15th May 2018 Kenya continues to experience heavy rainfall in various parts of the country, including the catchment area of the Tana River which provides water to KenGen Hydro-Electric Power Generation Dams.
The primary reason for constructing the Seven Forks Dams – Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma and Kiambere – was to serve a dual purpose: mitigate flooding downstream and generate the much-needed electric power for national development.
Over the years, the dams have helped to regulate river flows and flooding down-stream by temporarily storing the flood volume and releasing it later through the power plants. This has been achieved through a water management plan for regulating the storage and power generation to ensure a healthy ecosystem and less flooding during heavy rains.
KenGen continues to monitor river flows and dam levels in line with prudent water management at the dams. In this regard, we have noted an increase in water levels as heavy rains continue.
At the current inflow rates, it is expected that the Masinga Dam may attain full supply level by 18th May 2018. Overflow at Kiambere will thereafter be inevitable.
The water level at Masinga has risen from 1046.66m on 24th April, 2018 to 1055.53 on 15th May 2018 against a full supply level of 1056.5m above sea level. The reservoir has 0.97m to go before it overflows.
On 25th of April, 2018, Kiambere Dam, the last one on the cascade, started overflowing due to heavy rainfall upstream of the Dam. This was as a result of heavy inflows from rivers like Mutonga, Kathita, Mara, Ena and seasonal streams.
Overflow at Kiambere Dam ceased on 29th April, 2018 but the level remains high, currently at 700.10m against full supply level of 700m above sea level. Similarly, Kamburu, Gitaru and Kindaruma are registering high levels. This is the first time the dams are recording high water inflows since 2015.
Once the Kiambere Dam overflows, it is expected that it would take four days for the water to get to Garissa town and soon after the lower Tana delta.
In the event the water levels continue to rise, communities that live on the banks of Tana River, downstream of Kiambere Dam, are urged to take the necessary precaution.
Despite the dams helping to regulate river levels and flooding by temporarily storing the flood volume and releasing it later, heavy rainfall downstream of Kiambere dam has led to increased water levels in the lower Tana River Basin.
KenGen will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to provide prompt information on water inflows and levels with a view to facilitating proper management of the situation.