base is
Its reservoir capacity is 13.69 cubic
kilometers (3.28 cu mi).
Its catchment area is
168,000 km2(65,000 sq mi).
Estimated cost of the project was $800
Total cost of the project was $1.497 billion.
Causes for delay of the project

Around 70 "sinkholes" in the reservoir bed

appear which they tried covering between
1975 and 1978 by dumping thousands of
tones of earth by the barge load.
One sinkhole that appeared in 1984 was
still there in 1991
Two of the four tunnels being used to
control the rate of filling were damaged
and forced to close. Within a week, one of
the two remaining active tunnels also
collapsed, bringing down nearly half a
million cubic meters of concrete and rock.
Power generation
It has 14 turbines in which 10 turbines
have capacity of 175 MW while the 4
have 432 MV.
Its production is 3478 MV and its
capacity of 6298 MV .
Background for Project construction
Tarbela dam was constructed as part of
the Indus Basin Project after signing of the
1960 Indus Waters
Treaty between Pakistan and India.
The purpose was to compensate for the loss
of water supplies of the eastern rivers
(Ravi, Sutlej and Beas) .
The primary objective of the dam was to
supply water for irrigation by storing flows
during the monsoon period and subsequently
releasing stored water during the low flow
period in winter.
Because the source of the Indus River is glacial
meltwater from the Himalayas, the river carries
huge amounts of sediment, with an annual
suspended sediment load of 200 million tons.
Live storage capacity of Terbela reservoir had
declined more than 33.5 % to 6.434 million
acre feet (MAF) against its original capacity of
9.679 MAF because of sedimentation over the
past 38 years.
The useful life of the dam and reservoir was
estimated to be approximately fifty years.
However, sedimentation has been much
lower than predicted, and it is now
estimated that the useful lifespan of the
dam will be 85 years, to about 2060.
Construction of Tarbela Dam was carried out in three
stages to meet the diversion requirements of the river.
Stage 1
In stage 1 a diversion channel was made for the
flow of water.
Stage 2
In stage 2 main embankment dam was made
along with the tunnels.
Stage 3
In stage 3 spillways, closing of diversion channel
and upper portion of the embankment dam was
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
The main dam wall, built of earth and rock
fill, stretches 2,743 meters (8,999 ft) from the
island to river right, standing 148 meters
(486 ft) high.
The main spillway has a discharge capacity
of 18,406 cubic meters per second
(650,000 cu ft/s) and the auxiliary spillway,
24,070 cubic meters per second
(850,000 cu ft/s).
15000 Pakistani workers and 800 European
work together on the consrtuction of the
In the construction of embankment portion
about volume of 200 million cubic yard of
rock and soil is used.
Four large tunnels were constructed as part
of Tarbela Dam's outlet works.
Re-settlement of people

affected by Tarbela Dam

It has a reservoir area of about 260 square
kilometers and about 82,000 acres
(33,000 ha) of land was acquired for its
construction. The large reservoir of the
dam submerged 135 villages, which
resulted in displacement of a population of
about 96,000 people.
For the land and built-up property acquired
under the Land Acquisition Act of 1984, a
cash compensation of Rs 469.65 million
was paid to those affected.
Till now many affectees of the Tarbela Dam
have still not been settled and have not been
given land as compensation by the
government of Pakistan.
Project benefits
In addition to fulfilling the primary purpose
of the dam, i.e. supplying water for irrigation,
Tarbela Power Station has generated
341.139 billion kWh of cheap hydro-electric
energy since commissioning.
The station shared peak load of 3702 MW
during the year, which was 23.057% of total
WAPDA system peak
The project recover its total cost of
construction in 10 years .
Now the project gives benefit to the
economy of Pakistan.
Tarbela-IV Extension Project
In September 2013, Pakistan's Water and
Power Development Authority signed
a Rs. 26.053 billion contract with Chinese
firm Sinohydro and Germany's Voith Hydro
for executing civil works on the 1,410
MW Tarbela-IV Extension Project.
Construction commenced in February
2014, and is expected to be completed by
June 2017. Upon completion, the project
will augment the Early Harvest Project of
the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor.
Benefits of the Extension
After the completion of extension
project about 1410 MV of electricity is
produced which in result the less
short fall of electricity of Pakistan.
Cheap electricity is produced as a
result cost on per unit of electricity is
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