Tarbela dam

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Tarbela dam
Tarbela Dam during the 2010 floods.jpg
Location: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ( Pakistan )
Tributaries: Indus , Siran , Dor
Drain: Indus
Major cities nearby: Haripur
Tarbela Dam (Pakistan)
Tarbela dam
Coordinates 34 ° 5 '23 "  N , 72 ° 41' 54"  E Coordinates: 34 ° 5 '23 "  N , 72 ° 41' 54"  E
Data on the structure
Lock type: Earthfill dam
Construction time: -1976
Height above foundation level : 143 m
Building volume: 105.9 million m³
Crown length: 2 743  m
Power plant output: 4888 MW
Data on the reservoir
Water surface 254 (240?) Km²dep1
Storage space 13,690 million m³
Catchment area 158,000 + 10,360 = 168,360 km²
Tarbela Reservoir, satellite image

The Tarbela dam or the Tarbela reservoir (in the local language Urdu :تربیلا بند) is a dam or dam on the Indus in Pakistan ( Asia ). The English name is " Tarbela Dam " or " National Dam ".


The dam is located about 50 kilometers northwest of Islamabad in the Haripur district and covers a significant part of Pakistan's electricity needs from hydropower. The Tarbela Dam is part of the "Indus Basin Project", which was decided in a 1960 agreement between India and Pakistan. The treaty secures water inflows to Pakistan independently of India's control of the upper rivers. The dam compensates for the flow of the Indus during the different seasons.


The 1968-1977 from earth and rock masses at Haripur in Peshawar -Tal built dam - the Tarbela Dam - has a dam volume of 106 million cubic meters (according to other sources, there are 121.720, 127.908, or 129.2 million cubic meters) is A maximum of 143.26 m high and 2,743.20 m long above the foundation base. This makes it one of the largest earth embankments in the world in terms of the volume of the structure. Due to major structural problems, the dam has already resulted in considerable maintenance, monitoring and repair costs. Instead of the estimated cost of $ 800 million in 1968, it is said to have cost Pakistan about $ 1.5 billion by 1986.

Storage space

The reservoir of the Tarbela reservoir , which has a two-part catchment area with 158,000 and 10,360  km² area, is 13.69 km³. According to two different statements, the water surface is 240 or 254 km².

120 villages with 96,000 inhabitants had to be relocated for the construction of the dam.

power plant

The power plant attached to the dam is used for power generation and irrigation. This is where 28% of Pakistan's electricity needs are generated. The power plant output is 4,888 MW in 17 turbines .

A new, smaller hydroelectric power plant, the Ghazi Barotha Dam , was built about 8 km below the Tarbela Dam. It is only used to generate electricity.


In July 1974 there was an incident that almost led to a disaster. In the first filling of the reservoir, the sample storage , had two of the four tunnels that were used to discharge, be taken out of service because they were damaged. A week later, one of the two remaining tunnels collapsed. Half a million cubic meters of dam material and rock collapsed and were washed away. This threatened the stability of the dam and so the water level had to be lowered. The only undamaged and the two less damaged tunnels were used for this purpose. Only the undamaged tunnel was built using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NÖT). After the successful emergency lowering, it was found that the sealing carpet in the storage space in front of the dam had been destroyed in many places and had holes ( ponors ) meters deep .

In 1976, large subsidence occurred in the embankment on the water side .

Between 1975 and 1978 the holes were filled with large loads of soil material.

Normal operation only started in 1978.


The dam served its purpose of storing water for agriculture. However, there have been some negative environmental impacts in the Indus Delta. The reduction in runoff has reduced the mangrove population in the delta and some fish species have disappeared.

See also

Web links

Commons : Tarbela Dam  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2018/10/wapda-announces-1-410-mw-tarbela-4th-extension-hydropower-project-completed.html