The government of Pakistan has announced a new hydro power policy which aims to meet the future electricity demands of the country at reasonable rates. The Ministry of Water Power Resources has organised a committee to prepare its recommendations for the new policy. The committee will also identify new projects.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s chief secretary of northern areas, Sung Marjan, says there is great potential for producing electricity if natural resources are exploited in the region. At a workshop on hydro power potential in northern areas, five prime sites for hydro power were identified.

They are: Naltar, 22MW; Phunder, 87MW; Harcho (Astore), 40MW; Basho (Skardu), 24MW; and Dioan (Astore), 25MW. Feasibility studies are already under way for these projects.

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) is also echoing Marjan’s plea for new projects, expressing concern about sedimentation which has caused a 24% reduction in the capacity of Tarbela reservoir, and the need to construct new dams to meet the irrigation and power requirements of the country.

Finally, about 50% of the work on the world’s largest run-of-river hydro power project, Ghazi Barotha, has been completed and the first 290MW unit will be commissioned on 14 August 2002, according to WAPDA sources. All five of the generating units will be commissioned by July 2003 and it will produce 1450MW of hydro power annually.