Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has awarded Tractebel a contract to provide project monitoring consultancy services for the implementation of the 2160 MW Dasu hydropower project on the river Indus.
The run-of-river project, which is to be built about 74 km downstream of the Diamer Basha dam and 240 km upstream of the Tarbela dam, in the Kohistan district of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is being undertaken by China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), under two contracts signed in March 2017 with a combined value of US$ 1.73 billion (see H&D Issue 3, 2017). The contracts, which are expected to take six years to complete, include construction of the main dam, appurtenant structures and hydraulic steel structures, the underground powerhouse complex, tunnels and hydraulic structures. The civil works will include the construction of a 242 m-high RCC gravity dam. Water from the reservoir will be diverted to the powerhouse, which is to be located about 3.5 km downstream of the dam. The project is planned to be developed in two 2160 MW phases. The first phase, which will cost an estimated US$ 4.278 billion, comprises the civil works, a 2160 MW plant and a 350 km-long 765-kV double circuit transmission line from the plant to the capital Islamabad. The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) is providing a credit of US$ 588.4 million as well as an IDA Partial Credit Guarantee of US$ 460 million under a credit agreement signed in June 2014. The IDA credit funds are to be used for project supervision, implementation of social and environmental management plans, and preparatory works such as relocation of the Karakoram Highway, access roads, offices and colonies.
Dasu Stage 1 is designed to supply 12 220 GWh annually. The project is an important element of the government’s strategy to mitigate power shortages and reduce the cost of generation to support long-term economic growth. It is expected to reduce power sector debts and result in foreign currency exchange savings by displacing imported fuel as well as strengthen the institutional capacity of WAPDA to harness the hydropower potential of the country in a sustainable manner, in particular the development of the Indus Cascade; and provide a financing and investment model that can be replicated in the development of other large hydropower projects in Pakistan.