Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant

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Neelum–Jhelum Dam
Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant is located in Pakistan
Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant
Location of Neelum–Jhelum Dam
Country Pakistan
Location Muzaffarabad
Coordinates 34°23′34″N 73°43′08″E / 34.39278°N 73.71889°E / 34.39278; 73.71889Coordinates: 34°23′34″N 73°43′08″E / 34.39278°N 73.71889°E / 34.39278; 73.71889
Status Under construction
Construction began 2008
Opening date 2016 est.
Construction cost Rs. 274.9 Billion ($2.89 billion USD)
Owner(s) Water and Power Development Authority
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Concrete gravity
Impounds Neelum River
Height 47 m (154 ft)
Length 125 m (410 ft)
Dam volume 156,000 m3 (204,040 cu yd)[1]
Total capacity 8,000,000 m3 (6,486 acre·ft)
Power station
Name Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Plant
Coordinates 34°11′54″N 73°30′41″E / 34.19833°N 73.51139°E / 34.19833; 73.51139
Commission date 2015-2016 (est.)
Type Conventional, diversion
Hydraulic head 420 m (1,378 ft)
Turbines 4 x 242 MW Francis-type
Installed capacity 969 MW
Annual generation 5,150 GWh

The Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant is part of an under construction run-of-the-river hydroelectric power scheme designed to divert water from the Neelum River to a power station on the Jhelum River. The power station is located in Azad Kashmir, 22 km (14 mi) south of Muzaffarabad and will have an installed capacity of 969 MW. Construction on the project began in 2008 after a Chinese consortium was awarded the construction contract in July 2007. The first generator is scheduled to be commissioned in December 2015 and the entire project is expected to be complete in 2016. Significant delays, funding issues, and the potential impacts of India's Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project upstream have impacted the project's construction and potential long-term power generation.


After being approved in 1989, the design was improved, increasing the tunnel length and generation capacity. The project was intended to begin in 2002 and be completed in 2008 but this time-frame experienced significant delays to rising costs and funding.[2] On 7 July 2007, the Chinese consortium CGGC-CMEC (Gezhouba Group and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation) were awarded the contract to construct the dam and power station. The construction contract was settled by the end of the year and in January 2008, the letter of commencement was issued. On 8 February, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf announced that the project would begin.[3] In October 2011, the diversion tunnel intended to divert the Neelum River around the dam site was completed.[4]

On 1 November, Pakistan's Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani publicly stated his concern for the project's delay. At its appraisal in 1989, it was to cost $167 million USD (2011) and after another redesign in 2005, that cost rose to $935 million USD (2011). Currently costs have risen to $2.89 billion USD (2011).[5] The project is being constructed under the supervision of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and funding is being achieved through the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company, taxes, bond offerings, Middle Eastern and Chinese banks. WAPDA has successfully secured loans from a consortium of Chinese banks and from Middle East. Tunnel-boring machines (TBM) were brought to help speed up the excavation of the remaining tunnels. They became operational in February 2013.[6] In mid-2014 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the construction site in mid-2014 and hoped to have at least one generator operational by mid-2015. The project was 66 percent complete as of August 2014 while at the same time the diversion tunnel was 75 percent complete. US$475 million in funding was still not secured by the Economic Affairs Division at that time.[7] On 24 December 2014 a wall near the diversion tunnel's intake collapsed, killing four workers including a Chinese engineer.[8] In January 2015 Minister of State for the Ministry of Water and Power, Abid Sher Ali, stated that that extra funding should be secured and that December 2015 was a feasible target for the first generator to be commissioned.[9] The remainder of the project is scheduled to be complete early, in 2016 instead of the originally planned 2018.[7]

Impact of India's Kishanganga Project[edit]

Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant is located in Jammu and Kashmir
N– J Dam
N– J Dam
N–J Plant
N–J Plant
Kish. Dam
Kish. Dam
Kish. Station
Kish. Station
Location of the Neelum–Jhelum and Kishanganga projects in Jammu and Kashmir

In 2007, India began construction on a run-of-the-river power station on the Kishanganga (Neelum) River upstream of the Neelum–Jhelum Dam. The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant operates in a similar sense as the Neelum–Jhelum, using a dam to divert the Kishanganga (Neelum) River to a power station before it is discharged into Wular Lake which is fed by the Jhelum River. The Kishanganga Project will divert a portion of the Neelum River from Pakistan which will reduce power generation at the Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant. India states the project will divert 10 percent of the river's flow while other estimates stand as high as 33 percent. Nevertheless, water flow below the Neelum–Jhelum Dam, in Pakistan's Neelum Valley, is expected to be minimal as both projects are diverting water to the Jhelum River. This has the potential to have adverse impacts in the Neelum Valley.[10]

In 2010, Pakistan appealed to the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA), complaining that the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant violates the Indus River Treaty by increasing the catchment of the Jhelum River and depriving Pakistan of its water rights. In June 2011, the CoA visited both the Kishanganga and Neelum–Jhelum Projects. In August 2011, they ordered India to submit more technical data on the project.[11] India had previously reduced the height of the dam from 98 m (322 ft) to 37 m (121 ft).[12] After their application was first rejected, the court asked India late September to stop constructing any permanent works that would inhibit restoration of the river. While India couldn't construct the dam, they continued work on the tunnel and power plant.[13] In February 2013 the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum of water for the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant.[14]

Design and operation[edit]

The Neelum–Jhelum Dam will be a 47 m (154 ft) tall and 125 m (410 ft) long gravity dam. It will withhold a pondage (reservoir) with a 8,000,000 m3 (6,486 acre·ft) capacity of which 2,800,000 m3 (2,270 acre·ft) is peak storage. The dam diverts up to 280 m3/s (9,888 cu ft/s) of the Neelum southeast into a 28.5 km (18 mi) long head-race tunnel, the first 15.1 km (9 mi) of the head-race is two tunnels which later meet into one. The tunnel passes 380 m (1,247 ft) below the Jhelum River and through its bend. At the terminus of the tunnel, the water reaches the surge chamber which contains a 341 m (1,119 ft) tall surge shaft (to prevent water hammer) and a 820 m (2,690 ft) long surge tunnel. From the surge chamber, the water is split into four different penstocks which feed each of the four 242 MW Francis turbine-generators in the underground power house. After being used to generate electricity, the water is discharged southeast back into the Jhelum River at 34°10′29″N 73°29′34″E / 34.17472°N 73.49278°E / 34.17472; 73.49278 (Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Plant Discharge) through a 3.5 km (2 mi) long tail-race tunnel. The drop in elevation between the dam and power station afford an average hydraulic head of 420 m (1,378 ft).[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Neelum-Jeelum Hydropower Station". China Gezhouba (Group) Corporation. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project". Water Info. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Commencement of Neelam- Jhelum Hydroelectric Project". China Gezhouba Group Corporation. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Jhelum Hydropower Project Dam Diversion Tunnel completed". 11 October 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "PM displeased with delay in Neelum-Jhelum project". International News. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Nhelum Jhelum Hydropower Project". Water and Power Development Authority. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Kiani, Khaleeq (4 September 2014). "Neelum-Jhelum project facing financial problems". Dawn. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Chinese engineer among four killed in Neelum-Jhelum dam accident". Dawn. 24 December 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "969MW Neelum-Jhelum Dam: Minister optimistic about funds to ensure timely completion". Customs Today. Monitoring Report. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Neelum-Jhelum project contract awarding: delay led India to begin Kishanganga hydel works". Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "Kishanganga issue: Pakistan offers no comments to CoA". Business Recorded. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Q.2506 Lowering of height of kishanganga dam". Indian Ministry of External Affairs. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Hague Court asks India to stop Kishanganga project". The International News. 25 September 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "India can divert only minimum water from Kishanganga: tribunal". Dawn. Retrieved 20 February 2013.