Pakistan: Tarbela Dam May Reach ‘Dead Level’ In Two Days

The Tarbela dam is estimated to touch its ‘dead level’ in about two days because of substantial and unaccounted for discharge of water in recent weeks.

Tarbela may reach ‘dead level’ in two days

The inflow to Tarbela had come down to less than 8,000 cusecs about a week ago, but improved to 33,000 cusecs after additional releases from the Attabad lake.

ISLAMABAD: The Tarbela dam is estimated to touch its ‘dead level’ in about two days because of substantial and unaccounted for discharge of water in recent weeks.

This means there will be no carryover stock of water for the upcoming Rabi season and that generation of electricity at the dam will be adversely affected in the coming days, according to an official.

The crops in the current Kharif season will, however, not be affected.

The official said that about 1.5 million acre feet (MAF) of water remained unaccounted for during the ongoing season, either because of losses or undocumented releases by Wapda for
power generation.

The Indus River System Authority (Irsa) had estimated recently that it would be able to carry forward about 1.5 MAF of water for the Rabi season beginning next month, but a fresh stocktaking suggested that the available stock would not last beyond March 7, said the official.

According to him, the water already released in the irrigation system will be sufficient to meet the crop watering requirements of the provinces till March 15. As a routine, water releases for Kharif crops are stopped about a month before the harvesting activity.

The harvesting of major crops in Kharif season generally starts by the end of March every year.

So, the irrigation activities will not be affected. However, generation of electricity at the 3,600MW Tarbela power station will almost grind to a halt.

At present, Irsa is releasing about 45,000 cusecs from the dam against an inflow of about 18,000 cusecs.

The inflow to Tarbela had come down to less than 8,000 cusecs about a week ago, but improved to 33,000 cusecs after additional releases from the Attabad lake, before stabilising at about 18,000 cusecs. The situation at Mangla dam is quite satisfactory even though Jhelum flow has come down to about 6,000 cusecs against outflow from the dam of about 35,000 cusecs.

The water level at Mangla currently stands at about 1,085 feet against its ‘dead level’ of about 1,040 feet.