Karun 3

  • Introducing the plan

In this section the project is introduced in form of following items:

  • Targets
  • History and background
  • Location and general layout
  • River specifications
  • Specifications of catchmnet area
  • Dam location
  • Features
  • Important Effects


TargetsConstructing a concrete double arc dam with the height of 205 m for water supply, flood controlling and increasing the potential of regulating water for drinking and agricultural use.

Constructing a power station with the capacity of 2280 MW for annual generating of 4172 Gw/h energy, controlling the frequency and increasing the stability of public electricity network.

History and background

Karun River catchment area had been considered since a long time ago as the most History & backgroundimportant source of electrical energy. The studies of taking advantage from hydroelectric potential of Karun River catchment area began in 1961 to 1971. At that time, Harza International Engineering Company together with “Farman Farmaeian” Co. recognized the great potential of this region. Following these studies construction of Shahid Abbaspour Project began with a capacity of 1000 MW and in 1976 it was finished. Then two projects of Karun 2 & 3 and Karun 4 were studied. In 1978, Engineering Company of “Land and Water Resources” and “Akers” International were appointed to carry out feasibility studies of Karun 4 Project. These studies continued till 1989. In 1989, the rest of project’s second phase studies of Karun 3 Development was handed over to Iranian-Canadian Corporation of Akers–Mahab Qods and ended in July 1995. In 1995, Project’s third phase began with cooperation of “Mahab Qods” Consulting Engineers and Akers International Company. In the beginning Karun 3 dam and powerhouse was supposed to be constructed by a foreign consortium and its financial sources were supposed to be provided through the foreign finance, but at the final months of technical and financial negotiations, it was assigned that this job should be entrusted into the hands of local experts relying on local financial sources. The diversion tunnels contract and then civil phase was given to Sabir Company (June 1993 and July 1994) and gradually with increasing the volume of activities in July 2001 part of these works was given to Bolandpaye and Tablie Companies.

Efforts of local companies and experts resulted in 2004 and in September the construction of the highest dam of the country ended. On 18th October the water filling operation began and in March 2004 two units of eight units of Karun 3 were put into operation and after that each three months another unit form the remained units was put into operation.

Location and general layout

Karun 3 dam and powerhouse are located in 28 km of Izeh City in 610 km of Karun River-mouth in north-east of Khuzestan Province. This project is located in 120 km of Shahid Abbaspour Dam. Aerial distance of Karun 3 project from Ahwaz is approximately 140 km. This project is located in western Zagros Mountains with layer sedimentary stones and in a rough, rocky and earthquake-prone area with calcareous stones.

River specifications

Karun river is the most watery and the longest river of Iran. Length of Karun River is about 950 km and the measurement of its catchment area is 60000 km2. This river originates from Zagros Chain Mountains and in Gotvand area it enters into Khuzestan plain. The important branch of Karun is Dez River which in north of Ahwaz joins it. Karun River joins Arvadrud in Iran and Iraq borders and heads toward Persian Gulf.

This river in case of discharge capacity is the greatest River of Iran. Annual long term average discharge of Karun River in dam construction site is 300 m3/s.

Specifications of catchmnet area

Karun River flows in a catchment area of 60000 km2. This area in dam construction and powerhouse location is about 24000 km2 and its main source is from Zardkuh Bakhtiary and Zagros Chain Mountains which consists of some small rivers like “Abvang”, “Beheshtabad”, “Mang”, “Kuhrang”, “Bazoft” and “Khersan”.

Dam location

Karun 3 dam is constructed in 120 km distance of Shahid Abbaspour dam. The first Dam Locationdam upstream of Karun 3 on this river is Karun 4 which is being constructed in about 60 km distance of Karun 3 dam.







  • The highest concrete dam of the country
  • The biggest reservoir among double arc concrete dams
  • Maximum volume of concrete placement among double arc dams of the country
  • Maximum excavation and grouting volume in Iran and third rank in the world
  • The biggest powerhouse cavern of the country
  • The 10th biggest powerhouse cavern in the world
  • The biggest downstream dam in country
  • The biggest compensatory outlets among country’s dams
  • Maximum usage of 63.5 mm anchorage in the country
  • Construction of the biggest arched bridge in the country
Item Quantity
Access road About 33 km
Underground tunnels About 22 km
Total excavation 15 million m3
Total underground excavation 1.9 million m3
Total concrete placement 2.7 million m3
Underground concrete placement 570000 m3
Length of drainage and grouting More than 1000 km
16 Vertical shafts Totally 1360m

Important Effects

During construction of Karun 3 dam and powerhouse different consequences have been considered. In this period manpower in Karun 3 workshop were about 7000 staffs at the peak of activities. The created occupational opportunities in Karun 3 project were more than 22000 jobs.

In boundary of workshop and Karun 3 lake about 63 small and big villages are located. 39 villages lost their lands. There was a project in 2001 and 2002 for studying social, economical and natural consequences of Karun 3 Project which was carried out by the Research Deputy of Jahad Daneshgahi of Tehran University. The aim of this project was studying the social, economical and natural specifications of Karun 3 upstream catchment area and finding the ways of reducing or avoiding social issues relevant to resident population translocation in villages. Results of these studies are presented in 11 volumes; including sociology, agriculture, flood, tourism and economical status, capabilities and occupational opportunities in the region.

These studies collected precise and comprehensive data and a series of recommendations are presented. Therefore these studies can be the main base of planning for local development in the region of dam construction.

In this regard some of the carried out activities in the region are:

  1. Constructing the exhibition and recreation complex of Karun 3 including exhibition building, mosque, restaurant, temporary resting facilities, parking space and supermarket.
  2. Constructing administrative and educational buildings in region.
  3. Repairing roads and rural paths of the region.
  4. Activities related to archeology studies in the region.
  5. Translocation of Imamzadeh Shahir Shrine.

    Post Address

  • Post Address : No.3.BIDAR st. AFRICA junction, MODDARES Exp,Way TEHRAN - Post Code: 19649-13581, IRAN
  • Phone : +98 (21) 27823113
  • Fax : +98 (21) 26213732
  • e-Mail :