ISLAMABAD - United States and Pakistan Thursday signed a $72 million project implementation agreement to refurbish and upgrade the Mangla dam located in the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir, which in result would improve operating capacity of hydroelectric plant by 90 megawatts (MW) enough electricity for about 200,000 Pakistani households. Under the agreement, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will fund the refurbishment of two generators and the modernisation of ancillary equipment of the powerhouse at the dam. The new equipment will improve the reliability and efficacy of the Mangla dam for the next 40 years.  USAID Mission Director Gregory Gottlieb and the chairman of Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Syed Raghib Abbas Shah signed the agreement at the offices of Advanced Engineering Associates International (AEAI), the project’s implementing partner. 

“The work at Mangla builds upon efforts begun by the US in the 1960s, when the US government funded the construction of Mangla dam. The United States understands that Pakistan is facing an energy crisis and we are committed to doing our part to alleviate it,” Gottlieb said. The funding of the Mangla dam rehabilitation is one element of a comprehensive US energy assistance programme in Pakistan, which includes renovating the power plant at the Tarbela Dam, upgrading the Guddu, Jamshoro and Muzaffargarh thermal power plants and completing the construction of Satpara and Gomal Zam dams. In total, United States energy programmes have added 1088 MW to Pakistan’s electrical power systems benefiting over 11m Pakistanis. A total amount of $150 million has been slated for the project, with $72m allotted for this initial phase.   “WAPDA has also initiated an upgrade of the Mangla power house to enhance its generation capacity from the existing 1000 MW to1310 MW,” said WAPDA Chairman Raghib Shah.

According to Shah, the project is part of the Federal Government’s strategy to add low-cost electricity to the national grid to mitigate power shortages in the country.