The Mangla and Tarbela dam projects have generated economic benefits for Pakistan ten times greater than their costs, according to newly released figures.

While the schemes were constructed and commissioned at a combined cost of around US$430M, the benefits to Pakistan in terms of increased irrigation and hydro power generation stood at US$4.8B up to the end of the last fiscal year.

The country’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) used figures for financial benefit per unit of hydro power generated or irrigation water released to estimate the schemes’ collective contribution to Pakistan’s economy since they were first commissioned.

Together the dam projects have released nearly 500Bm3 of irrigation water, providing some US$2.6B in benefits while gains from power generation were US$2.2B.

Since its commissioning in 1975 at a cost of US$320M, Tarbela dam’s benefits from power and irrigation were estimated to be US$1.4B and US$1.6B respectively.

While Mangla dam was built at a much lower cost of around US$114M, benefits since its commissioning in 1967 have been proportionally higher at almost US$800M for power generation and US$990M for irrigation.

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