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An overview of water and power development in Sindh.

With the exception of Karachi and few other big towns, the province of Sindh lagged behind in development for quite a long time after independence due to various historical and socio-economic reasons. This is evident from the fact that per capita electricity consumption, a modern day indicator of progress and prosperity, was only 74 KWHs in Sindh province excluding Karachi where Karachi Electric Supply Corporation operates. But the following decade saw a progressive change as per capita consumption in the province increased due to Wapda's development efforts to 169 KWHs - i.e. increase of over 128 per cent in the last ten years.

Sindh, in the south of Pakistan, stretches from the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and shares the plains of Indus river with the Punjab province. The area of Sindh is nearly 1.4 lakh square kilometers i.e. 17.7 percent of the country. Its population is about 25 million of the country's 110 million. The density of the population of the province is 177 per sq. k. This province is the custodian of 5,000 year old Indus Valley civilisation. Moenjodaro is the archaeological site where glimpses of the Indus Valley civilisation, dating back to 3rd Millennium B.C., can be seen. Babul Islam (Gateway of Islam) Sindh has a colourful history. But its latest phase began with the historical role of people of Sindh during the struggle for an independent Islamic state for the Muslims of the sub-continent, free of Hindu supremacy and domination, which culminated in the creation of Pakistan. Sindh is the land which gave birth to the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. His last resting place is also in this province.

With the exception of Karachi and few other big towns, the province of Sindh lagged behind in development for quite a long time after independence due to various historical and socio-economic reasons. This is evident from the fact that per capita electricity consumption, a modern day indicator of progress and prosperity, was only 74 KWHs in Sindh province excluding Karachi where Karachi Electric Supply Corporation operates. But the following decade saw a progressive change as per capita consumption in the province increased due to Wapda's development efforts to 169 KWHS - i.e. an increase of over 128 per cent in the last ten years. This consumption, though negligible from international standards, yet it exceeds the per capita consumption of Bangladesh (40 KWHs), Maldives (48 KWHs), and Burma (42 KWHs) according to the available figures.

Wapda, doubtlessly, has played an appreciable role in the development of water and power resources in the province, in its national-building efforts. By taking high voltage transmission lines to far flung areas, passing through difficult terrain, today, the cities and the important towns of the province are connected with the National Power Grid System which is a spearhead of the national coherence and integrity It has also built five thermal power houses in this province including Guddu which is the country's biggest thermal power generation centre located at the confluence of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, followed by the Jamshoro Thermal Power Complex in the recent past being inaugurated by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Wapda, the country's biggest development organisation, has also been instrumental in investigating, planning and developing surface and sub-surface water resources of the province. It continued its fight against the twin menace of waterlogging and salinity from further damaging the fertile lands in the province so as to produce big yields of wheat, cotton and rice, in addition to dates - quite a favourite fruit. The facilities of water and power resources and Salinity Control Reclamation Projects (SCARPS) made available to the people of Sindh at their doorstep has radically changed the scene of the socio-economic conditions and living standards, particularly of the population living in interior Sindh.

It is a fact that non availability of electric power remained one of the major bottlenecks in the way of adequate exploitation of agricultural potential which also occurred due to the fact that the lands of the province were worst hit by waterlogging and salinity because of the seepage from the barrages and the unlined canals. It may mentioned that 40 per cent of irrigated lands of Pakistan lie in Sindh province.

On coming into being in 1958, Wapda was assigned the task to build an infrastructure to open new avenues for socio-economic development, progress and prosperity in the land of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Hazrat Sachal Sarmast and Hazrat La'al Shahbaz Qalander, through a comprehensive programme. It accepted the challenge and began the implementation of the projects both in the water and power sectors.


Generation: Wapda took over the operation of electric power in 1959 from the provincial government departments and agencies. In order to meet the demand for power of Sindh, it immediately took up the installation of thermal power station at Hyderabad and it's first three units, two of 7.5 MW each and one of 5.7 MW, were commissioned in May, 1960. Extension in its capacity was made and two more units - one of 8 MW and the second 15 MW were added and commissioned in June 1965, to double their capacity to 44 MW.

The capital cost of Hyderabad Power Station on its construction and extension made over Rs. 7.7 crore. This power station had produced over 3 billion KWHs (units) of electricity by June, 1991, which shows that the power station has not paid back its cost but also greatly contributed in the development of the area. Over the years four more thermal power stations at Sukkur, Kotri, Guddu and Jamshoro followed in the Sindh province, to meet the ever growing demand of the region.

Sukkur Power Station: Two units of 12.5 MW were installed in the first phase and commissioned in March 1965. Two units of the same capacity were added which were put into operation in April 1967. The capital cost of construction and extension comes to nearly Rs. 26.4 crores. This power station had produced about 4.5 billion KWhs (units) by 30th June, 1991, and thus paid back its cost.

Kotri Gas Turbine Power Station: To meet the fast increasing power demand in the province, construction of a gas turbine power station was undertaken and its first two units of 15 MW each were commissioned in February and April 1970 respectively. The third and fourth units of 25 MW each were added in December 1978 while another two units, each of 25 MW were installed and commissioned in May 1981. The total cost of construction and commissioning of the 130 MW capacity comes to nearly Rs. 43 crores. This power station had produced over 4 billion units (KWHS) of electricity by June last and thus paid back its cost.

Guddu Thermal Power Station: This 1250 MW station - the country's biggest thermal power station - is a symbol of international cooperation and transfer of technology. Its first two steam units of 10 MW each were installed and commissioned in March and October 1974 respectively with Czechoslovakian assistance. Third unit of 210 MW was erected and commissioned with Russian cooperation in December 1980 and fourth, also of 210 MW, with Chinese participation in January 1986. Next four gas turbine and two combined cycle steam units each of 100 MW, came operational in December 1985, January, March, April 1986 and January 1988 (combined cycle units) respectively, with American assistance. The capital outlay of the above 10 units comes to nearly Rs. 10 billion.

The Guddu units had produced and provided to the National Power Grid nearly 53 billion KWHs (Units) of electricity by the end of June 1991, which shows that this power station has made a big contribution in the socio-economic development of the region.

Jamshoro Oil and Gas Fired Power Station: The construction work of newly developed Jamshoro Thermal Power Station was undertaken in 1987. The first unit of 250 MW was completed and commissioned in January 1990. Units No. 2,3 and 4 were erected and commissioned in December 1989, June 1990 and January 1991 respectively. The total capital outlay on the installation and commissioning of these four units comes to over Rs. 15 billion. These units have generated about 5.4 billion KWHs (units) of electricity in the last 21 months.

On-going Generation Schemes: To meet the fast growing power demand in addition to the existing supply-demand gap, a number of new hydel as well as thermal units are being added to Wapda for which construction work is progress. These include additional 300 MW Combined Cycle scheme at Guddu (Units No.11-13), a 40 MW combined cycle unit at existing Kotri Gas Turbine Power Station in Sindh province at a cost of Rs.4.8 billion and Rs. 814 million respectively. Work for extension of the newly commissioned Jamshoro Thermal Power Complex is also underway. Here, a 350 MW unit No. 5 is being added by Wapda, while 4 units of a total capacity of 880 MW (210 MW each) will be installed in the private sector by a Pak-Russian Joint Venture. This extension of 5 units is expected to cost Rs. 20 billion to make Jamshoro a Rs. 35 billion project.

Coal based power generation: With Chinese assistance, 3 units of 50 MW capacity each are being constructed at Khanot which are based on lignite available from Lakhra mines. This coal contains about 7 per cent sulphur content. To prevent sulphur from causing atmospheric pollution during burning for power generation, these units have been based on latest technology of Fluidised Bed Combustion (FBC). The total cost for the supply, construction and commissioning of these FBC based units, including that of coal mining for these units by the Chinese, is estimated at about Rs.2.6 billion including foreign exchange component of nearly Rs. 1.4 billion. During the last ten years, wapda spent Rs. 27 billion including a foreign exchange component of about Rs. 17 billion on development of more generation facilities in Sindh.

Transmission and Grid Stations: Sindh was also connected with the National Grid through the country's first highest voltage transmission line of 500 KV capacity from Guddu to Jamshoro. In March, 1984, this transmission line was erected as a last leg of the extra high voltage transmission line from Tarbela to Jamshoro via Faisalabad, Multan, Guddu and Dadu. This made it possible to transport Tarbela's cheap hydel power to Sindh in bulk, thus opening new avenues for large scale development and progress particularly in industrial and agricultural sectors with the availability of more power for the Sindh region.

Transmission System: Today many parts of Sindh are receiving power from National Grid through 138 kms long 500 KV, 274 kms long 220 KV, 2458 kms long 132 KV and 1586 kms long 66 KV transmission lines. The total length of these lines is 5756 kms. To provide uninterrupted power supply from the transmission system, it is stabilised through 105 associated grid stations completed by June 1991 in various parts of Balochistan. These include three 500 KV grid stations located at Guddu, Dadu and Jamshoro, one 220 KV, sixty-three 132 KV and thirty-eight 66 KV grid stations with a total MVA capacity of 4020. To meet the ever growing demand for electricity in the province, the transmission lines being erected in Sindh include another 500 KV line from Guddu to Jamshoro, contracted to a Chinese construction firm at a cost of over Rs. 240 million to complete and commission in March, 1993. During the past ten years, over 1600 KMs of transmission lines ranging between 66 KV and 500 KV capacity, along with 42 associated grid stations, were completed and commissioned at a total cost of Rs. 7.7 billion including a foreign exchange component of more than Rs. 3 billion in Sindh.

Distribution of Power: Nearly 662 consumers are presently receiving electricity in Sindh from Wapda system. These include over 498,400 domestic, 133,610 commercial, 15,047 industrial and 14,951 tubewell consumers, mostly for agricultural purposes. The number of consumers in the province has registered a 70 per cent increase in the past ten years. Category-wise increase in number of consumers between 1981 and 1991 has been 78 per cent in domestic, 51 per cent in commercial, 32 per cent in industrial and 34 per cent in agricultural sector. The consumes are getting electricity at their doorstep through a distribution network comprising over 25,860 kms of H.T. (11 KV) and 11,000 kms of L.T. (440/220 Volt) lines. This network is supported by 25,91 0 transformers of various capacities ranging between 25 and 200 KVA which are part and parcel of the network to provide uninterrupted power supply to the consumers.

The length of the H.T. and L.T. lines in the province registered 85 per cent and 95 per cent increase respectively, at a total capital outlay of nearly Rs. 179 million. Renovation and augmentation of the distribution, particularly in big cities was also carried out at a cost of over Rs. 384 million during the same period to upgrade the system for meeting the additional load of consumers and providing them smooth supply of power.

Village electrification: So far over 7,735 villages of Sindh have been provided with electricity under Annual Development and other programmes. It may be mentioned that first village of Sindh was electrified in 1 960 and from then onwards village electrification gained momentum in the province. Between 1981 and 1991, 5351 villages were electrified by Wapda engineers and workers at a cost of over Rs. 1.4 billion despite difficulty of terrain and weather, which shows that an increase of 224 per cent was registered in the area of village electrification in the province in the past ten years. With the appreciable extension of electricity facilities, especially to the rural areas, during the last ten years, a positive change in overall socio-economic conditions of this region is visible today. Not only the standard of living of people has risen but also industrial and agricultural production of the province has increased. All this is due to the untiring efforts in the area of development and nation building processes of Wapda engineers and staff.

The scale of progress and prosperity in Sindh can be judged from the indicator that only ten years ago, the total electricity consumption of the province was nearly one billion KWHs (Units) whereas today the scale of power in Sindh is more than 3 billion KWHs (Units) per annum. The industrial sector of the province has registered 173 per cent increase by going up from 458 million KWHs (Units) in 1981 to nearly 1.3 billion KWHs (Units) in 1991, which shows a remarkable development and increase in the industrial sector of the province. Agricultural sector also saw 69 percent increase in the energy consumption in the same period. Simultaneously, 267 per cent increase in the domestic sector consumption during the past ten years speaks of prosperity of people of the province and addition of modern day electric gadgets and alliances like fans, electric irons, refrigerators, televisions, etc., in their homes, and air conditioners in the offices of those who can afford the use of this modern day comfort.


Wapda's water wing is also making invaluable contribution in the development of Sindh province. Ever since its creation in 1958, Wapda has carried out a number of projects as well as detailed studies not only for the development of surface and sub-surface water resources but also eradication of the twin menace under its Accelerated Salinity Control and Reclamation Projects (SCARPs).

Surface water development: The process of ground water development in Sindh started with the construction and completion of Guddu Barrage on Indus river by Wapda in 1962 at a cost of Rs. 475 million. Since then it irrigates nearly 2.5 million acres of land located in Jacobabad, Larkana and Sukkur districts through Begari Sindh feeder and Ghotki feeder canals built under the project. Hub Dam (Karachi Irrigation Project) is the second big water project built by Wapda on Hub river at a cost of over Rs. one billion. It was completed in 1983 to supply 89 million gallons of water daily to Karachiites for domestic use and provide irrigation supplies to 1000 acres in Karachi district.

Sub-surface water development and Salinity Control and Reclamation projects SCARP): Wapda came to rescue of Sindh to overcome waterlogging and salinity in this province worst hit by the disease of the earth, when it started construction of surface drains under the first ever Scarp Larkana-Shikarpur in mid-65. This project was completed in 1968. From then onwards the fight against the twin problem in Sindh gained momentum and by June 1991, fourteen projects were completed, including a scheme of replacement of the tubewells which had outlived their useful life. Under these Scarp projects, 2494 deep turbine tubewells have been installed and 6246 kms of surface drains, plus tile drains in an area of 34,000 acres, have been constructed. These projects have helped reclaim and put back into cultivation over 4 million acres of the affected land in Larkana, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Sukkur, Khandhkot, Rohri, Kotri and Dadu areas. Wapda spent nearly Rs. 40 billion on construction and completion of the Scarp projects in Sindh province.

Execution of Scarp projects in Sindh is still going on and presently four such projects are under construction for the benefit of another 4.4 million acres of the affected land. This includes nearly Rs. 9 billion gigantic Left Bank Outfall Drain Stage-I Project (LBOD-Stage 1) for the integrated development of 1.3 million acres of cultivable land, mostly falling in Nawabshah, Sanghar aiid Tharparkar districts, to raise the cropping intensity from present 86 per cent to 120) per cont, through (i) remodelling of existing Kadhan Pateji Outfall Drain (KPOD) and Dhoro Puran Outfall Drain (DPOD); (ii) construction of Tidal Link connecting KPOD Outfall with Shah Samando Creek of Arabian Sea,(iii) surface drainage network in nearly 1.3 million acres, (iv) 1400 drainage tubewelis in 66,000 acres, (v) 850 scavenger wells in 208,000 acres, (vi) 359 miles of interceptor drains, (vii) Sub-surface tile drainage system in 54,900 acres, (viii) remodelling of Nara-Jamrao canal system, (ix) construction of Chotiari Reservoir for a live storage of 7 lakh acre feet and (x) improvement of 923 water courses and precision levelling in 53,000 acres.

The work is in full swing at this project. The LBOD Stage-l project is being jointly financed by internal donor agencies of IDA, ADB, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), CIDA, ODA (UK) and SDC to moot over 4 billion foreign exchange component of this project. The LBOD Core Programme has already been completed. The above overview of Wapda's development activities speaks of the organisation's remarkable contribution in progress and prosperity of Sindh. Wapda's efforts continue with much more development activities in the pipeline both in water and power sectors to further the process and live up to the expectations of the people of Sindh.

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Author:Khan, Zahid Ali Akbar
Publication:Economic Review
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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