World Bank approves $1.1-bn loan for expansion of Pakitan's Tarbela dam

The World Bank yesterday approved $1.1 billion loans for expansion of Tarbela dam that will  add another  1,410 MW of electricity to Pakistan's electricity grid and maximise benefits in the agriculture sector by introducing modern irrigation techniques.

The Executive Board of the Washington-based lending agency approved two projects totaling $1.09 billion that will support Pakistan's growth agenda for reducing poverty, the World Bank country office said in an announcement today.

The Tarbela IV extension hydropower project would add power generation capacity of 1,410 MW, while the Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project is geared toward maximising water use efficiency for higher yield per unit of water, it added.

The availability of electricity is of critical importance for the economic growth and development of Pakistan, where loadshedding is disrupting the lives of Pakistanis and the economic impact of energy shortages is estimated at over 2 per cent of GDP, according to the World Bank.

With the development of its vast hydropower potential – of which only 15 per cent has so far been developed, Pakistan can significantly reverse the situation and reduce the cost of energy supply mix, the statement added.

The $840-million Tarbela IV extension hydropower project would use the existing dam, tunnel, roads and transmission line for generation of additional electricity during the summer when demand for electricity and river flows are high.