Kajaki dam: New phase
The Ministry of Water and Energy is going ahead with phase two of the Kajaki Dam northeast of Lashkargah in Helmand province.
The foundation stone for the dam was laid in 1953 during the government of King Zaher Shah. The dam with three turbines was to be at a 94-metre elevation with the capacity to store 200 cubic metres of water.
Two turbines were installed with a capacity of producing 33 MW of electricity. The third turbine with a capacity of 18.5 MW was installed only in 2016 under the national unity government with financial support from the US aid agency USAID. The contract for the work was awarded to a Turkish company.
Authorities in the Ministry of Water and Energy say that power from the Kajaki dam is being distributed to people in Helmand.
According to Abdul Basir Azimi, administrative and financial deputy minister of water and energy, the dam's capacity increased from 33 MW to 51.5 MW when the third turbine was started.
Under a fresh memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the government and the Turkish company called 77 work on second phase of the dam is expected to be completed in three years. Sluice gates for the purpose of the raising the water level and three new turbines will be put up. The ministry says with the three new turbines the dam capacity will increase by an additional 100 MW. The estimated budget for the second phase is 180 million USD.
Basir Azimi says that once the dam work is completed Kajaki will be one of the most important dams in the region.
The electricity generated will be sold to power utility Breshna.
According to water and energy ministry officials, 233,000 hectares of agricultural land will be irrigated once the Kajaki dam is completed. The water will be transported through a network of four main canals and 31 "traditional" systems. The main canals include Nahr Seraj, which has a capacity of watering 44,000 hectares.
Similarly the canal of Buqra has a capacity of water for 121,000 hectares lands, Lashkargah canal for 24,000 hectares and Darweshan for 44,000 hectares. Fields watered by the Kajaki dam will be used for rice cultivation.