Know Some of the Most Significant Dams in Pakistan

Dams are used to control the flow of water, for power, and for storing and supplying water. Dams can be built over rivers and streams. If a dam is built, the result will be still water lakes. 

There are many dams in Pakistan with major chunks in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The River Indus runs through these areas from mountains all the way down south where it falls into the Arabian Sea.

Dams create artificial lakes. People go there for picnics and water sports. They are in Pakistan. Here are some examples of dams that have already been built in Pakistan, and what are the entertainment opportunities for people there.

Significant Dams in Pakistan

Most of the dams in Pakistan were built from 1960 to 1975. Here is a list of all the dams in Pakistan:

  • Tarbela Dam
  • Mangla Dam
  • Mirani Dam
  • Warsak Dam
  • Hub Dam
  • Namal Dam
  • Rawal Dam
  • Gomal Zam Dam
  • Khanpur Dam
  • Neelum–Jhelum Dam
  • Satpara Dam
  • Darawat Dam
  • Sabakzai Dam

We will talk about the operational dams in this post. You can also see the under-construction dams in Pakistan. Such an upcoming dam is the Diamer Bhasha dam being built in Gilgit, Baltistan. Here is a brief overview of all of the above-mentioned dams in Pakistan.

Tarbela Dam 

Tarbela Dam is the largest earth-filled dam in the world. It controls how much water flows from a river in Pakistan. It was built to make a lake called Tarbela Lake, which produces hydropower for Pakistan's electricity. In 1960, construction began on three stages of the dam and was finally completed in 1976. 

Today, the project undergoes extensions and refurbishments because it is Pakistan's primary source of electricity from hydroelectric power plants.

The dam is made of concrete and is 4,700 meters long. It produces electricity at 5,000 megawatts which will soon be 6,200 megawatts.

Tarbela Lake is a place near Islamabad. You can go there to have a picnic and learn about hydropower projects and large dam projects for power generation. The lake is very big and you can swim, fish, or boat on it.

Mangla Dam 

Mangla Dam is the second-largest water reservoir in Pakistan. It is 147 meters high and 3140 meters long. Construction began in 1961 and was finished in 1967. The dam became one of the primary sources of irrigation for Pakistan.

While the dam was only built for water storage, it now generates 1,150 megawatts of electricity. This is enough power to run about 600,000 homes. In the future, there will be a plan to increase this number to 1,500 megawatts.

This water reservoir in Pakistan created the Mangla Lake. Mangla Lake is about 4 hours from Lahore and 2 hours from Islamabad. You can enjoy water sports activities like boating, rafting, jet skiing, and fishing at the lake. A short 10-minute boat ride takes you up to Ramkot Fort where you can enjoy a picnic and see beautiful views of the lake.

Mirani Dam 

Mirani Dam is one of the largest dams in the country. It is not very well known because it is far away, near the Dasht River in Balochistan. 

It was built to provide water to Gwadar and Turbat, but it also provides water for other people. Mirani Dam was first built in 2002-2006 and then it was finished at some point after that year.

Tourism has been limited because of the situation in this region. The development of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring attention to this area.

Warsak Dam

Warsak Dam is 20 kilometers from Peshawar. Warsak Dam is a water reservoir that was built on the Kabul River. 

The first phase of the dam was built in 1960, and then electricity-generating capabilities were installed in 1980 during the second phase of construction. This brings the dam's current capacity to 240 megawatts. But, more work is planned to increase it to 525 megawatts with plans for this project set to be completed by 2020.

The site is often visited by the locals who use it for boating and fishing excursions. There is also a guesthouse for people who would like to stay overnight. You need permission from WAPDA before visiting the area, though.

Hub Dam

The Hub Dam is near Karachi, Pakistan. It is a reservoir on the Hub River with immense reservoir capacity. People drink water from this river in Karachi. This dam took 20 years to build and was finished in 1981. 

The area around the dam is also a wildlife sanctuary for birds like pelicans, ducks, and cranes because it has lots of water where they can live.

The Hub Dam is a popular place to go for people in Karachi. There are hotels for visitors, as well as opportunities to enjoy swimming, fishing, and camping.

Namal Dam 

The Namal Dam is in a valley near Mianwali, Pakistan. The Namal Dam was built in 1913 and it has a lake with an area of 5.5 square kilometers. The mountains are on two sides of the area and there are big fields on the other two sides.

The purpose of the dam was to provide irrigation for local farms. But now, it is also a place people go to for picnics and boating. Birdwatchers come here because there are many birds that migrate here. 

The four tourist spots in Punjab were picked for development, which will bring more tourism to the area. People can see Namal Lake when they visit this village in the region of Punjab.

Rawal Dam 

Rawal Dam is a water reservoir that serves the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It collects water from the Korang River and other small streams that flow down Margalla Hills. 

Rawal Lake is a popular tourist spot where people enjoy walking near the lake, playing games, and having picnics. The park at Rawal Lake has shaded paths, trees, picnic areas, and even an amazing view of the lake.

In this area, you can do different water sports. You can get a private tour if you want to find out more. The Islamabad Club also hosts water sports events on the lake where many people go to watch them. 

There are many birds, mammals, and reptiles in this region too. Some birdwatchers come here to see the local birds because so many of them live here. It is also a fishing spot with around 15 species found in its waters.

Gomal Zam Dam 

This dam was built on the Gomal River. The Gomal River is a tributary of the Indus River. This dam serves three purposes: irrigation, flood control, and also hydropower generation. It took 10 years to build this dam and it became operational in 2011 after completion.

At a height of 133 meters (437 feet) and length of 231 meters (758 feet), the Gomal Zam Dam produces 17.4 megawatts of electricity. People visit Gomal Zam Dam for fishing and picnics with their families, but the official development of the region will attract more visitors to see its beauty.

Khanpur Dam 

One thing that is in KPK is Khanpur Dam. It was built to stop the water from flowing in the Haro River. The water that was stopped is called Khanpur Lake. This lake is a dam in Pakistan that provides drinking water to Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Khanpur Lake attracts many tourists to its shores. They can do many activities like boating, swimming, cliff jumping, jet skiing, and kayaking. Visitors can also enjoy zip-lining or hiking. The annual Khanpur Spring Festival entertains the locals in April every year.

One of the reasons for tourism in this area is the archaeological sites nearby, including the Bhamala Buddhist Complex. It has a Buddhist stupa and artifacts dating to around 400 years ago.

There is also Rajgan Mosque which is about 150 years old and has an architectural style that reflects that era. Nearby WAPDA built its own rest house near Khanpur Dam to accommodate tourists who want to stay overnight.

Neelum–Jhelum Dam 

The Neelum–Jhelum Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Neelum and Jhelum rivers. The water from the Neelum River was diverted to a grid station that is located on the Jhelum River, creating this unique dam. This is one of only two dams in Pakistan.

The dam has a production capacity of 970 megawatts. The dam's development began in 2008. The official inauguration took place in 2018. Few people have been visiting the reservoir but tourism is expected to take a positive turn.

Satpara Dam 

The Satpara Dam is located in Skardu Valley. It has actually increased the size of the lake. The Dam also supplies millions of gallons of water to Skardu city and generates electricity that powers Skardu town.

The final powerhouses in the dam were made in 2013. Satpara Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Pakistan and it is often visited by tourists. The roads are often closed during the winter because it's cold, but people go to the lake in the summer when it's warm.

Darawat Dam 

The Darawat Dam is a dam in the Sindh region of Pakistan. It was built over the Nai Baran River. The dam took four years to be built and was completed in 2014. The purpose of this dam is to irrigate crops nearby with water from the river. 

Road trips are often planned by visitors coming from Karachi or Hyderabad. So, they can visit this popular picnic spot.

Sabakzai Dam 

The Sabakzai Dam is in the southwest region of Balochistan. From 2004-2007, it has aided the irrigation of nearby lands and provided a much-needed place to relax for locals.

This is a list of some of the most famous dams in Pakistan. 

Some of these irrigate fields of million-acre feet. While others have helped in hydropower generation immensely. These damns have been built at a total cost of billions of rupees. However, the world bank has helped Pakistan with its construction.

When you are in the area, do visit these reservoirs!