28MW Hydropower Project for Northern Areas
28 January 2007
Islamabad: The federal government will build the Basho hydropower project in Northern Areas which will produce 28MW electricity and store water for irrigation. After an initial study conducted by a German team, Wapda has proposed to the Planning Commission to allocate Rs91.243 million for a detailed engineering design and tender documents for the project, according to an official. Designs of civil works and electro-mechanical equipment would be optimised in accordance with the latest data and information to be collected from field investigations over a period of 18 months, he said. Field investigations would feature surveys, flow measurements, seismic refraction, surface geological mapping, sub-surface drilling, test pits, field tests and identification of barrow areas, he added. The project would be connected to Skardu and other load centres in the upstream valleys through 66kV transmission line. It is aimed at providing additional power to Skardu and adjacent valleys by developing hydroelectric potential. As part of the civil work design, discharge of offtaking channel between weir and powerhouse would be estimated to take care of water rights of Basho village; stage gauge will be installed near weir axis to record water level and corresponding discharge; studies leading to arrangements for sediment control and management will be carried out; sediment data will be collected at all established gauging stations; and the data so collected will be analysed and used in the designs of various parameters of the scheme. A deep cut U shaped valley, Basho is characterised by rugged mountains. Flat land is also present in the shape of terraces which are cultivated in summer. Downstream of weir, the valley is steep and full of glacial sediments. Morainic materials are present on both sides of the nullah at different levels across the length of the valley. The official said the seismicity of the project area would be re-evaluated with the earthquakes in 2002 and 2005 in the north of Pakistan. A seismic network had been proposed in the project area to closely monitor the seismic activity in the zone which would be helpful in effectively designing critical structures like dams, tunnels, etc, he added. A number of tributaries with steep gradient in Northern Areas offer enormous potential. Under the comprehensive planning of hydropower resources on tributaries of the Indus river in Northern Areas, 122 schemes were identified with an estimated capacity of 773MW available during winter months when local power demand is maximum and flows in the nullah are close to minimum. The officials said that from the identified potential sites, four would be studied for feasibility purposes. They are Phandar 80MW in Ghizar district, Naltar 32MW in Gilgit district, Basho 28MW and Harpo 33MW in Skardu district. The capacity of the existing power stations in Northern Areas are in the range of 50KW to 4000KW. The existing hydel power stations in Northern Areas have a total capacity of 82MW. Besides, two medium-size power stations, 18MW in Naltar valley near Gilgit and 13MW in Satpara nullah near Skardu, are under construction.