Reservoir water levels drop, authorities warn of drastic measures
By Rukshana Rizwie
Due to the prevailing drought, water levels of the main reservoirs have dropped to half its capacity, with authorities warning that drastic measures may need to be taken if water is to be continuously released from the reservoirs for power generation.
Senior Engineer and Director of Major Dams at the Mahaweli Authority, S.R.K Aruppola told the Sunday Observer that the situation was bleak with water levels dropping to 40% of the total capacity at many of the reservoirs.
“We have not come to a critical stage yet, if we receive adequate rainfall within the next few weeks, we may recover, however, if we don’t, we will limit water storage to the critical level,” he said. “At present we are releasing water for power generation only for two hours per day to cater to the peak hours between 7 pm – 8 pm.”
He added that there has been an increase in electricity consumption which has prompted the Ceylon Electricity Board to bargain for a greater flow of water for power generation.
Active water storage levels at Randenigala and Rantambe were 47.9% and 3.5% respectively. Wasantha Ehelapitiya, engineer- in-charge at both the power stations said that water levels have been decreasing by nearly 10cm per day while energy consumption was also on the incline.
Water is released from Randenigala only when there is sufficient water, while Rantambe is used only for peak hours. Currently hydro power from Victoria, Moussakele, Castlereigh and Samanalawewa is only released according to CEB’s weekly/daily requirements. The CEB is currently drawing 40cfs from Bowatenna for 6 hours at 11 MW however the CEB during the last weekly operational meeting decided to build up the water level with immediate effect.
“Due to the existing base load and coal power, we will not face any immediate power crisis, however the drought should prevails, we may need to consider contingency measures,” Aruppola said.
Kotmale Power house has been shut down for four weeks starting from 8th September, while CEB intends to take Randenigala power plant unit No.2 for maintenance work for five weeks starting from 26th September.
The CEB also has requested that CEB to give priority for Polpitiya power generation to facilitate Ambatale drinking water needs..