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Receding water poses challenge to Kajaki dam output

Receding water poses challenge to Kajaki dam output

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Dec 18, 2017 - 15:37

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Officials on Monday said power production at the Kajaki hydropower plant in southern Helmand province was likely to be stopped because of declining water in the reservoir.

Helmand power department head Nasrullah Qani told reporters in Lashkargah that they collected nearly four million afghanis in revenue from customers on a daily basis.

He said the income would stop if the power supply to people was suspended. “The amount of water in the dam reduced due to lack of raining last year and despite that people used thousands of pumps and canals to irrigate their land from the dam’s water.”

He said currently water in the Kajaki dam was 49 meters deep and if the level reached 45 meters, they had to stop producing electricity at the dam.

He said the lack of water had brought down the dam’s production capacity from earlier 51 megawatts to 30 meggawats, with only five megawatts reaching Lashkargah, the provincial capital.

Some 130,000 households in Helmand and neighboring Kandahar provinces are supplied electricity from the Kajaki hydropower plant.

Qani said a number of government departments and power individuals in Helmand owed 220 million afghanis in unpaid electricity bills.

Helmand Valley Authority head Eng. Khan Aqa told Pajhwok that the Kajaki dam had been built for irrigation not power production.

“First we provide irrigation water to people and if some water is left, that should be used for power generation. Electricity has no value before water.”

He said the dam’s basin had not been cleansed in years and as a result the water level had declined.

The residents of Lashkargah expressed their frustration with the possible halt of power supply to them.

A resident, Haji Mohammad, said they would face many problems if electricity was suspended. “Electricity is supplied to people on their turn, if it is completely stopped, it would affect businesses.”

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