Tarbela Dam

Tarbela Dam ( Urdu: تربیلابند ) is located on the Indus River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. the dam is about 30 km (20 mi) from the city of Swabi, 105 km (65 mi) northwest of Islamabad, and 125 km (80 mi) east of Peshawar.

The dam was completed in 1976 and was designed to store water in the Indus River for irrigation, flood control and power generation. The current installed capacity is 4,888 MW.

The dam is 143 meters (470 feet) high above the river bed. The dam’s reservoir, Tarbela Lake, has a surface area of ​​approximately 250 square kilometers (97 square miles).

Tarbela Dam flood discharge
Tarbela Dam flood discharge

Technical Parameters

  • The main dam wall is made of piles of earth and rocks, and is 2,743 meters (8,999 feet) long from the island to the right river and 148 meters (486 feet) high.
  • A pair of concrete auxiliary dams extend from the island to the left river. The two spillways of the dam are on the auxiliary dam instead of the main dam.
  • The main spillway has a displacement of 18,406 cubic meters per second (650,000 cubic feet per second), and the auxiliary spillway has a displacement of 24,070 cubic meters per second (850,000 cubic feet per second).
  • As part of the Tarbela Dam exit project, 5 large tunnels were constructed. The turbines in tunnels 1 to 3 generate hydroelectric power, while tunnels 4 and 5 are designed for irrigation.
  • The MA hydroelectric power station on the right side of the main dam houses 14 generators, which draw water from exit tunnels 1, 2 and 3.
  • There are 4 175 MW generators in tunnel 1, 6 175 MW generators in tunnel 2, and 4 432 MW generators.
  • After the completion of the fifth expansion in a plan funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank, the 4,888 MW installed capacity of the Tabela hydropower station will increase to 6,298 MW.
  • The Tabella Reservoir is 80.5 kilometers (50.0 miles) long and has a surface area of ​​250 square kilometers (97 square miles). The reservoir initially stored 11,600,000 acre feet (14.3 km 3) of water.
تربیلا بند
تربیلا بند

Engineering station

Initial construction

The initial construction of the Tabela Dam was carried out in three stages to meet the water diversion requirements of the river. It was constructed by Salini Impregilo, Italy.

The first stage

In the first stage, the Indus River was allowed to flow in its natural channel, and construction began on the right bank. A 1,500-foot (457-meter) long and 694.8-foot (212-meter) diversion channel was opened on the river bank and a River. A 105-foot (32-meter) high support dam is also under construction. The first phase of construction lasted about 2.5 years.

Tarbela Dam
Tarbela Dam

second stage

As part of the second phase of construction, a major dam and upstream riverbed were built in the main valley of the Indus River. During this period, water from the Indus was still diverted through the diversion channel. By the end of the second phase of construction, a tunnel had been built for the diversion. The construction of the second phase took three years.

The third stage

In the third stage of construction, while the river was flowing through the diversion tunnel, the diversion channel was closed and this part of the dam was constructed. As part of the third phase of the project, the remaining parts of the upstream blanket and the main dam were also completed in 1976.

Tarbela Reservoir
Tarbela Reservoir

Tarbela-IV expansion project

In June 2012, the Tarbela Dam Expansion-IV was carried out, and PC-1 was developed for the project.

The project was built on Tunnel 4 of the Tabella Dam. It consists of three turbine generators, each with a capacity of 470 MW.

The Pakistan Water and Electricity Development Authority stated that the third and last unit of its 1,410 MW Tabela fourth expansion hydropower project has been operated in sync with the national grid.

Tarbela-V expansion project

The project will require the installation of three turbines in the fifth tunnel in Tabora, each with a capacity of 470 megawatts, which were previously used exclusively for agricultural purposes. Upon completion, the total power generation of the Tabela Dam will increase to 6,298 megawatts.

Tarbela Hydropower Station
Tarbela Hydropower Station

Tarbela Dam Data

South Asia
In use
Official name
تربیلا بند
Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Government of Pakistan
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)
Dam height
470 ft (143.2 m )
Dam Length
9000 ft (2743.2 m )
Installed capacity
10 × 175 MW 4 × 432 MW 3 × 470 MW
Indus River
Reservoi name
Tarbela Reservoir
Total capacity
13.69 km³ (11,100,000 acre⋅ft)
Catchment area
168,000 km² (65,000 sq mi)
Reservoir area
250 km² (97 sq mi)

Tarbela Dam Location On Earth

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Era-1968 ( The earlier the era, the higher the score,respect the older generation of engineering )


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