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As Eskom opens excess water gates at Jinja dams, communities along the Nile are put on alert

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As Eskom opens excess water gates at Jinja dams, communities along the Nile are put on alert

Huge: Eskom opened the excess water gates at Jinja on Friday.

On Friday 28, Eskom Uganda limited re-opened the spill water gates at Nalubaale Hydro Power dam, as a way to relieve excess pressure on the dam arising from a sustained increase in water levels in Lake Victoria since October 2019.

In a press statement published in one of Uganda’s dailies, Eskom said the decision comes in the wake of excess rainfall across the great lakes region that comprises the catchment of Lake Victoria, which resulted into an increase in lake levels as well as the flow of the river.

The Statement read as follows:

Following the heavier than normal rains the Lake Victoria catchment areas have experienced in 2019, Eskom Uganda Limited which operates and maintains the Nalubaale and Kiira power stations at Jinja has been closely monitoring the water levels of lake Victoria that have been steadily rising since October 2019.

“It is out informed position that the current head water level trends are approaching the maximum and warning levels that would impede the operations and safety of the dams.”

Eskom says that it has sought permission from the Directorate of Water Resources Management to open spill gates to release water as a way of relieving pressure on the two dams.

Statement in Full

Eskom warned that the increased water flow arising from the spilled water, communities living along the river would experience negative impacts of the spilled water.

Some of the negative effects could include flooding which could impact fishing, transportation, farming alongside the river banks, and leisure activities along the Nile.

Before Eskom re-opened the excess water gates, executives from the company conducted sensitization meetings with fishing communities around Jinja to warn them of the negative implications.

It is not clear yet though how and what implications the sudden increase in river flow arising from the re-opening of the sluice gates will have on downstream structures such as Bujagali Hydropower dam, Karuma and other activities down the river.

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