Gomal Zam Dam – A Detailed Overview of Gomal Dam

Pakistan has been going through an energy crisis for years now. But at the same time, the country is trying its best to meet the energy needs of its population. The government has undertaken many projects to meet this goal, such as dams in different provinces. One such project for developing a water reservoir is the Gomal Zam Dam in South Waziristan Agency, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The dam has been constructed over the River Gomal, a tributary of the Indus river, where the Gomal river passes through a narrow gully. It is one of the integral dams in Pakistan.

This project is a vital national interest and opened up a new way of prosperity for Pakistan. After the construction of this dam, the topmost concerns were the life of the local community and the environment. However, the primary purposes of the dam are flood mitigation and water supply for the local population and agricultural lands. Also, the dam focused on the improvement of the living standards of the community and regional developments.

The Gomal Zam Dam has a height of 133 m (437 ft) with a length of 231 m (758 ft). The total storage capacity of the dam is 1,140,000 acre-feet, and it can generate up to 17.4MW of power.

The multipurpose project of this dam provides several socio-economic benefits such as flood mitigation, irrigation of land, hydropower generation, and promotion of regional development. It also offers a much-needed water supply for the region’s local population and agricultural lands.

It was estimated that the total cost of construction work for the Gomal Zam dam would be around 12,829 million rupees, with financial contributions from the public and private sectors and a significant part contributed by USAID.

Let’s unwind some interesting facts & figures about the Dam in this article!

History of Gomal Zam Dam

The dam’s history is quite famous in the region and dates back to the 1890s when some British officers of the Royal Corps of Engineers proposed and planned the dam site at Khjori.

However, the dam was approved by the Government of Pakistan in 1963. In the same year, the preparations to begin the construction got done. But soon, the construction work had to stop because of the Indo-Pak war of 1965, and there were enough budget constraints.

The project was later revived in 2001 when the provincial minister Aminullah Gandapur brought the delay in the construction of a dam to the then-president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharaf. He ordered the construction work to resume, and the work on the dam started in the same year. However, the construction stopped again after this due to budget constraints.

After a delay of so many years due to several reasons, the dam was officially inaugurated in 2013.

Location of Gomal Zam Dam

Gomal Zam Dam is a multipurpose gravity dam located in the South Waziristan tribal district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The dam is built across the Gomal River, a tributary of the Indus river. That was the same site that the British engineers proposed.

It is situated on the edge of South Waziristan and is ideal for water supply and irrigation of the nearby areas. The dam is located about 138 km from D.I Khan, and it takes almost 2 hours to reach the dam from Dera Ismail Khan.

Characteristics of Gomal Zam Dam

The dam is a multipurpose gravity dam that perfectly serves irrigation needs, flood control, and power generation. This dam impounds the Gomal river and is owned by the Government of Pakistan. Here’s a quick view of the dam’s characteristics.

1.     Height of Dam

The height is 133m (437 ft), and it is one of the giant dams in Pakistan. The tallest dam in Pakistan is 470 ft which is Tarbela dam. So, the Gomal Zam dam has a good height in terms of its purpose.

2.     Length of Dam

The length is 231m (758 ft). That is a good length for this type of dam, and it can easily handle the water pressure. Therefore, the dam was designed by specifically keeping the size into consideration.

3.     Gross Storage Capacity

It has a gross storage capacity of about 1,140,000 acre-feet which is one of the most extraordinary capacities of any dam in Pakistan. This large storage capacity helps to provide enough water for irrigation and other activities.

4.     Generation of Electricity

The Gomal Zam dam can generate up to 17.4 MW of electrical power, which is enough to fulfill the energy requirements of the nearby area. It also supplies electricity to some parts of FATA tribal areas.

There’s a plan to increase the generation capacity of this dam in the coming years. But that still needs to be implemented.

Multipurpose Dam Project

The dam was constructed as a multipurpose project to fulfill different purposes, such as irrigation, flood control, and electricity generation. It can also act as a source of water for drinking and industrial use. Let’s explore how the dam is meeting these purposes.

1.     Flood Control

Gomal dam has been essential in flood control in the region. It stores water during monsoon season and releases it gradually as per demand reducing the risk of flooding in the nearby areas.

2.     Generation of Electricity

The dam has a hydropower plant capable of generating 18 MW of electricity using the stored water. That helps to fulfill the region’s energy needs and lessen the country’s electricity crisis.

3.     Irrigation Facilities

Water stored is used for irrigation purposes. In addition, it provides water to over 21,000 acres of land, which helps local farmers to grow crops and other vegetation in the area.

4.  Multipurpose Project

Apart from fulfilling the purposes mentioned above, the Gomal Zam dam is a multipurpose project. It is used for the region’s flood control, navigation, and fish farming.

Socio-Economic Benefits of Gomal Zam Dam

The construction of the Gomal Dam has brought a lot of socio-economic benefits to the neighboring areas. These benefits have played an integral role in the betterment of the country.

1.     Access to Potable Water

The construction has made it possible to provide drinking water facilities to nearby areas. As a result, it has improved the living standards of the people living in these areas.

Gomal Zam dam provides an irrigation facility that relieves farmers from relying on traditional irrigation methods.

2.     Tourism

Gomal Zam Dam is also a popular tourist destination due to its scenic beauty and exciting characteristics. Travelers from all over the country come to visit this dam. They not only visit the dam with the purpose of tourism but also to learn how hydropower electricity is generated.

3.     Employment

The dam has created employment opportunities for the people in the area. This project is the largest employer in that area, and more than three hundred people are working there. Two-thirds of these employees are locals, meaning the dam has benefitted locals.

4.     Agricultural Development

It is a highly productive irrigation project. The water released from the dam is also being used for agricultural purposes. That has increased the yield and quality of crops in the area. Moreover, this project also provides drinking water to many villages nearby.

Apart from all these benefits, the Frontier Works Organization working at the dam also provided the local population with medical facilities, which has been a great initiative.

Total Cost of Construction Work of Gomal Zam Dam

The cost of construction is estimated at 4.388 billion. In 2002, Pakistan’s Water & Power Development Authority hired a Chinese venture CWHEC-HPE to lead the dam’s construction at the said cost.

However, the construction work stopped in 2004 when Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan kidnaped two Chinese engineers. One of them got rescued shortly, but the other died in this attempt.

The construction work on Gomal Zam started again in 2007 when Pakistan put its army construction branch, the Frontier Works Organization, in charge of this project. The total cost of this resumed project was somewhere around 13 billion rupees.

The USAID announced in 2010 that it would provide the necessary funding for constructing the dam. Unfortunately, there was further delay in the project, and the reason this time flooded in Pakistan was in 2010. However, the construction work got done by 92% at that time.

In 2011, USAID agreed with WAPDA to provide 40 million dollars to complete the construction of the Gomal Zam dam, which was completed in 2013.

Interesting Facts & Figures about Gomal Zam Dam

You must’ve explored all the facts and figures about this dam in the article, but let’s take a quick look at it before we conclude.

– It is a multipurpose dam that stores water, regulates floods, generates electricity, and irrigates agricultural land.

– The total height of the Gomal Zam Dam is 133 meters or 437 feet.

– The length of the dam is 231 meters or 758 feet.

– It has a gross storage capacity of 1,140,000 million acre-feet.

– The dam generates about 17.4 MW of electricity.

– It’s estimated that the total cost of construction work was nearly 20 billion rupees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who built the Gomal Zam dam?

The Gomal Zam Dam was built by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and is owned by the Government of Pakistan. However, foreign aid and Chinese ventures also played their role in developing this dam.

On which river Gomal Zam dam is built?

Gomal Zam Dam is built on the Gomal River, a branch of the Indus River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Gomal River is one of the principal rivers of South Waziristan, and it originates from Afghanistan.

It’s a 400 kilometers long river in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Gomal river originates from the northern part of Afghanistan’s Paktika province. This river joins the Indus river 20 miles south of Dera Ismail Khan.

Gomal university in Dera Ismail Khan is based on the name of the Gomal river.

Why is the Gomal Dam called Gomal?

The name “Gomal” comes from the river Gomati mentioned in Rigveda. However, the Gomal dam was built on one of the tributaries of the Indus river, called the Gomal River. So the perception behind this name might not be accurate, but that’s what it’s believed.

The Gomal Zam Dam is a multipurpose dam built over the Gomal River, located in the South Waziristan Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. This dam is constructed to become a source of irrigation water, generate hydroelectricity, and maintain river flow.

The construction work of this project is completed with an estimated cost of nearly PKR 20 billion. The project has provided numerous socio-economic benefits to the country as well. Visit this dam and explore the incredible beauty of nature!