Swat river near Madyan
|- left||Ushu Khwar, Bashigram Khwar|
|- right||Daral Khwar, Gabral Khwar|
|Source||Hindu Kush Mountains|
|Source confluence||Ushu khwar & Gabral Khwar|
|Length||240 km (149 mi)|
|Basin||14,000 km2 (5,405 sq mi)|
The Swat River (Pashto: د سوات سیند) is a perennial river in the northern region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. The river commences in Swat Kohistan region of Kalam with the confluence of two main tributaries Ushu and Gabral and runs downstream in a narrow gorge up to Baghdheri.
Origin of the name & Route
The name is derived from an old Sanskrit term Suvastu which means crystal clear water like azure in colour. It is mentioned in Rig Veda 8.19.37 as the Suvastu river. With the passage of time, it was shortened to Swat by the people. Its source lies in the Hindukush Mountains, from where it is fed by the glacial waters throughout the year and flows through the Kalam Valley in a narrow gorge with a rushing speed up to Madyan and lower plain areas of Swat Valley up to Chakdara for 160 km. In the extreme south of the valley, once again the river enters to a narrow gorge and joins river panjkora at Qalangi and finally empties into Kabul river near Charsadda. It is diverted near Batkhela for irrigation and power generation purposes. The upper Swat canal flows under Malakand through Benton tunnel. Below Dargai the upper canal is divided into two branches, one supplying Charsadda and the other Swabi & Mardan. while the waters is also used for hydropower generation at Jabban & Dargai power stations.
Swat River plays an important role in the economy of the valley. It irrigates large areas of Swat District, Malakand District and lower Peshawar Valley and recharge water wells & springs through seepage. The river serves as a habitat for diverse species of birds & contributes to the fishing industry of the region. The aesthetic scenery of river attracts thousands of tourists from all over Pakistan during the summer season.
River Swat has a great untapped hydropower potential which could be harnessed for green power generation. Among them, the feasible site near Munda Headworks has an installed generation capacity of 740 MW. while others are Asrit Kedam HPP, Gabral HPP and Matiltan HPP.
There are several micro hydro-electric power projects on canals from the Swat River which generate electricity for local usage.
- Book: Hidden Treasures of Swat, ISBN: 978-969-23042-0-7
- Journal of Indian History by: University of Kerala Dept. of History, University of Allahabad Dept. of Modern Indian History, University of Travancore, University of Kerala, Published by Dept. of Modern Indian History, 1963 page 28
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