Impounds Indus River
Locale Indus, Pakistan
Type Earthfill dam
Length 3,350 m (10,991 ft)
Height 79 m (259 ft)
Discharge capacity of spillway 30,000 m/s (98,000 ft/s)
Dam owner(s) GoP
Power generation information
Installed capacity 3,600 MW
The Kalabagh dam is a proposed hydroelectric dam planned be built on the Indus River by the Government of Pakistan. The proposed site for the dam was situated at Kalabagh in Mianwali District of the Punjab province, bordering the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The dam project was controversial since its inception. In December 2005, General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, announced that he would build the dam in the larger interest of Pakistan. In May 26, 2008, Federal Minister for Water and Power of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, said that the "Kalabagh Dam would not be constructed" and the project is now cancelled. He said due to the "opposition from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa., Sindh and other stakeholders, the project was no longer feasible".
The proposed construction of the Kalabagh Dam triggered a bitter controversy among the four provinces of Pakistan, namely Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. The only province which is in favour of this dam is Punjab, which is the strongest of the four provinces, as usually the government is mainly centralised in it. The other three provinces have expressed dissatisfaction: their provincial assemblies passed unanimous resolutions condemning the proposed dam. Hence, the project was still under consideration only.
According to some small controversial groups, the tailender has a legal and natural right on river. However it has been nullified by Indians who are building 62 dams in Kashmir virtually drying up all the river. They claim no dam or reservoir can be built without permission and endorsement of the tailender, i.e., Arabian Ocean. In the case where the tailender is not using water, i.e., building a water reservoir, a reservoir can be made upstream.
Impact assessments of the proposed dam have shown that while it will provide storage and electricity, the dam will also have adverse impacts on the environment, as can be expected from any large dam. It will also displace a large number of people. While proponents point to the benefits, the adverse factors have been played up by the opponents of the dam. As a result, the dam has been stalled by claims and counterclaims since 1984.
Punjab needs more water to keep up with the growing population and industrial demands on its agriculture. A dam at Kalabagh would also supply cheap hydro-electric power to the whole country.
The annual outflow of water into the Arabian Sea is considered a "waste" in Punjab, which feels that water can be used to irrigate infertile lands.
Punjab wants not just Kalabagh, but also two more large dams on the Indus, at Bhasha and Skardu/Katzarah. It feels that the Kalabagh site is the most favourable, compared to the other two, and that it should be built first. Bahalwalpur and Bahawalnagar will get most of the water stored in Kalabagh Dam.
On the other hand, Punjab has been severely hit by Kalabagh Dam being not built. In the early 1960s, Pakistan had agreed to a deal with India over the royalty of rivers. That had given royalty of two rivers Satluj and Biyas to India. Since than, the river Ravi, Satluj and Biyas are only used as flood release rivers by India. Pakistan government was allowed and funded to build this dam only because they had agreed such deal with India. Now Pakistan hasn't built the dam and has also barrened a large area of Punjab province by taking out three rivers.
Punjab's view is that a dam of above 3GW production can finish all the energy crisis of Pakistan. Overall, it will help Pakistan to grow further as electricity produced by water is cheapest compared to all other resources.
Punjab has also agreed not to claim any royalty on generation of resources from Kalabagh dam[citation needed.
Sindh is the lower riparian and strongest opponent of KBD. But its case mainly against Punjab is more on a conceptual basis of what Sindh thought to be "theft of water by Punjab" rather than locating an actual incident of theft. Sindh supports its argument by stating that by virtue of its name and history of water rights of the province, Indus River belongs exclusively to Sindh. Therefore, claiming the construction of dams, Tarbela and Mangla and now KBD actions of theft of water at the irrigation cost of Sindh. Sindh presents many objections against the proposed dam:
* Sindh objects that their share of the Indus water will be curtailed as water from the Kalabagh will go to irrigate farmlands in Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, at their cost. Sindhis hold that their rights as the lower riparian have precedence according to international water distribution law.
* The coastal regions of Sindh require a constant flow of water down the Indus into the Arabian Sea so that the flowing water can keep the seawater from intruding inland. Such seawater intrusion would literally turn vast areas of Sindh's coast into an arid saline desert, and destroy Sindh's coastal mangroves.
* With the construction of dams, such as Mangla Dam and Tarbela Dam across the Indus, Sindhis have seen the once-mighty Indus turned into a shadow of its former glory downstream of the Kotri Barrage up to Hyderabad. They fear that there simply is not enough water for another large dam across the Indus, let alone three.
* The Kalabagh site is located in a highly seismic zone near an active fault, and the underlying rocks are likely to contain numerous fractures, causing the reservoir water to seep through the catacomb of fractures and discharge at the lowest point around the reservoir and the Indus river. 
* Damming the Indus has already caused a number of environmental problems that have not yet addressed. Silt deposited in the proposed Kalabagh dam would further curtail the water storage capacity of Manchar Lake and other lakes and of wetlands like Haleji Lake.
* President Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and other leaders, have promised "iron-clad constitutional guarantees" to ensure that Sindh gets its fair share of water. However, these assurances mean little to most Sindhis, who claim that even the earlier 1991 Indus Water-Sharing Accord, which is a document already guaranteed by the constitutional body, the Council of Common Interests, has been violated, and that Punjab has "stolen" their water.
The objection to Kalabagh in Sindh is widespread. Even political parties of Sindh that are in the central cabinet and are supported by General Musharraf, such as the Muttahida Quami Movement, have strongly denounced the dam. Opposition towards Kalabagh Dam is such that PML N's Sindh Chapter also were in unison with the opponents of the Dam and as a result even PML N's leader Mr Nawaz Sharif, who as the Prime Minister of Pakistan had stated in 1998 that he proposes to build the dam, retracted from his stance and declared that Sindh's view point ought to be respected and no project, however essential, be carried out that weakened Pakistan's Federation.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa viewpoint:
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has two main objections to the dam:
* Punjab has low credibility and doubtful sincerity when it comes to fulfilling promises. It does not stop even if it has to break the constitutional gurantees (at least the current government of Punjab,which is of the Pakistan Muslim League (N)). Stopping of wheat supply at check posts for investigation is one such example(this is not allowed in the Constitution of Pakistan).ANP claims that the running of Cheshma-Jhelum link canal and over drawing of water from Terbela is a common feature.
* The entire system and canal of Ghazi- Barotha hydro electric project runs in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa, however the electricity generating turbines were installed just 500 meters inside Punjab so that the royalty is denied to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
* While the reservoir will be in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the dam's electricity-generating turbines will be just across the provincial border in Punjab. Therefore, Punjab would get royalties from the central government in Islamabad for generating electricity. However, Punjab has agreed not to accept any royalties from the Kalabagh Dam and allow their direction to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa but it will start controlling the flow of Indus river and will use it for arm twisting of Sind if it comes into existence(currently it is not possible as the dam would be controlled by the Center).
* Concerns that large areas of Nowshera District would be submerged by the dam and even wider areas would suffer from waterlogging and salinity as has occurred with the Tarbela Dam. As the water will be stored in Kalabagh dam as proposed, that will give water level rise to the city that is about 200 km away from the proposed location.
Balochistan is not directly affected by the dam as such. Rather, most nationalist Baloch Sardars claim the dam as another instance of Punjab lording it over the smaller provinces.They have however,not included the dam n any of their statements after its cancellation.
Most independent analysts believe that the foremost problem with the proposed dam at Kalabagh is one of a "trust deficit between the Punjab on one side and the other three provinces on the other".Ayaz Amir, believes this is due to the frequent coups staged by the Pakistan Army (which is overwhelmingly Punjabi and Pathan in its composition), as well as the Army's extra-constitutional intervention and influence in public sector and civil institutions of the country in general and Sindh in particular(especially in Karachi).This is also due to ethno-nationalists that promote anti-Punjabi sentiments amongst the people.
All Pakistanis agree that Pakistan faces a severe water shortage, and that some form of water management must be implemented soon. Many[who?] point out that even if work on Kalabagh were to start tomorrow, it would still take at least eight years to complete and commission such a large dam. In the meantime, the water situation would continue to worsen. Smaller dams, barrages, and canals must be built before that, and water conservation techniques introduced.
The WAPDA for years repeatedly changed its statistics on the dam, to the point where no-one in Pakistan now believes any of its figures. Government of Pakistan formed a technical committee, headed by A. N. G. Abbasi, to study the technical merits of the Kalabagh dam vis-a-vis the other two. The four-volume technical report concluded that Bhasha or Katzarah dam should be built before Kalabagh, further complicating matters. The report also stated that Kalabagh and Bhasha Dams could be considered feasible.
The abrupt way in which President Pervez Musharraf announced the decision to build the dam, overruling the objections of the smaller provinces, has polarised public opinion. On 26 May 2008, Federal Minister for Water and Power of Pakistan Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that Kalabagh Dam will not be constructed. He said due to opposition from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and other stakeholders, the project is no longer feasible. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani announced that the fate of the project would be decided by a plebiscite. The decision came after Pakistan faced extreme power crisis and acute water shortages. The government is currently finding alternative locations for the dam.
Ghazi Barotha Dam ,Mangla Dam, Tarbela Dam, Warsak Dam, Chashma Dam, Malakand Dam, Dargai Dam, Rasul Dam, Nadipur Dam, Shadiwal Dam, Chihoki Dam, Renala Dam, Chitral Dam, Kuram Garhi Dam, Jagran Dam, Akhori Dam, Gomal Zam Dam, Diamer-Bhasha dam