Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant

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Kishanganga Dam
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant
Location of Kishanganga Dam in Jammu and Kashmir
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is located in India
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant (India)
Coordinates34°38′58″N 74°45′03″E / 34.64944°N 74.75083°E / 34.64944; 74.75083Coordinates: 34°38′58″N 74°45′03″E / 34.64944°N 74.75083°E / 34.64944; 74.75083
Construction began2007
Opening dateMay 19 2018
Construction costRs. 5783.17 crore ($864 million USD 2016)[1]
Owner(s)NHPC Limited
Dam and spillways
Type of damConcrete-face rock-fill
ImpoundsKishanganga (Neelum) River
Height37 m (121 ft)
Total capacity18,350,000 m3 (648,000,000 cu ft)
Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant
Coordinates34°28′21″N 74°38′06″E / 34.47250°N 74.63500°E / 34.47250; 74.63500
Commission dateMay 19 2018
Hydraulic head646 m (2,119 ft)
Turbines3 x 110 MW Pelton-type
Installed capacity330 MW
Annual generation1,730 million kWh

The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River (Neelum River) to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin. It is located 5 km (3 mi) north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir, India and will have an installed capacity of 330 MW. Construction on the project began in 2007 and was expected to be complete in 2016. Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA) in October 2011 due to Pakistan's protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan). In February 2013, the CoA ruled that India could divert all the water leaving a minimum amount of water to the downstream of the dam on Kishanganga River for the purpose of environmental flows.[2][3] The CoA also ruled that India shall not lower/draw down the water level below the dead storage level for sediment flushing purpose.[4] CoA also stipulated in its verdict that India shall maintain minimum environmental flows in the Kihanganga river at the line of control point not be less than 9 cumecs continuously.[5] However, the minor differences between India and Pakistan over the project are still not settled.[6][7] All the three units (3 x 110 MW) were commissioned and synchronized with the electricity grid by 30 March 2018.[8] On 19 May 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kishanganga hydropower project.[9]


The project includes a 37 m (121 ft) tall concrete-face rock-fill dam which will divert a portion (58.4 m3/sec) of the Kishanganga River south through a 24 km (15 mi) tunnel. The tunnel is received by a surge chamber before sending water to the underground power house which contains 3 x 110 MW Pelton turbine-generators. After the power plant, water is discharged through a tail race channel into Bonar Nallah which drains in to Wular Lake. The drop in elevation from the dam to the power station will afford a hydraulic head of 646 m (2,119 ft).[10] This Project is taken up by NHPC. The dam is equipped with lower level orifice spillway to transfer flood water as well as the silt to the down stream for not to affect power generation reliability and the operating life.

As the draw down flushing to remove the sediment from the reservoir is not permitted, initially the sediment accumulation in reservoir would be at faster pace. Once the sediment has filled up in the reservoir leaving the gross storage is equal to the permitted pondage/live storage for the power generation, the dead storage level can be refixed per Annexure D (12) of IWT at a lower level to facilitate draw down flushing. Thus further sediment accumulation in the reservoir is eliminated not to affect the operating life of the power station.[11]


In addition to generating 330 MW power, the diverted water from the Kishanganga River is used for the purpose of irrigation or to generate additional electricity from the downstream Lower Jhelum (105 MW), Uri (720 MW) and proposed Kohala (1124 MW) (in PaK) hydel projects located on the Jhelum River.[12][13]

Future scope[edit]

It is stipulated by the CoA that India shall release 9 cumecs (nearly 283 million cubic meters in a year) for the purpose of environmental flows in to the river to reach Pakistan territory.[5] Though there is no stipulation per IWT to maintain minimum environmental flows for a run of the river hydro power plant, CoA stipulated the same as the requirement under Customary international law.[2] The CoA verdict (page 43) also made provision to contest the minimum environmental flow requirement after 7 years of commissioning the Kishanganga power plant.[5] In case of storage works, Annexure E(20) of IWT clearly permits that the stored water can be used fully in any manner by India without the need to release water to the downstream for minimum environmental flows.[14]

There is nearly 50 square kilometers river catchment area below the Kishanganga dam before the river enters in to Pakistan. Downstream of the Kishanganga dam, the river is taking U-turn to enter in to the Pakistan territory. Nearly 100 million cubic meters capacity storage dam can be envisaged close to the LoC to impound all the inflows which can be further pumped through a 6 km long tunnel in to the upstream Kishanganga dam reservoir. The augmented water in to the Kishanganga dam reservoir is also diverted to the Jhelum river to generate additional power by the 330 MW power plant. As the pumping head (90 m) is not exceeding 15% of the 664 m head available for the power generation, the storage reservoir with pumping facility is highly economical to utilize all the waters of Kishanganga river flowing in India. Water pumping from the storage works/reservoir could be achieved by installing a pumped storage scheme to generate peaking and secondary power additionally.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kishanganga power plant in the state of Jammu and Kashmir on the 19th of May, 2018. The 330MW Kishanganga hydropower station, work on which started in 2009, is one of the projects that India has fast-tracked in the volatile state amid frosty ties between the nuclear-armed countries. "This region cannot only become self-sufficient in power but also produce for other regions of the country," Modi said in the state´s capital, Srinagar. "Keeping that in mind we have been working on various projects here for the past four years." Pakistan has opposed some of these projects, saying they violate a World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries upon which 80 percent of its irrigated agriculture depends.

Local Concerns[edit]

In 2013 local population of Bandipora protested against HCC executing the 330 MW Kishenganga hydroelectric project in the area accused the company of causing severe damage to natural environment[15][16] and causing perilous pollution in the area. Following sustained protests by villagers in 2012 and 2013, the hydrology department of NIT conducted tests in the area and stated pollution had caused chemical disturbance in the water around the project site.The tests revealed high concentration of dissolved solids and unsafe alkaline levels in the water. "The polluted water can neither be used for the human consumption nor for washing purposes," the report cautioned.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "330 MW Kishanganga Power Project to be commissioned by Nov next". Daily Excelsior. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2016. The sanctioned cost of project was Rs 3642.04 crore and revised cost has touched Rs 5783.17 crore
  2. ^ a b "CoA verdict dated 18 February 2013 on Kishanganga hydro power project".
  3. ^ "The Indus Waters Treaty: caught between a dispute and a hard place". Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  4. ^ "The Indus Waters Treaty - Kishanganga verdict aftermath". Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Final award of CoA dated 20 December 2013". Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Pause and effect: What newest twist in Indus Treaty tale means". Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  7. ^ "The Kishanganga conundrum". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  8. ^ "NHPC's Kishanganga project fully commissioned". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Narendra Modi inaugurates Kishanganga hydropower project in Kashmir".
  10. ^ "Kishanganga". NHPC Limited. Retrieved 3 Feb 2019.
  11. ^ "Baglihar Hydroelectric Plant Case Documents Expert Determination" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  12. ^ "GB: water conservation and preservation". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Lower Jhelum Hydroelectric Project JH01065". Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Full text of 'Indus Water Treaty' with Annexures, World Bank" (PDF). Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ a b

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