Masinga dam begins to overflow amid heavy rainfall

Written By: Margaret Kalekye

KenGen is discharging 70 cubic metres per second

Kenya’s largest hydro power generating dam Masinga is full and has started overflowing following heavy rains being experienced in several parts of the country.

The water levels have risen to 1,056.68 metres against a maximum level of 1,056.50 metres

KenGen Managing Director and CEO Rebecca Miano said the dam started overflowing Wednesday night. Masinga Dam feeds four other dams downstream, which are already full

KenGen is discharging 70 cubic metres per second. This comes weeks after it had issued flood alerts, warning communities to take precautions to avert possible disasters.

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Mrs. Miano said KenGen dams are designed in a way that the risk of its walls collapsing due to high inflows is removed.

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At the same time, she said the dams are regularly subjected to independent statutory inspections to ensure continued suitability in line with local and international pertinent standards.

She said the company will continue to implement its water management plan in all its dams including those in the Seven Forks Dams (Masinga, Kamburu, Gitaru, Kindaruma and Kiambere) to not only mitigate flooding downstream but also generate the much-needed electric power for national development.

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“When the dams are full, the water does not overflow over the brim as has been alluded to in recent media reports, but through built-in structures, designed to direct the water back to the river bed in a controlled manner,” said Mrs. Miano.

KenGen’s hydro-electric power capacity currently stands at 820MW which accounts for 52% of its installed capacity and 47% of the total national capacity.

On Tuesday, the Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter asked residents of Garissa, Hola, Garsen and Bura to move to safer ground after announcing the dam would start overflowing once it fills to capacity.

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The alert comes in the wake of  the Solai dam tragedy in which 46 people were killed after flood waters damaged it walls.

The dam, which is located on private farmland where flowers, macadamia nuts and coffee are grown, burst after heavy rains in the area.

The bursting of the dam sent a reported 70 million litres of water sweeping homes below. The wall of water was about 1.5m high and 500m wide.

It destroyed everything in its path – including a primary school and power lines.






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