Water filling in Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project’s reservoir commences

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Islamabad: The strategically important 969 MW-Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) achieved a major milestone on Tuesday as water filling has been started in the reservoir before completion of the dam.

Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is being constructed on river Neelum in AJ&K. The project is an engineering marvel with 90 percent of the project being underground in the high mountain areas. The project consists of four units with installed capacity of 242.25 MW each. The first unit of the project is scheduled to go into operation by end February 2018 followed by the second unit in mid-March and third and fourth units in April 2018. On its completion, the project will contribute about five billion units of electricity to the national grid annually. Annual revenue of the project is estimated to be Rs 50 billion.

According to Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project has entered the final stage with completion of dam structure across the Neelum River at Nauseri. The completion of 160-meter-long and 60-meter-high dam has enabled impounding of the reservoir that commenced today with regulating closure of spillway gates. Water level will be raised at a rate of one to three meters per day. Total storage of the dam is 8,207-acre feet up to design reservoir operating level of 1015 meter above mean sea level. After successful filling of the reservoir, the water will be diverted into the water way system by the end of 2017.

It is worth mentioning that filling of reservoir, which will take about a month, will not affect the water requirements downstream of dam because one of the three gates of the spillway will remain open during the process of reservoir filling. As much as 15 cusecs compensatory water will always be released downstream of dam to cater for the population needs and sustain aquatic ecosystem dependent on the Neelum River. For environmental mitigation measures, a huge amount of Rs. 5.56 billion has been allocated in PC I of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project including water supply schemes for Muzaffarabad, Chattar Kalas and Komi Kot area in addition to many other such schemes, all to be undertaken by the Government of AJ&K.

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