The Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project was set up in the public sector by the Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan (WAPDA), a government-owned utility. The Project was to divert water from the Indus River at Ghazi (Map 1), which is 7 kilometers (km) downstream from Tarbela dam, to a 52 km power channel. The channel was to then transport the water to Barotha, where a capacity of 1,450 megawatt (MW), consisting of five units of 290 MW each, was to be installed to generate 6,600 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power annually. The Project was a run-of-the-river project, with far less environmental and social impact than is often associated with large dams and reservoirs. The Project comprised three main components: (i) a barrage at Ghazi (Map 2), which is 7 km downstream from Tarbela dam; (ii) a 52 km channel from Ghazi to Barotha (Map 3); and (iii) a power complex at Barotha, with a 1,450 MW generating capacity (Map 4). Approximately 340 km of transmission lines were also to be installed by the Project.
The main objectives of the Project were to meet the demand for electric power in Pakistan by generating hydropower in an environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable manner, with minimal environmental and resettlement impacts. The power generated by the Project was also to help moderate the impact of higher costs of thermal generation in the private sector.
As energy was in short supply in Pakistan, a cost-effective approach to improving efficiency in transportation, conversion, and consumption of energy needed to be addressed. Technical assistance (TA) was therefore associated with the loan to formulate the Power Efficiency Project, to improve demand-side management and reduce power losses.