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Kalabagh Dam Issue

Updated on January 12, 2017

The Kalabagh Dam, one of the three dams due to be constructed according to the Indus water treaty of 1961 has been the subject of much heated controversy. Although the project has been trashed now, I just wrote this article to convince Pakistanis that this project can unleash unlimited social, economical and humanitarian advantages for the country and arguments against it are totally baseless.

Physical model of KBD
Physical model of KBD


The site of Kalabagh Dam is located 15 miles above the town of Indus near town of Kalabagh on Indus river. It will be 260 feet above the river bed and 11000 feet in length with the storage capacity of 6.1 MAF of water. It has a power generation capacity of 3600 MW comparable to 3478 of Terbela dam. Irrigation capacity is 24 lakh acres.

The towns of Mari Indus and Kalabagh (far side), few kms downstream from Kalabagh Dam site.
The towns of Mari Indus and Kalabagh (far side), few kms downstream from Kalabagh Dam site. | Source

Arguments against Kalabagh Dam

  1. Inundation of areas in Peshawar and Nowshera

    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the apprehension that in the event of maximum floods of 1929 areas of Peshawar and Nowshera will be flooded.

  2. Submerging of large areas and Water-logging

    Critics say that it will cause submerging of 27000 acres of land which would be a great lost to the province. Rise in ground water levels will cause water logging and salinity in the area seriously threatening agriculture.

  3. Increased flood risk upstream

    It is speculated that in addition to the submerged areas, other nearby areas upstream will face increased flood risk because of the rise in water level by the inundation of the reservoir.

  4. Dislocation of Population

    It will cause the dislocation of 250,000 people living in area after its inundation.

  5. Effects on Ecology of Indus Delta

    According to critics construction of dam would spell disaster for aquatic life and mangroves in the Indus delta because it will cause reduced flows in the river downstream. This will cause sea water intrusion in lower Sindh and would be fatal for Indus dolphin and Palla fish. It would also not allow a minimum of 10 MAF water flow into Arabian sea.

  6. Violation of international principle

    The dam would violate international principle that the upper riparian cannot interfere with the flow of water without the consent of lower riparian and Sindh has reservations for this project.

  7. Reduction in volume of Silt and Over trapping of sediments

    The dam would reduce the quantity of silt carried by Indus river which is vital for healthy growth of plants.

  8. Destruction of riverine forests

    Riverine forests near Indus river will now get less water and this would bring destruction to large areas of riverine forests.

  9. Negation of 1991 water accord

    It will adversely affect the apportionment of water to provinces.

Argument in Favour of Kalabagh Dam

  1. Supporters argue that the dam does not pose any threat to any small province and does not interfere with water supplies of other provinces because the project has been thoroughly analyzed and scrutinized by the World Bank and has been approved by it.
  2. It will generate cheap electricity

    The dam is said to generate 3,600 MW of cheap electricity which is the dire need of the country.

  3. Ecology in the Indus delta would not be effected as a minimum flow of 10 MAF will continue to fall in Arabian sea. So fish production wont be effected.
  4. It will create additional agricultural land and help alleviate water shortages for agriculture.Water resources are constantly dwindling and water shortage is expected to reach 108 MAF by 2013.
  5. It will be very helpful in controlling floods.

    If the KBD would have been constructed the impact of 2010 floods would have been greatly minimized.

  6. Issues regarding the sharing of water should not occur because the 1991 water accord lays down the share of each province.
  7. As far as the displacement of people is concerned the majority of them come from Punjab so Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province has no point in opposing it. And most of the land which will be submerged also belongs to Punjab.
  8. It will also create employment by helping fishing industry in the area.

The people opposing this dam should be termed as traitors of the nation as Kalabagh Dam is the dire need of the country and its construction cost is cheaper then the Diamer-Bhasha dam which is currently being constructed.

Please vote below to let others know your Opinion.

Should Kalabagh dam be constructed?

See results


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    • profile image


      11 months ago

      I think The Indus Water Treaty was signed in 1960 not 1961

    • drdspervez profile image


      2 years ago from Pakistan

      Making Dams in Pakistan is very essential & Our Prime Minister Imran khàn/Cheif Justice of Pakistan Cheif justice Saqib Nisar has open fund raising account for Diamer Bhasha Dam & Mohmand Dam in Pakistan. Politicians should not politicise Kalabagh Dam. Dr.Durreshahwar Pervez

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      KBD is the requirnment to face flood satuations like now

    • alikhan3 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      It would be highly appreciated by the readers if you share some of the technical points of your study related to KBD with us.

    • profile image

      Zaib Ali 

      6 years ago

      Great effort by a True-Pakistani (not a Pathan-Punjabi-Sindhi-Baluchi). I am a studying in University of Melbourne-Australia. I took KalBagh Dam as my thesis and discussed all the details about it. After reading the thesis, my teacher said "Considering all the benefits of the dam, I wonder that not even the worst enemy of your country would have the guts to oppose it. Indeed less-developed nations are not short of resources but the wisdom to manage the resources gifted by God to them"

    • alikhan3 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Please elaborate your question, what is this strike slip fault? ( I am just a layman )

    • profile image

      nauman khan 

      7 years ago

      i am geology student so i have read that here is strike slip fault of 122 km so what will be the effect of that fault,

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      8 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear alikhan3

      A well reasoned and researched article. Dams always have pros and cons the answer is does the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term disruption.

      Kind regards Peter

    • alikhan3 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      am currently busy with my exams....afterwords I will provide you with some links i used to write this article

    • profile image

      Shahab ALi Khan 

      9 years ago

      hello sir ! i am a student of civil engineering & i read out your article about KBD, sir i want more info about the Dam kindly inform me if you have, contact me on my yahoo or faceboof mail (,

      i will be waiting 4 you.

    • pramodgokhale profile image


      9 years ago from Pune( India)

      I am an Indian and know the problems when large dams being built.India faces hurdles from social organizations who oppose to build large dams but can not produce solution,to uplift the nation and masses.I appreciate you to write articles on such sensitive issues.It is true that shifting of mass and submerging many localities,they feel marginalized and for land acquisitions they should get market price and compensation for their future survival,this is the point many governments failed across the globe.

      Thank you sir,

      keep writing on such issues

    • alikhan3 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Am happy to know that you are reading.

    • profile image

      James Agbogun 

      9 years ago

      The arguments against the construction of the kalabagh Dam are the same with Dams that have already been costructed around the world. It's a great thing placing the advantages and disadvantages on a fulcrum so people are well informed to decide. Thank you for sharing!


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