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QK Archives: Gomal Zam dam

The dam remains incomplete..

Gomal Zam Dam: A multipurpose project

Col Muhammad Safir Tarar
Updated on 11/5/2001 12:00:46 PM

Water is a precious resource of life on our planet.

The ancient civilisations flourished on banks of watercourses and disappeared when the rivers change their courses.

Water always played a vital role in the rise and fall of civilisations.

Mankind always made efforts to develop water storages in its endeavours to save civilisations.

Technology enables us to build water storages so as to defend the civilised human life against the odds of drought and flood-like natural calamities.

Additionally, hydroelectric power is generated benefiting from the resource to march forward on the road to development, progress and prosperity.

However, in order to, befittingly, use technology in the service of mankind, a nation needs to have a clear vision and understanding of its priorities, otherwise, wealth of all kind, goes waste in aimless efforts and time goes waste in dwelling on hotchpotch matters.

Is this not an irony that a country like ours, blessed with the wealth of five major rivers is a prey of drought for last two years and the available additional water is being allowed to go waste into the sea? Pakistan is primarily an agriculture-based country.

For agro-development and to meet food requirements of the fast increasing population, water reservoirs are dire need of the nation, to adequately manage timely irrigation supplies to meet requirements of the summer and the winter crops.

But the fact is that no new dam has been built for water storage during last 25 years after the completion of Tarbela Dam project.

This serious folly of the past devoid the people of bringing lakhs of acres of fertile land under cultivation and the country of giving boost to economy and attaining food produce matching the national needs.

Pakistan has the potential of irrigating lakhs of acres of land.

The biggest barricade in this way is the in-effective control over river waters.

The fast increasing population and rapid water reservoirs capacity depletion are fast pushing our country towards the fold of water-short countries.

In presence of this state, construction of new reservoirs has become inevitable.

The present government, alive to the sensitive nature of prevailing conditions and keeping in view national water and power needs and requirement, accorded approval to the gigantic "National Water Resource Development Programme, Vision 2025", presented by WAPDA.

President General Pervez Musharraf performed the groundbreaking ceremonies of a number of projects aimed at developing the country's resources, betterment of national economy and poverty alleviation during August this year.

Gomal Zam Dam is among these projects and its groundbreaking ceremony was performed by the President on August 22, 2001.

Seeing commencement of work on Gomal Zam Dam Project and its entering into construction stage is a pleasant experience.

It manifests a ray of hope and a better future.

Had the dam been undertaken a few years ago there would have been lush green fields instead of barren land tracts in the area today.

The need for storing floodwaters of Gomal River had been observed as early as 1880 at the time of first settlement of Dera Ismail Khan by the British administration.

Gul Kach, a site on Gomal River above its confluence with Zhob River was pointed out as the likely site for the construction of a high dam.

After independence investigations were started at site.

In 1951-52, a flood control-cum-irrigation scheme was proposed for Gomal Zam.

The scheme included a 250 feet high concrete dam at Gul Kach with a diversion weir at Murtaza.

The feasibility of Gomal Zam Dam project was first prepared by Messrs Energoprojekt, a Yugoslavian firm during May 1963, invited by WAPDA.

The project, which involved the construction of a 500 feet high dam to conserve flows of Gomal River for irrigation of about 100,000 acres in D.I.Khan district and generation of 127 mw of hydel power, was approved by the government of Pakistan during August 1963 at a cost of Rs. 200 million.

The activities for construction of infrastructure like access roads, colonies, etc, was started during early 1964.

However, due to the Indo-Pak war of 1965, field activities were stopped.

Since the end of 1965, the project remained at a virtual standstill and only limited maintenance and upkeep of the completed preliminary works was continued.

The Gomal Zam Dam Project was reactivated in early 1983 from a dormant stage of about 18 years when the project was taken up for an exhaustive review by Messrs Coyne et Bellier of France.

The consultants studied all the previous reports, data on hydrology and geology, made preliminary tests and observations at site, and submitted their final report on the engineering studies in October 1983.

After some additional investigations at site, the consultants prepared feasibility report including design of dam, powerhouse and other appurtenant structures during May 1990.

The updated feasibility study of the irrigation system and pre-feasibility of a hydropower plant at the toe of the dam was prepared by Messrs Coyne et Bellier in 1995.

WAPDA gave the Gomal Zam Dam project final shape based on the previous activities, as a fast track project in its National Water Resource Development Programme, Vision 2025.

The project envisages construction of 436 feet high and 492 feet long Roller Compact Concrete Gravity Dam which will create a reservoir with gross storage capacity of 1.14 Million Acre Feet of water.

The project has a spillway on the middle part of the dam for the disposal of floodwater, with a maximum discharge capacity of 153,000 cusecs.

At the toe of the dam, a small hydropower plant with the installed capacity of 17.4 mw would be installed.

The irrigation system of the Gomal Zam Dam Project envisage 63 kilometer long main canal with 848 Cusecs capacity, 203 kilometers of branch distribution canals and a 460 feet long barrage at Kot Murtaza.

The estimated cost of the Gomal Zam Dam Project, as per April 2001 prices, is US$ 136.2 million.

This investment will accrue the benefits of flood control, water for 163,086 acres of land and 90.9 gegawatt hours of hydro-electric energy, security to farmers as a result of reliable water supply, employment opportunities in the industry and commerce resulting from the processing form production, improved standard of living resulting from increased and more varied food production, balanced diet by providing opportunity to produce fruits, vegetables and other protein foods and water for domestic use.

The completion of project will bring tremendous benefits to the land and people of the area in terms of economic as social benefits.

Since this project is situated in a backward area of NWFP, the opportunities created by this project during and after the construction will provide far reaching socio-economic benefits.

The greatest advantage that will accrue to this backward area will be the development of means of communication to substantially add to the accessibility.

The environmental impacts of the project will be marginal.

Action to undertake land acquisition in the command area for barrage, main and branch canals in Tank and Kulachi tehsils of Tank district and Dera Ismail Khan district from project funds has already been initiated by the provincial government as per prevailing procedures and rates and Land Acquisition Collector has been appointed by the Revenue Department of NWFP.

Gomal Zam Dam Project has been designed to build a carry over type reservoir to store water during high flow years and utilise the same during low flow years based on the observance of inflows during drought period.

The live water storage capacity of the reservoir will be 8,92,000 acre feet.

The project has been designed to provide irrigation water to all the landowners on the basis of existing water rights.

The project area, considered for irrigation from Gomal Zam, consists of the areas where Gomal waters are or were used by farmers having water rights on it.

All villages having perennial rights are located in Tank district while those having flood rights belong to the three tehsils i.e.

Tank, Kulachi and D.



The map of perennial and flood water rights for the area was prepared by Messrs Energoprojekt in 1963 and the same is being implemented now.

Gomal Zam Dam Project, is planned to be constructed on turn key basis, hence for proper round-the-clock supervision and surveillance of construction work to be carried out in three shifts, each of eight hours, provision of 146 technical staff has been kept in the PC-1 proforma.

The project has already been approved by CDWP and ECNEC on August 2 and August 31 this year, respectively.

Preparatory works implementation has been awarded to Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and construction work on main dam and irrigation system will soon commence.
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