Kulekhani water level likely to be lower than last year

Published On: September 13, 2016 01:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 13: Water level in the Kulekhani reservoir was 1,518.6 meter, out of the total capacity of 1530.12 meters, on Sunday, indicating that power generation won't improve this year too.

According to officials of Kulekhani I Hydropower Project, rainfall in catchment area of the reservoir is low compared to average rainfall in rest of the country. Low water level in the country's only reservoir project will constrain energy supply during dry season when energy demand hits peak.

Kulekhani officials say that they expect the water level to rise to around 1,522 meters by the end of monsoon or by the third week of September.  

In the monsoon of 2014, water level in the reservoir had increased to 1,530.12 meters. 

Kulekhani I has installed capacity of 60 MW and its downstream project, Kulekhani II, generates 32 MW. However, electricity generation by both the plants has seen a decline over the past two years.

Basant Kumar Phuyal, chief of Kulekhani I Hydropower Project, said water level in the reservoir is still low. Last year, the water level was at 1,525 meters. 

Country's overall rainfall till Sunday stands at 1,373 mm which is 91 percent of the average rainfall, according to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

Pratibha Manandhar, a senior meteorologist with the department, said they do not have rain gauge stations in Kulekhani catchment area. “But we are expecting better rainfall in the next two weeks,” she said, adding: “Sometimes monsoon can prolong up to October."

Both the plants are lifeline of country's energy supply system. The plants are not run during rainy season to save energy for dry months.

“However, we have to run the plants everyday even during wet months as the system often collapses during peak hours due to high demand. We also operate the plants during wet months when other plants are shut for scheduled maintenance or power supply from other plants is affected,” added Phuyal.


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