Kaptai Lake the largest man-made freshwater body in bangladesh. though created primarily for hydroelectric power generation, it contributes to produce significant quantity of freshwater fishes,navigation,flood control and agriculture. It is located in the Kaptai Upazila under Rangamat District of Chittagong Division. The lake was created as a result of building the Kaptai Dam on the Karnaphuli River, as part of the Karnaphuli Hydro-electric project.
Map of kaptai lake
The Kaptai Lake's average depth is 100 feet (30 m) and maximum depth is 495 feet (151 m). Its important morphometric and hydrographic features are as follows: surface elevation 31.1m, surface area 58,300 ha, volume 524,700 cu m, total annual discharge 1,707,000 cu m, storage ratio 0.31, mean annual water level fluctuation 8.14m, growing season 365 days, total dissolved solids 76 ppm and specific conductance 144 µmhos at 25ºC.
The scheduled passenger boatThe 'H'-shaped Kaptai Lake has two arms, joined by a narrow gorge near Shubalong, a part of the old Karnafuli river. Kasalong, the right arm of the lake, is fed by two streams, the Mayni and the kasalong, in the north and laterally by the Karnafuli. The left arm, Rangamati-Kaptai is fed by two streams, the Chengi in the north and the Rinkhyong in the south. The Karnafuli forms three prominent loops one at Rangamati, one at Dhuliachhari and the other at Kaptai. The Rangamati and the Dhuliachhari loops are now under the reservoir of the earth-filled dam. The Kaptai Lake has drowned almost the whole of the middle-Karnafuli valley and the lower reaches of the Chengi, Kasalong and Rinkhyong rivers.
Geologically, the lower part of Kaptai Lake, in and around the Kaptai-Rangamati region (ie Kaptai Syncline), is composed mainly of yellowish brown, fine to medium grained, massive to cross-bedded sandstone with alternating shale and silty shale (Tipam Sandstone Formation) and the upper part is featured by yellowish brown, fine to medium grained, subangular to sub-rounded, moderately to poorly sorted, massive to thick-bedded and occasionally cross-bedded sandstone with quartz granules, pebbles, clay galls and contains well preserved leaf impressions (Dupi Tila Formation).
However, around Shubalong and Barkal, the lake mainly comprises Bhuban formation. As the local people remove the protective vegetation around the lake, these rocks are exposed to the monsoon rains and thus eroded easily. This results in landslides, and the loose rock material is washed down the slopes and carried by rivers into the lake. As a result, the lake is silting up rapidly. By the early 1990s, in its 30-year existence, it had already lost about 25% of its volume due to siltation.
Apart from generation of hydroelectricity, the lake has become an important resource for some other considerations. It has created a diversified and long waterway. Many places that used to take a day or even more to reach have now become an hour's trip by speedboat or launch. It has become much easier to exploit forest resources that had earlier been inaccessible.
The whole lake is now a great tourist attraction. The lake's contribution to the development of agriculture and fishery is significant. Since the water level of the lake is maintained at different heights in different months of the year, the lakeshores are under an automatic irrigation system and are very fertile. People practice controlled farming in about 6,075 ha of land on leasehold basis through agreements with the local government.
DAM Built in early sixties Kaptai Dam and the lake are the main attractions of Kaptai. If you are not visiting Kaptai separately then, don’t forget to go for a boating up to Kaptai on the Kaptai Lake while you go to Rangamati tour.