Kulekhani Reservoir Water Levels Drop, Reducing Hydropower Output Amid Prolonged Dry Spell


The head of Kulekhani 1 Hydropower Center, Tara Dutt Bhatta, said that the water level of the reservoir in Makwanpur’s Indrasarovar Rural Municipality is decreasing and the operating time has been reduced.

The Kulekhani Reservoir, which is a ‘backup’ of the Nepal Electricity Authority, is operated to balance the power supply and manage the distribution system during times of high demand and when the voltage is low.

Even after a week of monsoon has passed, there has been no rain in Kulekhani catchment area. Daman, Palung, Bajbarahi, Chitlang and Markhu and Fakhel reservoirs of Indrasarovar rural municipality of Thaha municipality in the northern area of ​​Makwanpur are watershed areas.

After the water level of Kulekhani Reservoir decreased, the project with a production capacity of 60 MW is producing only 20 MW of electricity .

“When 20 megawatts of electricity is produced, the water collected in the reservoir decreases by 2 centimeters per hour,” said a senior officer of Pratham Jaldyut Kendra, “We are now producing electricity according to the authority’s demand.”

According to Kulekhani First Hydropower Center, production has also been reduced due to low water level. As of 3 pm on Sunday, the surface of Kulekhani reservoir is 1,484.6 cm.

‘The water collected in the reservoir cannot be used for power generation after falling to the surface of 1,483 meters,’ said Bhatt, the head of the center And 1,530 meters of water can be collected in a seven kilometer long reservoir. Technicians have said that collecting more than 1,527 meters of water as much as possible will be a risk since the earthquake of 2072 cracked a part of the dam of the reservoir. As a result, 1,527 meters of water was collected last year.

This year, the Kulekhani project has consumed about 43 meters of water to generate electricity. When 1,530 meters of water is collected in the reservoir, 47 meters of collected water can be used for electricity generation, while only 1,527 meters of water is collected, only 44 meters of water can be used for electricity generation. Kulekhani will generate 60 megawatts of electricity from the first, 32 from the second and 14 from the third. All three projects generate electricity from the water collected in the reservoir. According to center head Bhatt, the water level has decreased a lot this year after 2058.

Reservoir level increases, electricity production decreases

Kulekhani hydropower project’s increase in reservoir level has resulted in a decrease of 63.3 million units of electricity. As the water collection capacity of the reservoir is decreasing, the production of electricity has also decreased. Initially, 211 million units of electricity were produced from the water collected in the reservoir, but now that capacity has decreased and it has the capacity to produce only 1447 million units of electricity . A technician of Kulekhani I said that the capacity to hold about 27 million cusecs of water has decreased.

Every year, the stones, soil, sand and leaves brought by the river from the watershed area are deposited in the reservoir. Kulekhani Reservoir had a capacity of 85.3 million cusecs of water in its initial operation, which has decreased to 59.99 million cusecs now.

In the 42 years that Kulekhani has been in operation, the water level of the reservoir has increased by more than 13 meters. 30 The percentage has decreased. Electricity production has also decreased by 30 percent. After the decrease in the water capacity of the reservoir, compared to the initial situation, the Electricity Authority has been suffering a loss of about 35 million rupees annually.

In 2039, when the Kulekhani hydroelectric project was put into operation for the first time, 57 meters of water collected in the reservoir could be used to generate electricity. After the flood of 2050, only 50 meters of water collected in the reservoir could be used to generate electricity. Currently, only about 47 meters of water can be used to generate electricity .

After the accumulation of “debris” in the reservoir, the level of water that can be used to generate electricity is decreasing. The flood in 2050 caused the reservoir level to rise by 6 meters. An engineer of Kulekhani Pratham said that 170,000 cubic meters of “deprivation” has been collected in the reservoir. “If the debris (sand, mud, leaves and stones) collected in the reservoir is not removed, the performance of Kulekhani first, second and third hydropower projects will decrease,” he said.

Kulekhani 1st, 2nd and 3rd have been constructed with the purpose of using the water collected in the lake. All the three power plants of Kulekhani will be affected after the lower level of the reservoir increases and the water collection capacity decreases. Experts have determined the lifespan of this reservoir to be 50 years. The reservoir should be completely emptied to remove the stones, mud and silt collected in the reservoir. Indrasarovar was built at a cost of 12 million US dollars.


Source : eKantipur