have played a very important role in the life of man. They
have served, as trade routes from the earliest times. Before
the building of roads and railways, most trade was carried
on by boats and ships along rivers. This was the reason that
most towns in ancient times were built near river.
In addition to this, rivers have served man in another way.
Man, was dependent on rains for growing crops, but there was
no way to get rain water for irrigation at the required time.
Nor, could the rains be relied upon for the right amount of
water. It was only later that man learned to store rain water
and use it for agriculture in the dry season. Rivers had water
in abundance, so man thought of digging canals to get water
from the rivers for irrigation. The system of canals proved
a better source of water supply, but it had one defect. When
there was shortage of water in the rivers during the winter
season, the canals, would run dry and the farmers, would be
left without water for their crops.
Two problems posed by rivers are, how to get water from the
rivers throughout the year and how to escape the fury of floods.
Barrages are the answer to these problems.
A barrage, is a kind of wall which blocks the flow of water.
It has gates, through which the water is allowed to pass in
a limited quantity. Its aim is to control
the flow of water in the flood season and store it in such
a manner that the canals can get water through-out the year.
In this way, farmers can be given water for their fields,
according to their needs. Life and property can
also be protected from the floods by controlling
the flow of water. This system has been adopted and is being
used all over the world.
The Guddu barrage is one of the many barrages built in Pakistan.
It is built on the river Indus which flows almost the whole
length of Pakistan.
The Guddu barrage, is built at a place where the river is
fourteen kilometres in width. It is designed to force the
water-spread over fourteen kilometres to pass through a narrow
barrage of about a kilometre. The barrage is 1355 metres in
length. It is made in such a way that a flood of about 1.2
million cusecs can pass through it. The 7 metres wide road
bridge over the barrage has reduced the road distance between
Lahore and Quetta. The distance, between Rahimyar Khan and
Kashmore has almost been halved. It has a system of three
main canals, two on the right bank and one/ on the left. The
Begari Sindh Feeder and the Desert Pat Feeder, are on the
right bank and the Ghotki Feeder on the left bank. They are
among the biggest feeder canals of the world. The barrage
is meant to irrigate an area of 2.7 million acres. Most of
lies in the Sukkur and Jacobabad districts of Sindh and the
rest in the Kalat division of Baluchistan province. The grain
output of this area is expected to rise by half a million
The Guddu barrage is one of the biggest barrages of Pakistan.
It has also been the most difficult to complete.
More than 5,000 engineers, technicians and labourers
worked day and night to complete it. It was put into operation
on 4th February, 1962.
The barrage has tamed the river and put an end to the damage
caused by floods in this area.