Owing to effective implementation of Mangla Watershed Management Project during the last 55 years, the life of Mangla reservoir has been enhanced from 110 years to 212 years. This was informed at meeting which was chaired by Wapda Chairman Zafar Mahmood here at WAPDA House on Wednesday.
It was briefed that the consultants of Mangla Dam in their design of the project way back in late 1950s, had envisaged life of the Mangla reservoir from 100 to 110 years with an estimated sediment load at the rate of 42,000 acre feet per annum.
However, due to effective measures taken under the Watershed Management Project, the assessed rate of sediment load has reduced to 2,774 acre feet annually, adding more than a hundred years to the life span of Mangla reservoir.
The volume of benefits because of the Mangla’s enhanced life could be better assessed with the fact that the benefits equivalent to billion of rupees are accrued every year from Mangla Dam.
The meeting was told that Mangla Watershed Management Programme has been continuously implemented since 1960 in reservoir’s catchment area, covering 5710 square miles in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Pakistan to control soil erosion and reduce sediment rate.
Some of the measures taken under the project from 1960 to 2015 include plantation of about 133 million trees, construction of dry stones and earthen structures measuring 122 million cubic feet in the form of check dams and retaining walls etc, construction of 4000 engineering structures of stone masonry dam and drop spillway etc, improving 8400 acres of cultivated land and imparting training to the farmers.
It may be mentioned that Mangla Dam was constructed in 1967, while its Raising Project was completed in 2011. Subsequent to its completion, the raised Mangla Dam is now the largest reservoir of the country with storage capacity of 7.48 million acre feet (MAF), surpassing Tarbela Dam which can store 6.4 MAF.
During the briefing, the Wapda chairman expressed satisfaction over the reduced rate of sedimentation flowing into Mangla reservoir.
The Authority also decided to acknowledge the services of all those who had contributed over the last 55 years towards managing the sediments.