Tuesday, June 5, 2018: Water levels at Kenya’s largest hydro power generating dam located in the Seven Forks Cascade, Masinga, have, as of 6:00am today, receded to 1,057.18 metres above sea level (m a.s.l.), from 1,057.72 m a.s.l. since 22nd May 2018.
This decline is attributed to a general reduction in the amount of rainfall in the water catchment area that feeds into the dam, which has led to a reduction in water flowing into the dam. The dam inflow currently stands at 105.80 cubic meters per second from 405 cubic meters per second as of 22nd May. Subsequently, water flowing out of the dam has also significantly reduced to 206.4 cubic meters per second as of this morning down from 514.6 cubic meters per second recorded on 22nd May.
The water flowing in and out of the dam is not expected to increase any further as the long rains season nears its end; according to the June 2018 Kenya Meteorological Department forecast. Rather, it is expected that the water flows will keep reducing at a rate which will be dependent on the rainfall pattern during this last part of the long rains season.
Water levels at other dams located along the Cascade continue to have enhanced water levels with Kamburu Dam’s levels currently standing at 1005.94 m a.s.l., while that of Gitaru Dam standing at 924.36 m a.s.l. Kindaruma Dam’s water level stands at 780.20 m a.s.l., while Kiambere Dam’s stands at 700.70 m a.s.l. All these dams are overflowing to varying degrees.
On the other hand, the water level at Turkwel dam currently stands at 1125.75 m a.s.l. against a full supply level of 1150 m a.s.l. The dam is therefore far from full, and has fallen short of the highest historical level of 1139. M a.s.l.
Speaking while giving today’s update, KenGen Managing Director and CEO, Rebecca Miano said:
“Water levels along the Seven Forks Cascade dams remain enhanced as a result of the enhanced rainfall recorded in May but are expected to stabilize as we near the end of the long rains season. We continue to monitor the situation along the dams to ensure prudent management of the water.”
On the role the dams play in the management of downstream water flow, Mrs. Miano added:
“In addition to hydro power generation, dams along the Seven Forks Cascade help in controlling water flowing downstream whenever there are instances of enhanced rainfall; such as the country has experienced this year.”
She said that the dams are built in a manner allowing water to spill over, in a controlled way, whenever set water volume levels are surpassed in order to retain their structural integrity; ruling out the suggestion that KenGen releases excesses water downstream whenever dams reach their maximum water levels.
“Contrary to perception, we do not manually release excess water from the dams when they attain their maximum levels; this is an in-built and automatic control mechanism that allows water to spill over, in a controlled manner, in order to safeguard the integrity of the dams. The excess water flowing downstream in turn leads to enhanced water levels along the River Tana,” she said.
KenGen being a caring organization and has not turned a blind eye to the need for relief by the communities living near and downstream of the power plants. In line with its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, – it is working with various stakeholders that include the Kenya Red Cross as well as County and Regional Administration, to provide necessary support to those adversely affected by the heavy rains.
KenGen will continue to provide prompt information on water inflows and levels with a view to facilitating proper management of the situation.