IT has been over two years since Attabad Lake, also known as Hunza Lake, was formed due to the damming up of the Hunza River by a massive landslide in Gilgit-Baltistan on Jan 4, 2010.
Currently, the water level at the lake is 7,746 feet. From data available on the Internet, the discharge from the lake varies from 3,000 cubic ft/per second to 19,000 cubic ft/per second.
The situation at Attabad is ideal for a run-of-the-river power plant which could generate around 325 to 350 megawatts assuming an average flow of 1100 cubic ft/sec or 300 cubic metres/sec and a drop of 666 feet or about 200 metres and an efficiency of 60 per cent.
The traders in the area are asking for this dam to be somehow destroyed or its spillway lowered to such an extent that the section of the Karakoram Highway, which is currently submerged, becomes usable again.
Instead of lamenting over the landslide, we should take the situation realistically and try to harness the potential of the lake .The construction of 13km of the Karakoram Highway from Attabad to Gulmit via Shishkat could be carried out as part of the power plant.
The Hunza Lake could be developed as a tourist spot. The lake could be used for boating, water sports and fishing.
MASUD UR RAHMAN