Pakistan’s First Water Desalination-&-Power Plant

Posted on February 20, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Economy & Development, Environment
Total Views: 45753

Owais Mughal

On the same day (Feb 11, 2008) when South Bound Lyari Expressway was inaugurated, another important project of Pakistan reached its opening milestone. This one is called the DHA Desalination and Power Plant. It is the first project of its kind in Pakistan which desalinates water from the Arabian Sea for human consumption as well as provides Electrical Power to the KESC Grid.

The Capacity:

The capacity of the Power plant is 94 MW (Mega Watts) and that of the desalination plant is 3 MIGD (Million Imperial Gallons per Day). Electrical Power generated here is supplied to the 132 KV (kilo-volt) KESC grid whereas the Desalinated Water is supplied to CBC/DHA for local distribution.

The fuel for the Power Plant is Natural Gas which will be provided by the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) via 20″ diameter pipeline. The Electrical Power is generated by two turbines. One is Gas fired with the generation capacity of 67MW. The other is Steam fired with the generation capacity of 27 MW.

Who Did What:

The project is carried out by DHA Cogen Limited (DCL). It is a Public Limited Company which was incorporated in the city of Karachi on January 19, 2003. The company is a joint venture between Defence Housing Authority, Karachi (DHA) and Sacoden Investments, Singapore (SI). The contract for building the Power Plant was given to Siemens AG Germany (SAG) who also supplied the two turbines used in the plant. The Desalination Plant is built by Alfa Level, Copenhagen, Denmark (ALC) and the civil works is carried out by Siemens Pakistan (SPK).

Following is the photo of DHA Desalination Plant

The Civil Works component of the project was a huge task in itself which included the necessary support infrastructure in terms of fuel gas supply, seawater intake, 132KV Sub Station, water treatment, under ground storage, workshop, stores, control room and administration offices.

The Processes:

A neat thing about this project is that a by-product of power generation i.e. steam is used as a fuel to desalinate water. The two power turbines of the Power station are connected together (as a single shaft configuration) along with a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG). The steam turbine is designed to exhaust steam directly to the two MED (multi effect distillation) plants to provide energy input to the MED desalination process.

The photo to the above right shows MED desalination plant installed at HUBCO Karachi. It is similar in MED processes but much smaller in design to the DHA Desalination plant.

Another Success Story of Pakistani Engineers

Here I also want to mention yet another success story coming out of Pakistan’s Public universities. The local project Manager of Siemens AG Germany overseeing the work on the Power Plant is Mr. Yasir Jilani, a EE graduate from the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. I want to present it yet another success story of Engineering graduates coming out of Pakistan’s public Educational System.

Location of the Plant

Plant is located at the southern tip of DHA phase VIII. Google Earth has not been updated for Karachi for many years now therefore it still shows a flat ground in most of DHA phase VIII. The pointer in following image shows where the present day plant is located

In an age when Pakistan is facing serious power shortage, this plant is certainly a welcome addition.

Pakistan’s Other Water Desalination Plants:

1. A desalination plant was installed in 1987 in Saindak Copper Mines in Balochistan. This plant uses the brackish water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO) process.

2. Another desalination plant was installed in 1995 and commissioned in 1996 at the HUBCO power station outside Karachi. This plant uses Reheat type Multi-effect distillation (MED) desalination.

3. KANUPP near Karachi operates a Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant to meet its operating requirements.


1. DHA Cogen Limited
2. Dawn Newspaper Report on Plant Inauguration
3. Google Earth

37 responses to “Pakistan’s First Water Desalination-&-Power Plant”

  1. F K says:

    DHA Cogen is a plant which symbolizes the endemic of corruption in Pakistan. Although on paper DHA Cogen Ltd was supposed to alleviate the power and water shortage facing the residents of DHA and Karachi, however this plant has never functioned properly due to massive corruption. The deal for this plant was made by Brigadier Maqsood who at that time was the DHA administrator. He along with his front man Colonel Asad Alam Niazi made millions by orchestrating a deal where on paper brand new turbines were to be supplied by Siemens, but in fact used turbines were installed. The fact of the matter is that these turbines immediately developed cracks on operation and DHA has had to invest millions of dollars to repair them. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Sacoden Investments Singapore is a fictitious company, they don’t even have a website. Can you imagine a company who apparently invested $100 million and they don’t even have a website. Further more the stake held by Sacoden Investments Singapore has now been bought out by Ashmore Energy International, which is a Cayman Island registered firm. We all know that Cayman Islands is the biggest offshore banking center. President Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto along with countless other corrupt officials of both Pakistan and other third world countries have used Cayman Islands to set up front companies in order to hide their stolen wealth. Unfortunately as has always been the case, all the officials involved in this great scam are living large here in Pakistan. Ex DHA administrator Brigadier Maqsood who is now retired has a lifestyle most westerners would dream of let alone Pakistanis. Colonel(R) Asad Alam Niazi lives in a spacious mansion in DHA from where he is enjoying driving his Range Rover and Mercedes Benz vehicles. So much for keeping a low profile.

  2. MIR AJAZ JAVED says:

    It is a good to see ALL THNINGS PAKISATN.

    Hope it will be a possitive thing!

    Wastage of GAS (energy):
    Most of the factories in Pakistan (mostly textile processing industries) Drain more than 70% of the Thermal Energy of GAS being used (burnt) in their mills!
    May be because the cost of GAS is too low in Pakistan!
    Would you be interested in details?

  3. hashir hamza says:

    we should save energy and this is the problem for load shedding

  4. saeed says:

    Very nice to see it in pakistan

  5. shahad says:

    this informatuon is great i love it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *