The dam's spillway
|Location||Kaptai, Rangamati District|
|Dam and spillways|
|Type of dam||Embankment|
|Height||45.7 m (150 ft)|
|Length||670.6 m (2,200 ft)|
|Width (crest)||7.6 m (25 ft)|
|Width (base)||45.7 m (150 ft)|
|Dam volume||1,977,000 m3 (2,585,818 cu yd)|
|Spillway type||Controlled, 16 gates|
|Spillway capacity||16,000 m3/s (565,035 cu ft/s)|
|Total capacity||6,477,000,000 m3 (5,250,989 acre·ft)|
|Catchment area||11,000 km2 (4,247 sq mi)|
|Surface area||777 km2 (300 sq mi)|
|Normal elevation||33 m (108 ft)|
|Commission date||1962, 1982, 1988|
|Turbines||2 x 40, 3 x 50 Kaplan-type|
|Installed capacity||230 MW|
Kaptai Dam (Bengali: কাপ্তাই বাঁধ) is located on the Karnaphuli River at Kaptai, 65 kilometres (40 mi) upstream from Chittagong in Rangamati District, Bangladesh. It is an earth-fill embankment dam with a reservoir (known as Kaptai Lake) water storage capacity of 6,477,000,000 m3 (5,250,989 acre·ft). The primary purpose of the construction of the dam and reservoir was to generate hydroelectric power. Construction was completed in 1962. The generators in the 230 MW power station, called Karnafuli Hydroelectric Power Station, were commissioned between 1962 and 1988. It is the only hydroelectric power station in Bangladesh.
A brief reconnaissance occurred in 1906 when the Karnafuli Hydropower Station was first contemplated. A second study was carried out in 1923. In 1946, E. A. Moore recommended the proposed project at Barkal about 65 kilometers upstream of present dam site at Kaptai. In 1950, the Marz Rendal Vatten Consulting Engineers suggested a site at Chilardak, about 45 kilometers upstream of Kaptai. In 1951, the government engineers proposed Chitmoram, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) downstream of the present site. Under the guidance of then Chief Engineer (Irrigation) Khwaja Azimuddin, the construction site was chosen at present location of the dam in 1951. Utah International Inc. was selected as construction contractor. The construction of the dam started in 1957.
Starting in 1957, the initial phase of the construction was completed in 1962. By this time the dam, spillway, penstock and two 40 MW Kaplan turbine-generators were built within the power station. In August 1982 a 50MW generator was commissioned. In October 1988 the 4th and 5th generating units, both 50 MW Kaplan-type turbines, were installed which raised the total generation capacity to 230MW. The total cost of Unit 1, Unit 2 and a part of Unit 3 was Rs. 503 million and the total cost of extension was Tk. 1,900 million. The project was financed by the East Pakistan Government (at the time), United States and the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund.
The earthen dam is 670 metres (2,200 ft) long and 45.7 metres (150 ft) wide with a 16-gated spillway on the left side. The construction of the dam submerged 655 square kilometres (253 sq mi) area. This included 220 square kilometres (85 sq mi) of cultivable land, 40 percent of the cultivable land in the area, and displaced 18,000 families and 100,000 tribal people, of which 70% were Chakma. The dam also flooded the original Rangamati town and other structures.
Local inhabitants living in the storage reservoir area who lost their homes and farmland due to flooding were not compensated. More than 40,000 Chakma tribals emigrated to India. The scarcity of land is considered a main cause of the continuing conflict in the area today.
The building of the dam and reservoir also caused destruction of wilderness and loss of wildlife and wildlife habitats.
- "Dam - Kaptai Dam". Retrieved 2007-02-01.
- "Kaptai Dam Structure". Retrieved 2007-02-01.
- "Power Plants". Bangladesh Power Development Board. March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
- "Kaptai Dam". Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- "The construction of the Kaptai dam uproots the indigenous population (1957-1963)". Retrieved 2007-02-01.
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