Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Royal Engineers prepare for vital Afghan dam upgrade


BRITISH ARMY engineers in Afghanistan are preparing to deliver a desperately needed upgrade to the vital Kajaki Dam, the main source of power and water for Helmand province.

The dam is located in the Taliban-occupied Sangin Valley and has been transformed into a major battlefi eld as the Taliban and the multinational coalition fight to keep control of it.

The existing hydroelectric turbine will be repaired and a second one will be installed to boost the dam's electricity generating capacity. It currently generates 50% of Helmand's power.

'Better turbines allow adjustment of the flow of water through the dam. That dam collects all the water over the rainy season, which is about four months, keeps it there, then releases it on a regular basis to provide regular irrigation and keep the turbines running, ' said Major Jeremy Holman.

Built in 1955 and upgraded with a turbine in 1973, the Kajaki Dam is due a refurbishment. The three-year project is expected to begin in July when the British Army hopes to have succeeded in securing the one route through the valley.

It plans to use similar techniques to those used in the town of Gereshk where 42 Field Squadron was able to construct check points in just 16 hours.

A team of Royal Engineers, supported by the Royal Marines, will secure the main access route by constructing fortifi ations along its length out of giant Hesco sandbags.

'There's a huge amount of wrangling going on up there. It [the upgrade] will happen, but the project is in the foothills of the mountain therefore there's a lot of security work that needs to be done to enable that project to advance, ' said Holman.

American overseas development department USAID is planning to transport a 300t turbine from China through the Sangin Valley to the dam.

'It will provide more power and could effectively power the whole of Helmand, ' claimed Holman.

(see special report P18)

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.