Mirani Dam is basically a medium-size multi-purpose concrete-faced rock-filled dam situated on the side of Dasht River south of the Central Makran Range in the area of Kech District in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. Its 302,000 acre feet reservoir is fed by the Kech River and the Nihing River. Mirani Dam was completed in the year of July 2006 and it impounded the Dasht River in the month of August 2006. On the day of June 26–27, the backflow water from Mirani Dam resulted in a large-scale floods affected several thousand residents in the upstream places of Nasirabad, Kallatuk, and Nodez While the dam is believed to irrigate upto 33,200 acres of land in accordance to official plans, just a fraction of this land is irrigated and established. The regional communities have been staging protests, hunger-strikes, and people’s tribunal to claim compensation in lieu of destruction from the government authorities.
History and construction of Mirani Dam
The feasibility report of the Mirani dam project was 1st completed in the year of 1956. The project then went in to the back screen because of the other key events of the time. Forty-five years passed like that and then in the wake of Gwadar Port development Mirani Dam was commissioned by the Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) in the year of 2001 to offer water for the Gawadar city. Its ground breaking was conducted by then President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the year of August 2001. The project was implemented on EPC basis by Descon Engineering Limited www.descon.com
Beginning of work started in the year of June 2002 and the project was completed in the month of June 2007. Impounding of reservoir began in the year of July 2006 and was launched by then President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf on the day of 16 November 2006.
Construction of the dam consumed 10.87 million man-hours and, at its peak, 1,550 individuals were hired for its construction, mostly from Kech and Gwadar districts. 19038 Acres of land was acquired for the project.
Geography and hydrology
Mirani Dam is situated on Dasht River, nearly thirty miles (48 kilometers) west of Turbat and 380 miles (610 kilometers) south west of Quetta city, in Makran Division of Baluchistan. The Central Makran Range is situated to the north of the dam location. The reservoir is situated on the confluence of the 2 tributaries of Dasht; Kech River and Nihing River.
Both Kech and Nihing are seasonal streams which flow during the season of summer from the rainfall and melting snow from the mountains upstream.
Structure and purpose
Kech Valley contains cultivable soil upon which agriculture task could be carried out if a constant water supply is ensured. The key purpose of Mirani Dam was to store water from the 3 rivers during the time of summer season and during the time of floods so that water could be present for irrigation purposes throughout the year in case to bring 33,200 acres of hitherto uncultivated land in the place of Kech Valley under cultivation. The secondary intention of Mirani Dam is to make sure that a constant supply of clean drinking water to the towns of Turbat and Gwadar city throughout the year.
Mirani Dam Disaster
On the night between the days of June 26 & 27, 2007 the backflow water from the site of Mirani dam inundated upstream places of Nasirabad, Nodez, and Kallatuk damaging several thousand houses, date trees, and indigenous underground irrigation channels. The destruction was so extensive that the present Chief Minister of Baluchistan province, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch who was a Senator at the period, termed the Dam as a “mega-disaster” and calling into query all the government assessments and forecasts over its utility. Regional activists have been since then claiming the relevant authorities involving WAPDA, the Planning Commission of Pakistan, and the Provincial government to pay compensation for their huge losses. Their particular claims involve compensation of destruction to houses and date trees for up to 271.2 Average Mean Sea Level (AMSL), while the government has appreciated the claim by regional communities eight years after the disaster; the compensation is still to be paid.